Uncategorized

Agroecology in the Bajo Lempa, a Diario Co Latino article

The following write-up from Diario Co Latino has been translated into English below.

Foto Diario Co Latino/René Estrada

Alternativas de producción colectivas y amigables con el medio ambiente

Por Gloria Silvia Orellana
@GloriaCoLatino

Los chiles verdes dulces inundan las manos de Clelia Luna y Oswaldo Ortiz, quienes junto a un grupo de jóvenes de la Comunidad “Amando López”, en el cantón La Canoa, Usulután, le apuestan a una respuesta esencial en la alimentación familiar, como la agroecología, desde un marco de prácticas amigables con el medio ambiente y libre de agrotóxicos.

“Somos un grupo de jóvenes que venimos trabajando en colectivo, desde hace dos años, que nos ha permitido marcar algunas pautas y nos ha llevado a trabajar en la legalización de la “La Hermandad Acuicola”, bajo los rubros de producción de hortalizas, a través de Casa Maya (invernadero), cultivos al aire libre como el plátano y con la producción de peces como tilapia y sambo”, explicó Ortiz.

Cada 16 de octubre, se conmemora el Día Mundial de la Alimentación, que busca dar reconocimiento y rendir tributo a aquellas personas que trabajan la tierra para producir los alimentos que a diario consumen las familias, en millones de hogares y en el marco de la pandemia del coronavirus, son considerados héroes y heroínas.

Con una “casa maya”, que se encuentra en el terreno de Clelia, y un suelo enriquecido con bokashi (abono orgánico) que optimiza una producción con cero agroquímicos en las legumbres, al no utilizar pesticidas contra las plagas en los cultivos, estos jóvenes, ofrecen cosechas sin rastros tóxicos, “a veces estamos cortando (chiles) y podemos tomar uno y comerlo sin preocupación que estén contaminados”, manifestó Luna.

El Bajo Lempa se constituye en un campo fértil que sirve de frontera a dos ecosistemas tan diferentes y ricos en nutrientes como los componentes orgánicos de la tierra y las propiedades del mar, en una costa que se extiende en 320 kilómetros, a lo largo del país, que al aportar sus diversidades biológicas, enriquecen la zona.

Voces en la Frontera, una organización sin fines de lucro, que ha acompañado diversas iniciativas de las comunidades padre “Amando López” y padre “Octavio Ortiz”, que repoblaron la zona, luego de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz, en 1992, procedentes de Colomoncagua, Honduras, quienes han destacado a lo largo de su historia por su grado de organización social y visión del trabajo colectivo.

José Oswaldo Ortiz agregó que esta iniciativa de cultivos de legumbres, más allá de los cereales tradicionales como el maíz y frijol, les ha servido durante la pandemia por el COVID-19, como un fortalecimiento a las dietas familiares y, psicológicamente por las relaciones de amistad y trabajo que se dan en el proyecto que impulsan en la comunidad.

“Aquí trabajamos hombres y mujeres, produciendo chiles, tomates, cebollines, pepinos y rábanos, los que compartimos entre todos los compañeros pasada la cosecha. Porque no estamos -pensando- en la lógica del mercado, sino en producir alimentos para la familia, de allí el tema de la hermandad y la cooperación. Es un esfuerzo constante, trabajar en colectivo -sabemos muy bien- no es fácil, pero a nosotros nos ha funcionado y creemos que es porque pertenecemos a la misma comunidad y somos de la misma generación, lo que nos ayuda a encontrarnos y coincidir en pensamiento”, acotó Ortiz.

Los veintiséis jóvenes que integran La Hermandad Cooperative han definido solo la producción de legumbres para el uso familiar. Mientras, el plátano y producción de peces, es para la venta abierta, que señalaron lo ofrecen a un precio módico, al precio del mercado ambulante o municipal.

“Creemos que las ganancias que se puede llevar el coyote (intermediario al mercado), es mejor dejarlas aquí, además, este tipo de personas cuando nos compra la producción establece un precio. Y que creemos no es el justo. Así que, es más fácil venderlo localmente.

