Monday, September 27, 2010

Hurricane Matthew Causes Heavy Rains; El Salvador Continues on Orange Alert

El Salvador continues on Yellow Alert, with the Coastal and Central Mountain zones on Orange Alert, due to heavy rains provoked by Hurricane Matthew. Rains began on Friday as Hurricane Matthew developed off the Atlantic Nicaraguan Coast and continued heavily throughout the weekend, causing torrential downpours in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. As Matthew becomes a Tropical Depression along the Southern Mexican Coast, the National Service of Territorial Studies (SNET) projects that heavy rains will continue through Tuesday and encourages Civil Protection committees to remain on alert.

This storm comes after five months of continuous heavy rains. Soil is already saturated and flooding, mudslides, and evacuations have been common in this rainy season. Throughout the country, farmers have lost their season's crops and, in areas like the Lower Lempa River basin, communities have decided to wait until the end of the rainy season to plant. Because of heavy rains in Honduras and Guatemala, which feed into the Lempa River and its tributaries, flood risk remains high for communities along all major rivers.

According to Civil Protection, there have been 47 landslides over the weekend, causing damages to highways and bridges; one death has been reported in El Salvador; and some 900 people are currently in shelters.  According to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the municipality of Tecoluca, where SHARE counterpart CRIPDES San Vicente is located, is at high risk for flooding, and various municipalities in Chalatenango are at moderate risk, along with some thirty other zones of the country. As continued rains fall, risk for flooding and landslides increase.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spotlighting Sisters: Cretin-Derham Hall, Teaching and Living for Justice

Thank you to SHARE promoter, Phelia Lorenzen, for writing this Spotlighting Sister article for us. Thanks to the teachers and students at CDH for their support in writing it! 

Affirmation of an old adage: How one step towards a quest leads to a lifelong journey.

CDH kids at the river in San Vicente
A few years ago, a few students from Cretin-Derham Hall (CDH hereafter), a Catholic high school in St. Paul, Minnesota, were invited to attend a delegation to El Salvador with Brother Dennis Beach of St. John’s Abbey. CDH is committed to the Catholic social teaching of justice, and students were curious about Brother Dennis' passion for this tiny Latin American country. One step. Today, CDH is committed to accompanying the people of El Salvador. Each summer, one or two delegations of students travel to the department of San Vicente. Through SHARE and CRIPDES San Vicente, they stay in the community, play with the kids, share stories with young people, visit historic sites, stand in the chapel where Archbishop Romero was murdered, walk the blood-soaked grounds of El Mozote, and learn about advocacy actions they can take at home. The journey begins. These young adults are transformed and will take social justice to the highest level wherever their lives take them. A lifelong journey.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"We welcome justice!" Tribunal Convicts Material Perpetrators of Marcelo Rivera's Assassination

The SHARE Foundation applauds this important step forward in seeking justice for all victims, past and present, of violent political and economic repression. We thank and congratulate the tireless efforts of the National Working Group against Metallic Mining, the communities and organizations of Cabañas, and the efforts of the international solidarity community in supporting this ongoing struggle.

"We welcome justice!"
Tribunal Convicts Material Perpetrators of Marcelo Rivera's Assassination
by the Communications Team of the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining
The Specialized Sentencing Court "B" convicted the material assassins of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera Moreno, after concluding a two-day public hearing.  After hearing some twenty testimonies and declarations from an accomplice under plea bargain, whose statements were corroborated by official evidence, the tribunal sentenced the perpetrators to 40 years in prison.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Residential Voting in El Salvador

Campesino casting his vote
What if you had to ride various busses three hours to vote? Would you still vote? This is the reality for the people who live in the communities on the Tamarindo Beach in La Union, El Salvador. On voting day, the nearest poll where they can vote is in the town of Conchagua, which is a three hour bus ride from where they live.

Or take for example the residents of the Ciudad Corinto, a middle class residential neighborhood of mostly confiminiums in Mejicanos. The nearest voting center for those residents would be in the Montreal neighborhood, where intense gang violence has increased in recent months, as we saw with the burning of a bus with passengers aboard in June. Would you venture into one of the most dangerous neigborhoods in El Salvador to vote?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Support the Dream Act: Call your Senator!

Senator Reid will be moving the DREAM Act to a vote via an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill

What does this mean?

It means that the DREAM Act still needs 60 votes to pass. We still need 60 senators to say yes when it comes time for the bill to be attached to the defense bill.

What can you do to help?

We need calls right now. We need to flood offices with calls in support of the DREAM Act. Currently we are being beat by anti-immigrants 10 calls to 1. That means for every 1 call you make in support 10 people are calling against the DREAM Act.


Dial: 1-888-254-8057

Ask for the following people and leave a message with their office.

Call-in Script for Republicans:

“Hi I am calling to ask that Senator _______ vote for the DREAM Act. This bill will allow for undocumented youth to fix their status by serving this country in the uniformed services in addition to allowing for them to return the investment our country has made in them. Please have the member support the dream act.”

