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What is Going on in El Salvador?

You are cordially invited to a very intriguing conversation with Salvadoran experts, tomorrow evening. The topics we will be discuss are the Current state of Politics and Freedom of Expression in El Salvador.

If you want to directly contribute via the Zoom meeting, pre-register @ shorturl.at/goqR5

We can’t wait to see you!


Están cordialmente invitad@s a una conversación muy intrigante con expertos salvadoreños, esta noche. Los temas que trataremos son el estado actual de la política y la libertad de expresión en El Salvador.

Si desean contribuir directamente a través de la reunion de Zoom, preinscríbase @ shorturl.at/goqR5

¡Estamos ansiosos por verte!

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Returning to our Solidarity Planning

The Voices’ Annual Board of Directors meeting is a space to evaluate our work and strategize what’s to come. It is also a wonderful occasion for us as staff to get to know our board members on a deeper level. After more than a year of exclusively connecting via everyone’s favorite video conferencing program, it was decided that the time had come to meet face to face.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Sheryl, an ESL teacher at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in D.C., who for the past 23 years has been unflaggingly helping adult immigrants – many of them Salvadorans- to reach their potential here in the U.S.

I asked her about her decision to join the board, and she reminisced on her first delegation to El Salvador with VOICES back in 2017:

By that point, I already had so much affinity for my Salvadoran students and the Salvadoran people, and I had also been actively working to raise my own awareness around racism, classism, and immigration.

Then I went on a Voices’ delegation, which opened my eyes and helped to confront the Salvadoran narrative I had long held in my mind. You see, up until then, I had mainly only heard the testimonies of those who fled or left El Salvador for whatever reason, not of those who stayed behind.

I remember being so impacted by the young community leaders, who were fully committed to staying and vigorously working to improve societal conditions so that future generations don’t feel the need to migrate.

Even under “normal” circumstances, that type of dedication would’ve been admirable, but at that time, things were far from normal on the contrary things were downright toilsome. But Voices as an organization never faltered in their support.

I’m honored to be on the Board and in a position to learn more and offer more support to our students at Carlos Rosario.”

 

annual report, Community News, education, Environment, Food Security, Historical Memory, News Highlights, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Voices Developments, Womens issues

Introducing our 2020 Annual Work Report

2020 has been a whirlwind year and we want to share it with you.

Click Here or below to read our latest annual report.

2020 VOTB Annual Work Report
Equality, human rights, News Highlights

Black Lives Matter

As a human rights organization, Voices on the Border ardently denounces all acts of racism, discrimination and violence against Black people and empathize with their outrage and share in their grief of having lost so many innocent lives to ignorance and hatred.

We stand in total solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement because we truly believe in the power of the people and encourage their right to fully express their pain, joy and demands for justice and peace, however they see fit. The movement’s global spread is giving us a sense of hope for the future, while also allowing us to examine our own commitments to structural and strategic change, which we acknowledge must come from within in order to be sustainable.

We are currently in the middle of our annual Board meeting, and this analysis helps us appreciate that, due to VOICES ‘proximity to our local partners, both are given frequent opportunities to be challenged and educated, socially and culturally. On the the other hand, this same examination leads us to ask ourselves how we can improve the representation of people of color on our Board, to ensure cultural accountability and organizational growth towards social equilibrium.

Historical hatred and unhealed wounds are realities that we must face and correct, in the United States, in El Salvador, as human beings. This complex task is the responsibility of us all.

#BlackLivesMatter


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Como organización de derechos humanos, VOCES denuncia ardientemente todos los actos de racismo, discriminación y violencia contra los negros y empatiza con su indignación y comparte su dolor de haber perdido tantas vidas inocentes por ignorancia y odio.

Nos solidarizamos totalmente con el movimiento Las Vidas Negras Importan, porque realmente creemos en el poder del pueblo, y alentamos su derecho a expresar plenamente su dolor, alegría y demandas para la justicia y paz, como ellxs quieran. La difusión global del movimiento nos está dando una sensación de esperanza para el futuro, y, al mismo tiempo, nos permite examinar nuestros propios compromisos con el cambio estructural y estratégico, que reconocemos deben venir desde adentro, para ser sostenibles.

