Corruption, violence, women & girls

Marielle Franco was Murderd by the State for her Human Rights Work in Brazil


We lament in the assassination of Marielle Franco, an Afro-Brazilian sociologist and politician gunned down in Rio de Janeiro the night of March 14th by masked men while sitting in a car with her driver, who was also killed in the attack. Marielle was a prolific activist, a hard-hitting politician and constant voice for the impoverished.

Marielle grew up in favela in northern Rio de Janeiro, and became a rising luminary in activism and politics, a rare status for a black woman from a marginalized community. In 2016, she was elected as a member of the left-leaning Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) known for her social work with the poor and marginalized, and for her outspokenness against police violence disproportionately targeting black Brazilians.

Hours before her murder, during a panel discussion on women’s empowerment, she uttered the quote by Audre Lorde: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

Her cowardly murder has taken place two years and 10 days after the execution of Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmental activist killed by Honduran state actors.

We stand in solidarity with the tens of thousands of protesters in Brazil and around the world and denounce this obvious state-sanctioned slaying and demand justice for Marielle Franco, justice for Berta Cáceres and for the hundreds of land, environmental and human rights activists needlessly slain by their own states over the past decade.

Marielle, rest in power.

Protesting the assassination of Marielle Franco, Rio de Janeiro

#MariellePresente    #NiUnMenos    #VivasNosQueremos    #JusticiaParaMarielleFranco

Equality, Uncategorized, women & girls

Protecting and Preventing Acts of Violence Against Women in Morazán

El Salvador’s recently held mid-term elections on March 4, saw a staggering overturn of political power as right-wing parties overtook the senate and major municipal seats in San Salvador, La Libertad and Santa Ana; and much could be said about the ‘debacle.’ At the same time, human rights defenders and survivors are celebrating the exoneration and release of two Salvadoran women unjustly incarcerated in for miscarriages many years ago.


Last year, El Salvador experienced 3,605 homicides, a 1,675 reduction from 2016. As multitudes rise up in outrage against the country’s oppressive justice system and high rate of gender-based violence, El Salvador continues to be one of the most dangerous countries to be a woman.

2017 National Statistics
graph-1.png(source ORSMUSA)

More troubling is that the factual number of violent cases against Salvadoran women and girls are most certainly much higher than the statistics represented above because victims do not report becasue of fear of retribution and impunity. It is important to note that the majority of these victims suffer abuse in their own homes at the hand of men most close to them.

2018 Women’s March in San Salvadoroutput_mOcplO

Silvia Juárez, program coordinator for the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace  in El Salvador (ORMUSA) stated that women “are still not equal. The profound root of violence against women is inequality. We are considered human beings of less value.” On the eve of International Women’s day, a vigil was held in San Salvador and on March 8, over 3,000 marchers took to the streets to protest the country’s widespread inequality and violence against women. Their demands were simple: dignity and respect for all women and reforms to the healthcare and judicial systems.

That same day in Morazán, 600 protestors marched through the streets of San Francisco Gotera, confronting important judicial courts and even the town hall, while chanting slogans like “We don’t want flowers, we want justice!”

In 2016, 176 cases of domestic violence and 72 acts of sexual violence were reported in Morazán. According to the Citizen Network of Morazán Women (the Network), though down from the 14 official reports in 2016, five cases of femicide were invisibilizedthis year. The Network consists of 8 municipal associations scattered throughout the department with the mutual objective of promoting and defending the human rights of women. They accomplish their goals through combining unity, education and protest.

Women’s Day in Morazán, 2018output_jBLsBe

Gender-based violence is so prevalent in Morazán that it has led to the Network and other local organizations to begin to develop a community based approach to facilitate the recovery of victims and their families by educating communities and service providers, offering victims immediate and long-term support, and holding relevant  institutions accountable. Fortunately, this interrelationship of Morazán leaders exemplifies a support network of local women who can identify effective solutions to support victims of violence and their families in resource-constrained settings.

Click here for more information about the Network’s initiative and ways you can help.

The time is now.


The Worldwide Political Shift is Mirrored in El Salvador


Versión Español

On March 4, 2018 Salvadorans elected 84 Legislative Assembly members and 262 municipal leaders throughout the national territory.

Yesterday’s election is of transcendental importance for the country, mainly because the conformation of the new Legislative Assembly (2018–2021) will have, among its functions, to choose the Attorney General of the Republic, the Public Prosecutor and the Human Rights Ombudsman, as well as the president and judges of the General Accounting Office and the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic. Furthermore, the elections were held one year shy of the presidential election and the results will influence the decision to elect the next president of El Salvador.

