Fundraising Campaign, violence

Fundraising Campaign: Peace & Safety for a Family in Need

Please read and share our current Gofundme campaign. LINK HERE

Go Fund Me for Naun

Every donation contributes to the emergency relocation and short-term economic assistance for a Bajo Lempa family in need.

El Salvador Government, Organized Crime, violence

The Issue of Forced Internal Displacement in El Salvador

Today, Cristosal held a public forum where they presented their most recent report intitled “Visibilize the Invisible, Footprints Conceal Violence, Report of ineternal displacement forced by violence in El Salvador in 2017.”

The report is a recollection and analysis of cases of forced displacement due to violence registered by the CRISTOSAL Foundation with the help of Foundation Quetzalcoatl in 2017 on El Salvador. They also had significant support from The Salvaodran Women’s Institue (ISDEMU) and the Salvaodran Human Rights Ombudsman(PPDH)

The report can be found online HERE and you can find the report they published last year on the same subject HERE. As Celia Medrano, CRISTOSAL’s chief program officer stated in her opening remarks, that “while it important to create an multi-setor response, this phenomena must be an immediate priority for the Salvadoran government.

Below is a graphic taken from the report

In 2017, 701 cases were recorded by both CRISTOAL and Fondation Quetzalcoatl. The majority of victims were women, with two or more children to care for, and hailing from the paracentral region of the country, specifically San Salvador and Soyapango; two regions ravaged by activity.

Reasons for displacement vary but the report has identified the three major motivators in El Salvador to be direct threats, homicides and attempted.

It is important to note that the this report, while extensive, doesn’t 100% coincide with the much lower figures represented by the Salvadoran Government and more specifically the national civil police (PNC). The government representative today said that while they defend their method of analysis, they recognize their lack of awareness on such a “multifaceted phenomenon.”

Many instances of forced displacenmtn are not recorded due to fear of retaliation or lack of confidence in the governments abilities to protect them. The report describes how the majority of these victims wish to stay not only in El Salvador, but in the same states, as to not loose their occupations and support systems. Still, the United National Refugee Agency (ACNUR) has reported a significant increase in Salvadoran asylum seekers, as seen below.

The report calls upon civil society, national and international organizations and especially national and municipal governments to create “an intergrated system that focuses on prevention, mobilization and policies that protect victims and their families.”


Economy, Environment, Hydro Electric Dams

El Chaparral Hydroelectric Dam Promises Clean Energy And Hundreds of Displaced Communities

Despite controversy over environmental destruction of surrounding communities, the Comisión Ejecutiva del Río Lempa (CEL) in El Salvador has began constructing a new hydroelectric dam in the Río Torola located in the northern part of the department of San Miguel in an area known as El Chaparral. Construction began at the beginning of January this year and is expected to continue for fifty months.

Proponents of the project say that the dam is in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol and has the potential to provide electricity to two hundred thousand families in El Salvador. Other touted benefits would include new economic opportunities in agriculture, fishing, and tourism.

However, there is great contention about the benefits of this project due to the resulting flooding of current communities. Contractors and government officials assure that those individuals who lose their land will be compensated and provided a place to live, but according to parish priest, José Antonio Confesor, of the community of San Antonio del Mosco, the majority of the local population does not agree with the construction. Others living in the affected areas say that they were deceived by CEL concerning the purchase of lands.mosco

The project is being financed by a loan from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica (BCIE) for 163 million dollars and by the government that has contributed 56 million dollars. El Chaparral dam is part of the Salvadoran government’s recent efforts to diversify and find cleaner sources of energy. The director of renewable energy in the Ministerio de Economía (Minec) has also recently expressed interest in the production of ethanol and biodiesel.

Because El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Latin America, alternative energy sources such as ethanol production and hydroelectricity are in many ways difficult to implement and are minimally beneficial when compared to similar projects in other countries. Ethanol would be difficult to produce independently since El Salvador does not have ample farmland to do this on a large scale, and hydroelectric projects in the past have done little for the displaced populations in rural areas since they usually are not the people in need of more electricity. What they do need is their farmland and homes that are subsequently flooded by dam construction. In the 1950s, many displaced persons from the 5 of November dam project joined guerrilla forces against the government.

moscoThough in past years analysts have warned of future energy shortages in El Salvador, this month it was reported in the Diario Co-Latino that Salvadorans were consuming about three percent less energy due to current economic hardships. Furthermore, projects such as El Chaparral are not necessarily built with the Salvadoran population in mind. The government’s more immediate concerns in the energy sector is producing energy that can be exported abroad. This exporting of energy may indeed be beneficial for the economic situation of El Salvador in some ways, but it also deepens international debt since El Chaparral and similar projects are being financed by international loans.