De hecho, nos encontramos en el medio de nuestra reunión anual de la Junta Directiva, y este análisis nos ayuda a apreciar que, debido a la proximidad de VOCES a nuestros socios locales, pues a ambos se les da oportunidades frecuentes de ser desafiados y educados, social y culturalmente. Por otro lado, esta misma inspección nos lleva a preguntarnos cómo podemos mejorar la representación de gente de color en nuestra Directiva, para garantizar la responsabilidad cultural y el crecimiento organizacional hacia el equilibrio social.

El odio histórico y las heridas no curadas son realidades que debemos enfrentar y corregir, en los Estados Unidos, en El Salvador, como seres humanos. Esta tarea compleja es responsabilidad de todos nosotrxs.

#LasVidasNegrasImportan

COVID 19, human rights, Politics

ABUSO DE PODER EN MEDIO DE LA CRISIS

read in English

 

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credito: bbci.co.uk

El sábado 21 de marzo, en una extensa cadena de radio y televisión, el presidente salvadoreño Nayib Bukele decretó una cuarentena por 30 días, advirtiendo que quien no acatara la orden, en lugar de pasar la cuarentena en su hogar, con su familia, la pasaría encerrado en un centro de contención.  Para el día siguiente, domingo 22 de marzo, la Policía y la Fuerza Armada habían detenido en la calle a por lo menos 300 personas; sin embargo, el Gobierno, la Policía y el Ejército solo tenían claro el tema de las capturas, pero no el del resguardo de los detenidos, por lo que fueron trasladados hacia delegaciones policiales como cualquier delincuente, porque no existía ningún centro de contención habilitado.

Frente a este hecho, La Sala de lo Constitucional, de la Corte Suprema de Justicia emitió una resolución decretando que ni la policía ni el ejército pueden detener y encarcelar a alguien por incumplir la cuarentena domiciliar, porque viola derechos humanos establecidos en la Constitución; pero los abusos continuaron. Una nota publicada por el periódico español El País, lo expone así: 

Las denuncias de arbitrariedades y abusos de fuerza se cuentan por cientos. El presidente  (Nayib Bukele) ha respondido públicamente que no es momento de discutir si sus rigurosas medidas contra la pandemia son o no constitucionales, y el día 7 (de abril) dobló su apuesta legitimando el uso de la fuerza: “He dado la instrucción al ministro de Defensa y al ministro de Seguridad de ser más duros con la gente en la calle, la gente que está violando la cuarentena”, dijo. Tres días después, un policía disparó dos veces en las piernas a un joven de 19 años sospechoso de violar el confinamiento. El joven asegura que fue por negarse a pagar mordida (soborno) a los agentes; las autoridades lo calificaron en un comunicado oficial de “accidente.”

La actuación de la Policía y del Ejército, durante 30 días, estuvo amparada principalmente en  la “Ley de Restricción Temporal de Derechos Constitucionales Concretos para Atender la Pandemia COVID-19″ aprobada por la Asamblea Legislativa a medidos de marzo para una duración de 15 días, posteriormente se prorrogó por un periodo igual. Esta Ley caducó el pasado 13 de abril y a pesar que el Gobierno solicitó al Parlamento una nueva prorroga, esta no fue concedida, precisamente por las denuncias de las arbitrariedades cometidas y no fueron abordadas.

En ausencia de este marco legal que respalde la detención de las personas y su reclusión en un centro de cuarentena, el gobierno emitió el Decreto Ejecutivo Número 19 que establece medidas similares o más drásticas, a la anterior ley. Por ejemplo: se establece  que toda persona que circule sin justificación y que se catalogue como caso sospechoso, deberá permanecer en un centro de cuarentena por 30 días. Además si la persona infractora se traslada en vehículo, este será sometido a desinfección y quedará en deposito en los lugares establecidos, la persona detenida solo recuperará su vehículo despues de pagar el costo del estacionamiento, luego de la cuarentena.