Sen. Hatch of Utah
Sen. Bunning of Kentucky
Sen. Bennet of Utah
Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire
Sen. Bailey-Hutchison of Texas
Sen. McCain of Arizona
Sen. Voinovich of Ohio
Sen. Snowe of Maine
Sen. Collins of Maine
Sen. LeMeiux of Florida
Sen. Brownback of Kansas

Call-in script for Democrats:

“Hi I am calling to ask that Senator _______ vote in favor of the DREAM Act. This bill will allow for thousands of undocumented youth to fix their status by getting a two year college degree or joining the military. This is an investment in our countries future. Support the DREAM Act.”

Sen. Hagan of North Carolina
Sen. Pryor of Arkansas
Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana
Sen. Conrad of North Dakota
Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota
Sen. Nelson of Florida
Sen. Baucus of Montana
Sen. Tester of Montana
Sen. Feinstein of California
The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) has been supportive of the DREAM Act, either as a combo, or as a stand-alone piece of legislation, since our founding days in 2004. While NALACC recognizes the DREAM Act as a far from perfect piece of legislation, if passed, it would enable many young immigrants in the U.S. to be able to apply for legal permanent residency, and eventually for U.S. citizenship if so they wish. We are convinced that passing the DREAM Act would also contribute greatly to the future involvement of young immigrants in the struggle to truly fix, from head to toe, our broken, inhumane and wasteful immigration policy of today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Report on Mesoamerican Women's Encounter

     On Friday, September 10th, Laura, Tedde and Marina from the SHARE El Salvador office, attended an event hosted by a number of Salvadoran women's organizations as they presented the report of the Mesoamerica and Caribbean Encounter with the UN Expert on Women's Issues, which occured in March. (Read the UN Expert's report on El Salvador). Representatives from various women's organization were present, in addition to a representative from the UN, the Director of Integral Social Development in the Salvadoran Government's Foreign Relations Ministry, and a Representative from the Salvadoran National Women's Institution, ISDEMU.
      Silvia Juarez from SHARE's Counterpart, ORMUSA, presented a summary of the themes that were discussed during the encounter. Those themes were:
  • Domestic and Partner Violence
  • Access to Justice
  • Extreme Violence-- Feminicide/Femicide
  • Other forms of violence in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica
  • Violence against Women in the context of breakdown and weakening of democracy
  • Violation of sexuala and reproductive rights
  • Sexual Violence

     Silvia did a wonderful job of summarizes these seven themes and how they were presented by the various countries present at the Encounter. Some of the disturbing facts that she presented that stood out to SHARE staff were:
  • From January to June in 2010, a woman was killed violently every 12 hours
  • In the first nine months of 2009, there were 13 registered cases of hate crimes against lesbian or transgender women in El Salvador
  • Rates of domestic violence in all of Central America are so high that the home is regarded as the most dangerous place for a woman
  • El Salvador has the highest rate of femicide in the region with 592 reported cases in 2009
  • In the municipality of Soyapango, in greater San Salvador, of 400 reported crimes against women or girls, only 3 cases were brought to justice
     While these few facts alone are disturbing enough, the list of injustices against women in El Salvador and Central America, goes on and on. Yet, along with their reports of the current situation for women, Silvia also talked about the different responses that were taken. In some cases, the government was moving forward, and in many cases there was a serious deficiency in the justice process and protection of women's rights. The most inspiring responses to these injustices came from women's movements and resistences. Whether it be educational campaigns for women and men, marches for women's rights, or working with victims to bring their cases to justice, these women's groups have worked tirelessly to improve the dire situation of women in El Salvador, and all of Mesoamerica and the Caribbean.

SHARE invites you to join us for our Churchwomen Delegation, November 29-December 6. During this delegation, we will work together with ORMUSA to present a forum regarding women's issues in El Salvador and for immigrant women in the United States. For more questions about the delegation or our work with Salvadoran women, please contact

"To live free of violence is a right that women have"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Virtual Chat on the Commerce Group Mine

Virtual Chat on the Commerce Group Mine in El Salvador with the Mesa’s David Pereira

What: Presentation and Q & A about the Commerce Group Mine with David Pereira from CEICOM, the Center of Investigation of Investment and Commerce and the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining. Pereira will speak about the CEICOM study of the mine at Santa Rosa de Lima which was once Central America’s most productive mine and has been operated by Commerce Group since 1968. The area is heavily contaminated and community members suffer various health problems. In 2006 the Milwaukee based mining company had to stop operations in El Salvador when there permit was revoked. Now, Commerce Group has jumped on the Pacific Rim bandwagon and is suing El Salvador for 100 million dollars.

When: Tuesday September 14 at 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Where: Your computer

How: Go to the following website and click watch video . If you have questions during the presentation you can email them to us at or post them on the chat board of the page. If you can not join us Tuesday night the event will be archived and available on the website for two weeks after the showing.

Please join the SHARE Foundation, US-El Salvador Sister Cities, CISPES, and CEICOM for this important digital delegation, and stay tuned for more information about Commerce Group's contamination and action steps against their multi-million dollar case against the Salvadoran government.

contaminated waters in San Sebastian, La Union, El Salvador
contaminated waters in San Sebastian, La Union, El Salvador