delegation, Uncategorized, Voices Developments

2019 Board of Directors Delegation Highlights

Voices on the Border staff couldn’t do what we do without the confidence and support of our amazing U.S. Board of Directors. They are a diverse cadre of talented people with historical links to El Salvador and each year they come they strengthen these familiar bonds of solidarity, the very reason for VOICES’ existence. Below are some of the highlights from this year’s delegation held in January.

In San Salvador:

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In Morazán :

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In the Bajo Lempa

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At the end of the delegation we took a detour and hiked in Cerro Verde, an extinct Volcano in Santa Ana.

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CLICK HERE to read what one board member wrote.

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Uncategorized

EL SALVADOR CHOOSES ITS PRESIDENT

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Version Español

On February 3, El Salvador held presidential elections for the sixth time after the Peace Accords. In the electoral competition, the following seven political parties and four candidates participated:

  • José Alvarado of the VAMOS party, recently legalized in 2017
  • Hugo Martínez of the FMLN party
  • Carlos Callejas, for a coalition composed of 4 right-wing parties, led by ARENA
  • Nayib Bukele, the candidate for GANA, also a right wing party

According to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the highest Salvadoran authority in electoral matters, the preliminary scrutiny showed the following results:

  • VAMOS party: 20,473 votes, or 0.38% of the total votes
  • FMLN: 377,404, or 14.42% of the total votes
  • ARENA coalition: 831,726 votes, or 31.77% of the total votes
  • GANA: 1,388,009 votes, or 53.02% of the total votes

Based on these results, Nayib Bukele has become the President-elect of El Salvador. A relatively young man who claims to have no ideology, Nayib is the leader and founder of the political party New Ideas, with which he was unable to compete, because it was hardly organized and legalized in 2018, when the deadlines to participate in the presidential election of 2019, had already expired.

According to a publication in the digital newspaper El Faro, Bukele used widespread dissatisfaction with the two major parties and exacerbated it in a strategy that used social networks as its main platform. Bukele, appeared on the county’s political stage just six years ago, when he won – as an FMLN candidate – the Mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlán, where he managed to gain notoriety despite being a municipality without major symbolic relevance in the public exercise of power. He was subsequently promoted to govern San Salvador, the country’s capital. While he was mayor of San Salvador, he was expelled from the FMLN party due to the constant public disagreements he had with his party.

In his first public appearance as a winning candidate, Bukele highlighted his triumph over the traditional parties and said that with his victory the post-war period has ended, expressing: “We were governed by the two post-war parties, the one on the right and the former guerrillas. This day the country has turned the page from the postwar period and now we can begin to see the future”. In a way, it is a reasonable approach, considering that since the signing of the Peace Accords, the main actors of El Salvador’s party politics have been ARENA and the FMLN who governed for 30 years.

However, this new page in the history of El Salvador, to which Bukele refers, augurs a complicated panorama since the country faces serious problems, such as: an unstoppable violence that during 2018 resulted in 3,328 homicides; a fiscal deficit of more than 1 billion dollars per year, with the aggravating circumstance that between 2019 and 2024 the country must pay $2,457.7 million as part of the debt; a deep environmental crisis that is evidenced by the shortage of drinking water and a migratory phenomenon that is constantly increasing.

Facing these difficulties will require a great capacity for dialogue and cooperation, especially in the Legislative Assembly and during the first two years Bukele will have to govern with a Parliament full of opponentsHe is not even guaranteed the support of the 10 deputies of GANA, the party with which he won the elections, but some analysts predict that sooner or later he will separate himself from that party and will govern under the banner of his own party, New ideas.

If this hypothesis is fulfilled, governability could be even more difficult than it has been for the FMLN, considering that New Ideas is a recent party with scarce political experience, without territorial organization and that also does not have the necessary mutual understanding with the different sectors of society to promote the structural transformations that the country requires.


EL SALVADOR ELIGE A SU PRESIDENTE

El pasado 3 de febrero El Salvador realizó elecciones presidenciales, por sexta ocasión después de los Acuerdo de Paz. En la contienda participaron 7 partidos políticos y 4 candidatos: José Alvarado con el partido VAMOS, apenas constituido en 2017; Hugo Martínez del partido FMLN; Carlos Callejas, por una coalición integrada por 4 partidos de derecha, liderada por ARENA y Nayib Bukele como candidato del partido GANA, también de derecha.

