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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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October 20, 2020 to January 30, 2021
The spirit of IRTF’s 40th anniversary theme, Memory and Resistance, is seen and felt in the juried artwork expressing contemporary justice issues of our time. The artwork honors the memories of past and present advocates on whose shoulders we have stood and who inspire us to envision a world of peace and dignity for all. Inspired by the martyrdom of Cleveland women Jean Donovan and Sister Dorothy Kazel in El Salvador in 1980, we will highlight, celebrate, and commemorate our collective legacies of resistance with a series of Memory and Resistance programming over the next year.
December 28, 2020
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 email@example.com or see www.facebook.com/iwgCLE
December 17, 2020
Solidarity donations are being distributed through social movement organizations and collectives in Central America that are working in the communities most impacted by flooding and government neglect. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised through grassroots channels, but the need is much greater. Please give what you can to help these families in desperate need.
40th anniversary of the US women martyrs in El Salvador: remembering with compassion, transforming through contemplation, recommitting to justice
December 2, 2020
We remember and honor the life and legacy of the four US women murdered in El Salvador on Dec 2, 1980: Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke , Cleveland Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and Cleveland lay missioner Jean Donovan. We honor their memories through our commitment to act for justice. See a list of resources for education, inspiration and action .
December 2, 2020
Thank you to ClevelandPeople.com for publishing this reflection written by Thérèse Osborne, commemorating the martyrdom of Sisters Maura Clarke M.M., Ita Ford M.M., Dorothy Kazel O.S.U. and lay missionary Jean Donovan on December 2, 1980. "And this is the reason that Maura and Ita, Jean and Dorothy were killed. They had discerned that accompanying refugees was the crying need of the people. You see, all of El Salvador had turned into one huge refugee camp. People were running away from the bombing, and it's as if everyone took one giant step. Those in tiny villages went to the next town and moved in with relatives. We would often meet families walking along the road with just a few cooking pots, maybe a bag of clothes, and their children. Those in the towns would make their way to the next city, and those who could went to the capital, where makeshift refugee centres were set up in the churches. The major seminary of San Salvador had 5,000 people living in tents on the football pitch for five years. Technically we might call these people "displaced persons" rather than refugees because they didn't have the means to leave their own country; but they were internal refugees in every sense of the word. In the media and official government policy, if you stayed in a conflictive zone to harvest your crops you were labeled a subversive and accused of consorting with the guerrilla army; and if you left your village you were considered suspicious because you came from a conflictive area."
November 21, 2020 to November 22, 2020
Join us on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 for the third event of our SOA Watch 30th Anniversary Rooted in Resistance series! On Saturday, November 21 we will facilitate three virtual panels about the historic and current impacts of US Empire throughout the Americas and the powerful movements organizing to defend autonomy and dignity of our communities. On Sunday, November 22 we will be hosting our annual vigil, including ¡presentes! and litany and featuring the SOA Watch Musicians Collective. The weekend's virtual events and spaces are free, bilingual (Spanish and English, interpretation will be provided) and all are welcome! You will receive an email confirmation with all the links for Saturday's panels and Sunday's litany and ¡presentes! immediately after registering .
November 18, 2020
Honduras and Nicaragua : With the devastation already caused by Hurricane Eta (and Hurrican Iota, just 2 weeks later), the Honduras Solidarity Network is launching this fundraising campaign to raise money for community-based organizations affected by the storm. All money raised will go to these well established organizations already doing the work, climate disaster relief and organizing that is needed for a sustainable and effective response to the damages and urgent humanitarian crisis caused by the hurricane. See also: specific funds for communities in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador
November 15, 2020
See the program book from our special online gathering on November 15; recording and other links coming soon....On December 2, 1980, four women from the US working with the poor and displaced in El Salvador were kidnapped, raped and murdered by the US-backed military of El Salvador. Two of those women—Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel—were from Cleveland. In the end, they, along with Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, met the same fate as thousands of unnamed poor of El Salvador who were killed or disappeared. Join us on Sunday, November 15 as we commemorate their sacrifice, honor their legacy, and recommit ourselves to act in solidarity with poor and marginalized communities in Central America and Colombia.
October 5, 2020
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.
September 25, 2020
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.