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.


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.




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

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

cispes el salvador
[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.


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.




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 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.



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.