Según El Tribunal Supremo Electoral, la máxima autoridad salvadoreña en asuntos electorales, el escrutinio preliminar arrojó los siguientes resultados: El partido VAMOS obtuvo un total de 20,473 votos, correspondiente al 0.38% del total de votos válidos; mientras que el FMLN logró 377,404, es decir el 14.42%; por su parte la coalición representada por ARENA obtuvo un total de 831,726 votos, lo que constituye el 31.77% de la votación; el partido GANA alcanzó 1,388,009 votos, correspondiente al 53.02%

Con estos resultados Nayib Bukele se convierte en el Presidente electo de El Salvador, Un hombre relativamente joven que dice no tener ideología y quien es líder y fundador del partido político Nuevas Ideas, con el cual no le fue posible competir, debido a que apenas fue organizado y legalizado en 2018, cuando los plazos para participar en la elección presidencial de 2019, ya habían expirado.

Según una publicación del periódico digital El Faro, Bukele se valió del descontento generalizado hacia los dos partidos mayoritarios y lo exacerbó en una estrategia que usó las redes sociales como su principal plataforma. Bukele, tiene apenas seis años de haber aparecido en la vida política del país, cuando ganó –como candidato del FMLN– la Alcaldía de Nuevo Cuscatlán, donde se las arregló para cobrar notoriedad pese a tratarse de un municipio sin mayor relevancia simbólica en el ejercicio público. Posteriormente fue promovido como candidato de la capital. Mientras ocupaba el cargo de alcalde de San Salvador fue expulsado del FMLN debido a las constantes discrepancias públicas que sostuvo con su partido.

En su primer aparición pública como candidato ganador Bukele resaltó su triunfo frente a los partidos tradicionales y dijo que con su victoria finaliza la pos guerra, expresado de la siguiente forma: “Fuimos gobernados por los dos partidos de la posguerra, el de la derecha y al de la ex guerrilla. Este día el país ha pasado la página de la posguerra y ahora podemos comenzar a ver al futuro”. De cierta manera es un planteamiento razonable, considerando que desde la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz, los actores principales de la política partidaria de El Salvador han sido ARENA y el FMLN quienes gobernaron durante 30 años.

No obstante, esa nueva página en la historia de El Salvador, a la que hace referencia Bukele augura un panorama complicado ya que el país enfrenta graves problemas, como por ejemplo: Una violencia imparable que durante 2018 dejó un saldo de 3,328 homicidios; un déficit fiscal de más de 1,000 millones de dólares anuales, con el agravante que entre los años 2019 y 2024 el país debe pagar  $2,457.7 millones como parte de la deuda; una profunda crisis ambiental que se manifiesta principalmente con la escasez de agua potable y un fenómeno migratorio en constante incremento.

Enfrentar estas dificultades va a requerir una gran capacidad de dialogo y concertación, sobre todo en la Asamblea Legislativa  y durante los primeros dos años Bukele tendrá que gobernar con un Parlamento lleno de opositores, ni siquiera tiene garantizado el respaldo de los 10 diputados de GANA, el partido con el que ganó las elecciones, pero que algunos analistas vaticinan que más temprano que tarde se va a separar de dicho partido y va a gobernar bajo la bandera de su propio partido, Nuevas Ideas.

De cumplirse esta hipótesis la gobernabilidad podría ser aún más difícil de lo que ha sido para el FMLN, considerando que Nuevas Ideas es un partido reciente con escaza experiencia política,  sin organización territorial y que además no cuenta con el entendimiento necesario con los diferentes sectores de la sociedad para impulsar las transformaciones estructurales que el país requiere.

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News Highlights, women & girls

Imelda es Libre!

December 17, 2018
Jiquilisco, Usulután, El Salvador

Salvadoran judge Hugo Noé García, overturned an attempted murder charge, carrying a 20 year sentence, by the district attorney’s office in Usulután against Imelda Cortez, who then at 19-years-old, experienced a traumatic labor which caused her to loose consciousness and give birth to her baby in a latrine.
 
