Friday, October 30, 2009

EL SALVADOR: Clandestine Graves Are Back

This is an interesting article published by the International Press Service (IPS) about the violence in El Salvador.

By Edgardo Ayala

SAN SALVADOR, Oct 29 (IPS) - Spatula in hand, forensic scientist Israel Ticas carefully excavates a decomposed human foot protruding from a shallow grave in rough terrain in the mountains of Las Crucitas, close to Ciudad Arce in the west-central Salvadoran province of La Libertad.

Other body parts, already identified by the expert, give him some idea of what kind of person lies buried here in bushy thickets between plots of farmland planted with coffee and beans.

The body is that of a young man under 20, who at the moment of death was decapitated and dismembered: his head, feet and arms were severed from his trunk.

These are probably the remains of a person reported missing to the authorities in mid-October, who lived in the El Bosque shanty town in Ciudad Arce. Although the investigation has just begun, everything points to one of El Salvador's notorious "maras" or youth gangs.

The main gangs in El Salvador are Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 (18th Street Gang), and they are sworn enemies. Drug mafias, maras and death squads are all waging undercover wars in this country of 5.7 million people.

"This young man was murdered about a month ago. There's probably another body, about 15 metres away, because we have found more bones there," Ticas tells IPS.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

House Resolution Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Jesuit Martyrs

Taken from the Washington Office on Latin America website

WOLA is pleased to see that H.Res. 761, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern and 33 co-sponsors, was approved today in the U.S. House of Representatives. This resolution remembers and commemorates the lives and work of the six Jesuit priests and two women who were murdered in El Salvador nearly twenty years ago. On Nov. 16, 1989, armed men burst into the Jesuit residence at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, killing the six Jesuit priests who were there, along with the community’s cook and her daughter.

More than 70,000 died during El Salvador’s civil war, the vast majority of whom were civilians killed by the Salvadoran armed forces and paramilitary death squads. The Jesuit case galvanized an outcry for human rights and justice from the international community, played a key role in shifting opinions in the U.S. Congress, and helped to spark the peace process that brought the civil war to an end. WOLA is pleased to see the Congress commemorating this important historical moment, and to see that the resolution urges the United States today to collaborate with El Salvador's new government on the unfinished tasks to which the Jesuits were committed - the "efforts to reduce poverty and hunger and to promote educational opportunity, human rights, the rule of law and social equity for the people of El Salvador."

To see the resolution click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Mesa Wins Human Rights Award

Congratulations to the the Working Group Against Metallic Mining (Mesa Contra la Mineria) for winning the Letelier Moffitt Human Rights Award!!

Five representatives from the Mesa travelled to the United States last week to accept the award and to bring more attention to the issue of mining in El Salvador.

See below to watch Vidalina Morales recieve the award on behalf of the Mesa.