The preliminary count (with 70% of the votes processed) indicates that the FMLN will lose the election in almost all of the most important cities throughout the country, the first one being San Salvador, where the ARENA right-wing party has won 63,922 votes and the FMLN only 28,523. As regards to the vote to elect municipal leaders, on a national scale, the right-wing party has already garnered 618,458 votes, while FMLN has reached a total of 364,399. If the trend continues, the FMLN could obtain less than 28 leaders, thereby losing control of the qualified majority in the Legislative Assembly, which on this topic, an article published by El Faro expresses:

“If confirmed, the count of 27 deputies would mean for the Frente (FMLN) a 21 year retreat into history, to the same result they achieved in their second electoral participation after the war. In 1997, achieving that amount was a success that opened up their chances of achieving the presidency one day; now, after nine years in power and before (the party) Arena that in the last year has fettered successive internal crises, it is a resounding failure.”

Losing control of the qualified majority in the Legislative Assembly would mean serious complications for the last year of the government’s administration, but even more serious is that laws such as the prohibition of metallic mining could be reversed or others such as the General Water Law could be approved with the intention of privatization. Regarding this, José Santos Guevara, coordinator of MOVIAC, explains

“With the new political scenario that is approaching, the Legislative Assembly will take a 180 degree turn, in fact many of the advances in legislation can be reversed, as is the case of the law against mining. That means that for social organizations the struggle for laws in favor of the environment and human rights, becomes even more difficult.”

There are various interpretations on the causes of these results, the one that is heard most often is that it is due to the dissatisfaction of the population with the management of the FMLN government, in fact there was a strong abstention, although official data is not yet available, it is estimated that voter participation reached barely between 40% and 45%.

A renowned political analyst, Álvaro Artiga, who is a professor at the Central American University (UCA), believes that the number of votes obtained by ARENA is similar to those obtained in previous elections; however, many of the people who previously supported the FMLN did not vote. Rather than a victory of right-wing merits, it is a punishment of the FMLN from the population.

On behalf of FLMN’s leadership, there has been no statement on the results of the elections; the only one that has so far given statements to the press has been the President’s Communications Secretary, Eugenio Chicas, who said:

“People with a lot of hardness and with great clarity have given us a message that we should assume with humility: we probably made mistakes in listening to people,” “it is likely that enthralled in the exercise of power, emboldened in our own capacity for analysis we have not understood the voices of the people.”


El Cambio Político Mundial se Refleja en El Salvador.

El pasado 4 de marzo los y las salvadoreñas eligieron a 84 diputados/as de la Asamblea Legislativa y a 262 jefes/as edilicios/as en todo el territorio nacional.

Dicha elección es de transcendental importancia para el país, principalmente porque la conformación de la nueva Asamblea Legislativa (2018-2021) tendrá entre sus funciones elegir al Fiscal General de la República, al Procurador General de la República y al Procurador para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, así como al presidente y los magistrados de la Corte de Cuentas de la República y de la Corte Suprema de Justicia. Además, estas elecciones se realizaron  a tan solo un año de la elección presidencial e indudablemente los actuales resultados van a influir en la decisión para elegir al próximo presidente de El Salvador.

El recuento preliminar (con el 70% de los votos procesados) apunta a que el FMLN perderá la elección en casi todas las ciudades más importantes del país, siendo la primera de ellas, San Salvador en donde el partido derechista ARENA contabiliza 63,922 votos y el FMLN 28,523. En lo que se refiere a la votación para elegir diputados, a escala nacional, el partido de derecha suma 618,458 votos, a diferencia del FMLN que ha alcanzado un total de 364,399. Si la tendencia se mantiene, el FMLN podría obtener menos de 28 diputados con lo que perdería el control de la mayoría calificada en la Asamblea Legislativa, sobre este tema, en un artículo publicado por El Faro se expresa:

“De confirmarse, la cifra de 27 diputados supondría para el Frente retroceder 21 años en la historia, al mismo resultado que alcanzaron en su segunda participación electoral después de la guerra. En 1997 lograr esa cifra fue un éxito que abría sus posibilidades de lograr algún día la presidencia; ahora, tras nueve años en el poder y ante una Arena que en el último año ha encadenado sucesivas crisis internas, es un contundente fracaso”.

Perder el control de la mayoría calificada en la Asamblea Legislativa significaría serias complicaciones para el último año de la gestión gubernamental, pero más grave aún es que podría revertirse leyes como la prohibición de la minería metálica o aprobarse otras como la Ley General de Aguas con una intención privatizadora, al respecto José Santos Guevara, coordinador del MOVIAC, expone

“Con el nuevo escenario político que se avecina la correlación en la Asamblea legislativa va dar un giro de 180 grados, con lo cual muchos de los avances en materia legislativa se pueden revertir, como es el caso de la ley contra la minería. Eso significa que para las organizaciones sociales la lucha por leyes a favor del medio ambiente, y de los derechos humanos, se vuelve aún más difícil”.