De plátano tenemos 1,400 cepas establecidas en una manzana y media de terreno, que da tres cosechas, y claro la laguna con los peces, todo esto es sostenible para dar un cambio a la agricultura tradicional. Es un cambio y ahora, como comunidad estamos tratando de conservar la flora y la fauna”, explicó.

En la Comunidad padre “Octavio Ortiz”, Adolfo Orellana, muestra con orgullo los ayotes cosechados junto a su milpa, el espacio de su terreno se ha convertido en un vergel en donde conviven cultivos de frijol, ñame, mora, maíz, frijol, tomates, pepinos, malanga, ocra y otras legumbres, que considera, una alternativa para la alimentación familiar. Así como, árboles frutales.

“Esta es una respuesta al Cambio Climático, aunque algunos piensen, que vendrá, puedo decirle que ya lo vivimos y que estamos ya, sometidos a sus efectos; entonces, debemos buscar alternativas y cultivar las plantas según se presentan los efectos. Si hay mucha agua (inundaciones) quedémonos con la malanga (tubérculo) que resiste el agua, porque se puede podrir la hoja, pero abajo queda esa raíz que tiene sabor a papa y es alimenticia. Y si hay mucho calor el coco es una alternativa también para tener alimentos, así también, tenemos el ñame, que está enterrado en la tierra y tiene muchas proteínas”, opinó.


Collective and environmentally friendly alternativeS TO FOOD PRODUCTION

By Gloria Silvia Orellana
@GloriaCoLatino

Sweet green chilies flood the hands of Clelia Luna and Oswaldo Ortiz, who, together with a group of young people from the Amando López Community, in La Canoa canton of Usulután, are betting on an essential alternative to family nutrition, Agroecology, which is a framework of practices that are environmentally friendly and pesticide-free.

“We are a group of young people who have been working collectively for two years, which has allowed us to set some guidelines and has led us to legalize “La Hermandad Acuicola” as a producter of vegetables, bananas and fish such as Tilapia and Sambo, from a “Casa Maya” (greenhouse),” Ortiz explained.

Every October 16, World Food Day is commemorated, which seeks to recognize and pay tribute to the people who work the land to produce the food that millions of families consume on a daily basis. Since the coronavirus pandemic began many have considered these workers heroes.

With their “Maya house”, which is located on Clelia’s land, and a soil enriched with “bokashi” (organic fertilizer) that optimizes production with zero use of agrochemicals, these young people are yielding crops without toxic traces. “Sometimes when we are harvesting (chili peppers) we can take one and eat it without worrying that they are contaminated,” said Luna.

The Bajo Lempa offers fertile land that serves as a border between two very different ecosystems, both rich in nutrients like organic soil components and properties of the sea, set along a 320 kilometers stretch of coastline.

Voices on the Border, is a non-profit organization that has accompanied various initiatives, many like this one, of Amando López Community and it’s neighbor Octavio Ortiz Community, which in 1992 after the signing of the Peace Accords repopulated the area from Colomoncagua, Honduras. Since then, both communities have excelled throughout its history due to their degree of social organization and vision of collective work.

José Oswaldo Ortiz added that this initiative of legume crops, beyond traditional cereals such as corn and beans, has served them during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a strengthening of family diets and, psychologically, for the relationships of friendship and work that are given in the project that they promote in the community.

“Here we work, both men and women, producing chili peppers, tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers and radishes, which we share among one another after the harvest because we are not -thinking- in the logic of the market, but in producing food for our families, hence the themes of “brotherhood and cooperation. It is a constant effort, working collectively – we know very well – is not easy, but it has worked for us and we believe it’s because we belong to the same community and we are from the same generation, which helps us to come together and coincide in thinking,” Ortiz said.

The twenty-six young people who make up La Hermandad Cooperative have decided that legumes be produced exclusively for families. Meanwhile, the banana and fish production is open for sale, which they pointed out is offered at a reasonable price, at the street or municipal market price.

