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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
In Morazán :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
In the Bajo Lempa

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CLICK HERE to read what one board member wrote.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

EL SALVADOR CHOOSES ITS PRESIDENT

_105467751_052087565

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.

Nayib-Bukele-Gabriela-Rodriguez-Felix_LPRIMA20190203_0084_35

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.”

km0nluw91o5mowmn2esvvfhopn_z6_d5azh5uowrsgk_0_0
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.