Sobre la causas de estos resultados existen diversas lecturas, la que se escucha con más frecuencia es que se debe a la inconformidad de la población con la gestión gubernamental del FMLN, de hecho hubo un fuerte abstencionismo, aunque aún no se dispone de datos oficiales, se estima que la participación en el proceso apenas pudo haber alcanzado entre un 40% a 45% de electores.

Un reconocido analista político, Álvaro Artiga, quien se desempeña como profesor en la Universidad Centroamericana, UCA  opina que la cantidad de votos obtenidos por ARENA es similar a los obtenidos en elecciones anteriores; sin embargo, esta vez la diferencia radica en que mucha de la gente que antes ha apoyado al FMLN, no fue a votar. Entonces más que una victoria por méritos de la derecha, es un castigo de la población al FMLN.

De parte de la dirigencia del FMLN no existe ningún pronunciamiento al respecto de los resultados de la elecciones, el único que hasta el momento ha dado declaraciones a la prensa ha sido el Secretario de Comunicaciones de la Presidencia, Eugenio Chicas, quien expresó:

“La gente con mucha dureza y con mucha claridad nos ha dado un mensaje que debemos asumir con humildad, probablemente nos equivocamos en saber escuchar a la gente,” “es probable que embelesados en el ejercicio del poder, envalentonados en nuestra propia capacidad de análisis no hayamos entendido las voces de la gente.”

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Uncategorized

First Workshop with Bajo Lempa leaders

WATCH The beginning of a ten month training course called the “School of Political and Ecological Formation” for Bajo Lempa community leaders in ACUDESBAL. Throughout the year, VOICES will facilitate these types of trainings to ensure our Salvadoran partner communities have the ability to advocate for important changes and get the results they deserve.

Stay connected this year via Facebook and YouTube!


Thousands of Salvadorans are at the Risk of being Deported in 2019

Two devastating earthquakes hit El Salvador in January and February 2001, causing the deaths of more than 1,200 people, severely damaging over 185,000 homes, completely destroying over 150,000 homes and costing the small country $1.6million.

The earthquake rated between 7.6 and 7.9 on the Richter scale.

In response to the crisis, the 2001 Bush Administration added Salvadorans to the Temporary Protected Status program, which allows them to live and work legally in the United States if they reapply every 18 months for a $50 fee. Bush renewed the program in his second term and Obama as well renewed TPS through both his terms.

Yesterday, and after 16 years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled the program and gave more than 250,000 Salvadoran under the program– who for the past two decades have worked, invested, paid taxes, started families and grew communities –until September 9, 2019 to obtain permanent residency or citizenship. If they are unable to do so, because of the cost or because if at the end they simply aren’t selected in time they will be deported and a multitude of U.S. families and communities will be shattered. For El Salvador, this means aggravating the process of a country currently reeling from extremely high rates of unemployment, violence, inequality and economic uncertainty. The 200,000 U.S. born children of the recipients need to be 21 years old before they can sponsor their parent(s). One is left to wonder whether Sessions doesn’t realize or doesn’t care about the negative economic and social impacts this decision to end TPS for over 300,000 international immigrants not only from El Salvador but from Hati, South Sudan, Syria and other countries will directly and abruptly have on the United States.

The following comes from The Intercept:

“The Trump administration has been more than willing to point to the existence of groups like MS-13 as justification for an immigration crackdown that includes the targeting of virtually all of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. At the same time, however, the threat that those criminal groups would pose to individuals returned to El Salvador — individuals who have raised families in the U.S. and contributed to society and the American economy — apparently mattered little in the TPS deliberations.”

Read the Full Article here.

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VOICES denounces the AG’s decision and stays committed to working closely with our local Salvadoran partners as they prepare their communities for the effects of this policy change.

¿Estás afectado? Manténgase actualizado con el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional.


End of Year Giving

GIFMaker.org_yVvYdQ2017 was an outstanding year and without you, we could have never accomplished so much! We are deeply grateful for your invaluable solidarity and encourage you to continue following, liking and sharing our work in 2018. 

We also invite you to make a tax-deductible donation that will help us continue providing our local Salvadoran partners with the resources necessary to achieve the social, economic and political change they desire.

You can mail us a check to the address below or give online at 

Voices on the Border
5614 Connecticut Ave N.W.#103
Washington, D.C. 20015

We’d love to hear from you!

Click here to read our recent appeal letter.