The baby girl survived and is in good health and Imelda spent 609 days in prison.

Her 71-year-old stepfather, Pablo Dolores Henríquez Ayala, who after 7 years of assaulting her, impregnated her, has been prosecuted for aggravated and continued rape of a minor. This after he himself gave accusatory testimony to the national police about his step-daughter on the day of the incident.

The judge recognized the mental and physical stress Imelda must have endured before, during and after giving birth to the newborn and lamented over the fact that she was denied access to not only her baby but the therapeutic care she desperately needed in order to heal from the long-term psychological damage that had been inflicted on her.

Since it was put forth, the case has been contested in the international court of public opinion and, due to the full-scale feminist movement in El Salvador and beyond, Imelda has receive top-notch legal representation, international media coverage and diplomatic support.

The morning of the 18th, Imelda and her defense team were prepared to accept a reduced sentenced of one year, time served, in exchange for pleading guilty to the prosecution’s lesser change of “abandoning a newborn.” However the judge, in an astonishing move, over-tuned the ruling four hours after the session began.

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Hundreds of supporters gathered outside of the courthouse on Monday to support Imelda and chants of “si se puede!” rang out as she was led out.
 

Capacity Building, women & girls, Womens issues

Self-Defense for Morazán Women

Watch the Morazán Women’s Network take their first course on self-defense.

This special workshop was giving by Claudia Fuentes, a Salvadoran martial artist who has developed a self-defense program with a feminist approach especially for women and girls in El Salvador.

delegation, education, Youth Development

Technology in the Classroom!

A DREAM COME TRUE.

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We want to extend our sincerest gratitude to last year’s delegation from the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. for their initiative and generous donation to connect internet in the Centro Escolar Amando Lopez of Jiquilisco in the Bajo Lempa.

VOICES hired a local builder who constructed the 18 meter (59ft) tower and community members installed it. The purpose is to provide educators with the ability to innovate their classes and students the ability to deepen their research.

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Uncategorized

Training Trainers in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education | Part 1

Orientations were held this month for the 60 Bajo Lempa educators and health promoters who will participate in a training and research project offered by an interdisciplinary team of family planning professionals, implementation and monitoring experts from the University of New Mexico. The process began last year when the university team and VOICES collaborated with Salvadoran rural communities to develop a sexual and reproductive health curriculum and training program based on the ECHO model. The Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO), is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that promotes a better heath system that is efficient, low-cost, scalable and sustainable. Both parties will connect via videoconferencing.

DSC_1720The ECHO model is based on three educational theories:

  • Social Cognition: affirms that people should believe that there is a benefit in learning a new behavior and they should develop confidence in their ability to perform the behavior.
  • Located Learning: the importance of providing experience, modeled by the student, to develop new skills, while participating in their interests and simplifying tasks.
  • Community Practice: emphasizes learning through continued participation in a collaborative community of peer students and expert individuals.

The absence of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education has profound consequences that lead to high rates of teenage pregnancy, poverty, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and suicide. More than 46% of Salvadoran women have been pregnant by the age of 20, and 40% of pregnancies of women aged 15 to 24 years are involuntary. Adolescent mothers reach lower levels of education and experience high rates of poverty, while their babies are at increased risk of low birth weight, developmental delays, malnutrition and death. These problems are exacerbated in rural areas where access to health resources is low and poverty is common.

In 2012, the Ministry of Health, recognizing a deficiency, prioritized education in Sexual and Reproductive Health. Unfortunately, the curriculum currently being used in schools is limited and inaccurate. only 5.5% of teachers have been trained in it and many religious groups have blocked it from disseminating it effectively.

 

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ECHO project goals:

  • Establish the effectiveness of delivering a sexual and reproductive health curriculum.
  • Successfully incorporate the curriculum into Bajo Lempa schools reaching nearly 3,000 students.
  • Generate recognition and understanding of the model among civil society and national agencies.

VOICES is proud to partner with the university of New Mexico on this important project.
Follow us here to receive updates about the progress.