“We believe that because of the profits that the coyotes (intermediary to the market) can take once they bring it to market and establish a price is not fair, it’s better to sell it locally. We have 1,400 banana vines in one and half manzana (2.55 acres), which yields three annual harvests, and of course the lagoon with the fish, all of which is sustainable and helping us change traditional agriculture. The change is happening and now, as a community, we are trying to conserve flora and fauna,” he explained.

In the Octavio Ortiz Community, Adolfo Orellana proudly shows the ayotes harvested next to his milpa, his land has become an orchard of beans, yams, blackberries, corn, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, taro, okra and other legumes, which he considers an alternative for family meals. He also has fruit trees.

“This is a response to Climate Change, although some think that it is far off, I can tell you that we are already living it and that we are already being subjected to its effects, so we must look for alternatives and cultivate crops as the effects occur. For example, if there is a lot of water (floods), let’s stick with the taro (tuber) that resists water, because the leaf can rot, but below it is that nutritional root that has a potato flavor . And if it is very hot, the coconut is also an alternative to other foods, we also have yams, which is buried in the earth and provides a lot of proteins, “he said.

Uncategorized

World Day of Non-use of Pesticides

Today was the World Day of Non-use of Pesticides and the Mesa por la Soberanía Alimentaria aka Bureau for Food Sovereignty held a press conference, to once again denounce the indiscriminate use go Agrotoxins in El Salvador. It was led by Doris Evangelista, a member of the Mesa along with a family who shared their story.

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Rosalía Grande López has lost three out of four sons to renal failure, and Oscar, her 4th son, is currently struggling with the disease and almost lost his battle with it two years ago. Rosalía’s house sits in the middle of sugar cane fields, in San Luis Talpa, a muncilaplity with some of the highest rates of chronic renal failure in El Salvador, a disease predominantly found in rural areas where people produce the country’s food supply.

“Sadly,” Doris reminds us, “Rosalía’s heartbreaking story is similar to thousands of other families, from Acajutla to La Union.”

She reads the press release; the facts seem unbelievable…

  • Renal failure is the number one cause of hospital mortality in Salvadoran men.
  • Worldwide, agrotoxics kill 335 million people/year, that’s 40 deaths/ hour.
  • Monsanto, and five other countries, control 60% of the global agrotoxic market.

The public health system in El Salvador is free and provides dialysis treatments and medications to patients with the disease, however the majority of these public hospitals don’t have the necessary equipment and/or medication and therefore are unable to provide the prescribed treatments for all their patients.

Oscar is prescribed two dialysis treatments weekly, but usually the hospital runs out of medication, meaning it can only perform one a week, leaving Oscar to either pay $25-$50 extra a week for medication, or forgo the second treatment, which consistently is his only option.

In El Salvador, even though laws exists, even though the health ministry has demonstrated a strong correlation between agrotoxicos and renal failure and their use has been denounced by both the Human Rights Ombudsman and the United Nations, thousands of people continue to suffer and die as transnational corporations like Monsanto enjoy profits in the billions.

The Mesa is “very concerned that the use of agrochemicals is seriously affecting water, soil, biodiversity, the local economy and food sovereignty throughout the country.” Their concerns seem justifiable, especially with the large-scale sugar cane industry boasting that 2020 will prove to be their best harvest ever.

“They will applaud while we suffer,” lamented Doris, before concluding the conference with a shout out to government institutions and civil society to come together and strategize a campaign against Big Sugar, “because this” she says, “is also about the right to life.”


ComunicadoSV_Día mundial del no uso de pesticidas (en español).
Video breve (en español).
agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, El Salvador Government, Environment, Food Security, Public Health, Uncategorized, Water/Agua

MOVIAC Marches to Promote Agroecology in El Salvador


 

The organizations that make up the Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change and Corporations (MOVIAC), took to the streets of San Salvador alongside environmental activists to create awareness about the negative impacts the indiscrimate use of Agrochemicals has on the health and safety of El Salvador.

According to MOVIAC, “Agroecology brings together sustainable and ancestral agricultural practices in order to unify the relationship between nature and humans and guarantee food saftey.”

