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El Salvador: News & Updates

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. The US-backed civil war, which erupted after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980, lasted 12 years (1980-92), killing 70,000 people and forcing 20% of the nation’s five million people to seek refuge in the US.

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We continue to organize our communities in support and defense of immigrants, especially those in vulnerable situations. Connect with Immigration Working Group CLE, a collaborative of community advocates and organizations across NE Ohio. Ask about the group’s Immigrant Defense Fund, Rapid Response Team, Bond Reduction Project, volunteer needs, legislative advocacy, vigils, rallies, marches, and more. Contact iwgcle@gmail.com or see www.facebook.com/iwgCLE
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With little more than a year passed since President Nayib Bukele took office, one thing has become crystal clear: the country is still trying to resolve its different historical problems through repression. At the onset of the pandemic, the president publicly instructed the security forces to “be tougher” on those who did not comply with the quarantine, noting that he did not care about complaints of the authorities “bending wrists” or seizing vehicles. Over the last few months, armed soldiers have, for example, been deployed to perform tasks related to containing the virus. These images only served to remind us of the terrible years of the armed conflict. In addition to the deployment of security, police and military forces, there have been multiple allegations of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests. According to official figures, more than 16,000 people were quarantined in state custody, including those accused of breaking the national lockdown and people returning from overseas.
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The Jesuit Massacre, November 16, 1989 at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador. An elite commando unit killed the six priests, their housekeeper (Elba) and her daughter (Celina) at the priests’ campus residence. The military tried to make the massacre appear as though it had been carried out by leftist guerrillas. Nine members of the military were initially put on trial, but the court absolved seven of them. Two officers served short sentences in El Salvador, but were released in 1993 after passage of an amnesty law. Fast forward to 2020: A court in Spain sentenced former Salvadoran colonel Inocente Orlando Montano to 133 years in prison. Arnau Baulenas, a lawyer with the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America said Montano’s conviction and sentence in Spain showed that the orders came from high up. He blames a lack of political will and resistance within El Salvador’s justice system for being unable to achieve similar outcomes in his own country.
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In 2011, Cindy Erazo experienced a miscarriage in a shopping mall bathroom on the outskirts of the capital. She was taken to a hospital where authorities accused her of attempting to abort the fetus. Convicted of aggravated homicide under El Salvador’s strict anti-abortion laws, Cindy served six years of a 10-year sentence. She was released from prison (“conditional release”) on September 23. She was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison, but that sentence was later reduced. Human rights groups say at least 18 innocent women are currently in prison for similar cases in El Salvador.
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We discussed how climate and weather impact their crops, the farmer’s likes and dislikes of farming, and what organizations readers can reach out to support farming in Central America (original Spanish included).
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The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. How long? This time, 30 years. Col. Montano led an elite U.S.-trained army unit that massacred six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter during El Salvador's 12-year civil war. More than 70,000 men, women, and children died during the Salvadoran Civil War. One-million refugees (20% of the country’s population!) fled seeking safety, most of them to the US. The Salvadoran Truth Commission investigation concluded that 85% of the more than 22,000 atrocities that were reported during the war were committed by the U.S.-backed military regime and associated forces. And what was does the US government say now in hindsight? “One of fabulous achievement” is how Elliott Abrams, the Reagan administration’s "death squad ambassador" in Central America, has hailed the US record in El Salvador. Today, Elliott Abrams works as the Trump administration's special representative for Iran and Venezuela.

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