Farmers, families, educators, leaders, young and old, marched together towards the Legislative Assembly to present a proposed law for the promotion of Agroecology, as a way to mitigate the impacts of climate change. They were met by senior government officials on the environmental committee and were able to submit the documents.

 


 

LEER MÁS↓

Diariocolatino: Propuesta de Ley de Fomento de la Agroecologia sera Presentada la Semana Proxima
DiarioLibre: Exigen Ley para Impulsar la Agroecologia en El Salvador y Prohibir Pesticidas
Uncategorized

CISPES– 100 Days of Nayib Bukele in El Salvador: Social Movement Perspectives

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[courtesy of CISPES]

When Nayib Bukele was inaugurated as El Salvador’s new president on June 1, the ceremony—open to the public for the first time—was, like several other opening gambits of the new administration, more symbolic than substantive. Held outdoors in the historic center of downtown San Salvador just blocks from the bustle of street vendors and the wheeze of city buses, the event was squarely on brand with Bukele’s populist messaging and widely promoted as the first glimpse of a “new era” of governance in El Salvador: inclusive, accessible, and transparent.

However, as Bukele marks his first 100 days as president and the substance of his administration begins to take form, Salvadoran popular movement organizations warn that far from any “new ideas” (for which Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, is named), Bukelismo signals a return to the all-too-familiar neoliberal program of wealth reconsolidation and acquiescence to empire, albeit rebranded in the populist, “post-ideological” rhetoric of our times.

CLICK HERE  TO CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE


About the author: The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is a grassroots solidarity organization that has been supporting the Salvadoran people’s struggle for social and economic justice since 1980.

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.

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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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.

romero, Uncategorized

Happy 101st Birthday Oscar Romero!

“We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
Oscar Romero

Unfinished-Eucharist-2

 

 

Today we join our Salvadoran family in the commemoration of Oscar Arnulfo Romero’s 101st birthday. May the messages of peace and love that he imparted continue to live on in the hearts and minds of all who love justice.

Uncategorized

EL SALVADOR IS ON ALERT FOR THE PRIVATIZATION OF WATER

Versión Español

0604062El Salvador faces a profound water crisis. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), it is the only country in the Central American region dangerously close to experiencing water stress and with 1,700 cubic meters per capita per year, it has the lowest water availability per inhabitant of all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

However, as argued by ECLAC, El Salvador already experiences water stress because the conditions of access to water are precarious. The scarcity of water caused by deforestation and by the pollution of rivers and other surface sources, adds to an ethical problem of unfair management and distribution. Even in places where apparently there is enough water, the poor always have difficulty accessing it; while the owners of golf courses, bottling companies, sugarcane producers, and other private interests use all the water they want, not caring how they affect local communities.

Due to this injustice, a group of Salvadoran civil society organizations submitted a proposal called The General Water Law to the Legislative Assembly in March 2006. With the aim of generating a change in the vision and behavior of state institutions and civil society with respect to compliance with the human right to water, the law was based on principles such as: civic participation, full access, focus on the basin, sustainability and decentralization.

Over the following years, updated proposals were presented in Parliament, as well as different direct actions organized by the people who demanded that the General Water Law to be promulgated. However, due to strong tensions between the right-wing parties and the FMLN, a consensus has never been reached. On June 14, 2017 the four major right-wing parties presented a new draft bill designed to suit the interests of the large private companies called The Integral Water Law.

This new proposal generated a strong rejection from the general public and the civil society organizations, who which for more than a decade have been fighting for water to be recognized as a human right in El Salvador. Many people have expressed their concerns, questioned intentions and denounced the legislative right’s decision to hand over the country’s water resources to the private sector.

The March 4, 2018 midterm election results rewrote the political map in the Legislative Assembly, paving the way for the right to advance with its 2017 proposal and on June 5, paradoxically within the framework of the celebration of World Environment Day, the legislative commission responsible for the environmental issue, agreed to begin discussing the Integral Water Law, in sense ignoring all other draft laws presented. In response, the FMLN wrote in its twitter account: “This day, taking advantage of its majority in the Committee on Environment and Climate Change, the right takes steps towards the privatization of water resources.”

For their part, organizations and social movements are on alert and strong mobilizations are being prepared for the coming days. José Santos Guevara, coordinator of the Movement of Victims and Affected by Climate Change and Corporations (MOVIAC) stated: “We reject any attempt to privatize water, and we will fight in the streets to prevent water from becoming a commodity, our struggle is for it to be a common good and its access a basic human right.”

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EL SALVADOR EN ALERTA POR LA PRIVATIZACION DEL AGUA

El Salvador enfrenta una profunda crisis hídrica, según la Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL), es el único en la región centroamericana que se encuentra cercano a una situación de estrés hídrico (1,700 m3 per cápita por año), lo que lo sitúa entre los países en Latinoamérica y el Caribe con más baja disponibilidad de agua por habitante.

No obstante, lo sostenido por la CEPAL, El Salvador ya experimenta estrés hídrico, debido a que las condiciones de acceso al agua son precarias, porque a la escases provocada por la deforestación y por la contaminación de los ríos y demás fuentes superficiales, se adiciona un problema ético de gestión y distribución injusta; incluso en lugares donde aparentemente hay agua suficiente son los pobres los que tienen dificultad para acceder a ella; al mismo tiempo que propietarios de campos de golf, compañías embotelladoras, productores de caña de azúcar, y otros intereses privados utilizan toda el agua que quieran, sin importarles la forma en que afectan a las comunidades locales

Esta situación de injusticia llevó, en marzo de 2006, a un grupo de organizaciones de la sociedad civil salvadoreña, a presentar a la Asamblea Legislativa una propuesta de Ley General de Aguas, basada en principios como: la participación, el pleno acceso, el enfoque de cuenca, la sustentabilidad y la descentralización. Con el objetivo de generar un cambio en la visión y comportamiento de las instituciones del Estado y de la sociedad en general con respecto al cumplimiento del derecho humano al agua.

Durante los siguientes años hubo otras propuestas presentadas en el Parlamento, así mismo hubo diferentes acciones de presión por parte de la sociedad para que se promulgara la Ley General de Aguas; sin embargo no se produjo ningún resultado, debido a una fuerte tensión entre los partidos de derecha y el FMLN. El 14 de junio de 2017 los 4 partidos de derecha presentaron un nuevo anteproyecto de ley, denominado: “Ley Integral del Agua”, diseñado a medida de los intereses de la gran empresa privada.

Esta nueva propuesta generó un fuerte rechazo de la ciudadanía. Las organizaciones de la sociedad civil, que por más de una década han luchado por el derecho humano al agua, expresaron su preocupación y denunciaron la intensión de la derecha legislativa de entregar los recursos hídricos del país al sector privado.

Los resultados electorales del 4 de marzo configuraron un nuevo mapa político en la Asamblea Legislativa, allanando el camino para que la derecha avance con su propuesta, y como era de suponer lo está haciendo sin demora. Paradójicamente el 5 de junio, en el marco de la celebración del Día del Medio Ambiente, la comisión legislativa responsable del tema ambiental, acordó iniciar la discusión de la Ley Integral del Agua, ignorando todos los demás anteproyectos de ley presentados, incluso con mayor anticipación. Al respecto el FMLN escribió en su cuenta de twitter: Este día, valiendose de su mayoría en la Comisión de Medio Ambiente y Cambio Climático, la derecha da pasos hacia la privatización del recurso hídrico.

Por su parte las organizaciones y movimientos sociales se encuentran en alerta y se preparan fuertes movilizaciones para los próximos días.  José Santos Guevara, coordinador del Movimiento de Víctimas y Afectados por el Cambio Climático y las Corporaciones, MOVIAC afirma: Nosotros rechazamos cualquier intento de privatización del agua, y vamos a dar la pelea en las calles  para evitar que el agua se convierta en una mercancía, nuestra lucha es para que sea un bien común y su acceso un derecho humano básico.