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credito: elmundo.sv

También el Decreto Número 19 establece que toda persona está obligada a permitir el ingreso de los delegados del Ministerio de Salud a inspecionar su casa. Para la abogada María Silvia Guillén esta disposición es insconstitucional, pues las autoridades pueden ingresar a una vivienda por el consentimiento de quien la habita o por mandato judicial, exclusivamente. “Cuidado policías y militares que están pretendiendo entrar en las viviendas con una disposición de un decreto ejecutivo”. Escribió la reconocida abogada en su cuenta de facebook.

Por su parte, la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia (máximo tribunal de justicia de El Salvador) emitió una nueva resolución en la que reafirmó que la Policía no debe detener arbitrariamente a personas para llevarlas a centros de contención ni proceder al decomiso de vehículos, entre otras medidas restrictivas. Ante este hecho el presidente Bukele dijo que no acataría tal resolución y que continuará aplicando el Decreto 19, al cien por ciento, no importando que las resoluciones de este tipo son de obligatorio cumplimiento.

La desobediencia del presidente ha sido rechazada por un gran número de actores dentro y fuera del país. La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) instó al Gobierno de El Salvador “a cumplir las medidas ordenadas”. Así mismo, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) publicó que en situaciones de emergencia el Estado de Derecho y el sistema de “pesos y contrapesos” son esenciales para asegurar los derechos humanos de las personas. Por su parte el congresista Jim McGovern, instó a Bukele a respetar los fallos judiciales, diciendo que el país necesita democracia y no a un gobierno autoritario, así mismo el líder del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes estadounidense, Eliot Engel, lamentó el desacato de Bukele a la resolución de la Sala de lo Constitucional y urgió al presidente “a respetar los fallos judiciales de la Corte Suprema sobre el Covid-19” recalcando que “los líderes mundiales deben ser capaces de proteger tanto la salud como las libertades civiles”.

Pero todas estas recriminaciones y exigencias no parecen inmutar al presidente Nayib Bukele, ni a sus funcionarios de seguridad. Una nota recientemente publicada en el periódico digital El Faro, define la situación actual del país como una triple crisis: sanitaria, económica y democrática. La primera causada por un virus; la segunda por las medidas obligadas para combatir al virus; la tercera por un gobierno antidemocrático. 

Es necesario resistir, y sobrevivir, a las tres.

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credito: bbci.co.uk


ABUSE OF POWER IN THE MIDST OF THE CRISIS

On Saturday March 21, via an extensive radio and television network broadcast, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele decreed a 30-day quarantine, warning that whoever did not comply with the order, instead of spending the quarantine at home with their family, would be locked up in a quarantine center. By the next day, the police and the armed forces had detained at least 300 people who had allegedly violated that order. The government, the police and the army were only clear on the issue of captures, and not on how to properly care for “detainees,” which meant that they were being transferred to police “lock ups” just like any other criminal, since there were no adequate quarantine centers built.

Faced with this fact, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice issued a resolution decreeing that neither the police nor the army can arrest and imprison someone for failing to comply with the domicile quarantine because it violates human rights established in the Constitution. Still the abuses continue.  A note published by the Spanish newspaper El País puts it this way: “The allegations of arbitrariness and abuse of force are in the hundreds. The president (Nayib Bukele) has publicly replied that this is not the time to discuss whether or not his rigorous measures against the pandemic are constitutional, and on April 7 he doubled down on his bid legitimizing the use of force: “I have instructed the Defense Minister and the Security Minister to be tougher on the people on the street, the people who are violating the quarantine,” he said. Three days later, a 19-year-old man suspected of violating the lockdown was shot twice in the legs by a police officer. The young man assures that it was for refusing to pay a bribe to the agents, while the authorities describe it as an “accident” in an official statement.

The 30-day activation of the police and the army was mainly protected under the “Temporary Restriction Law on Concrete Constitutional Rights to Address the Pandemic COVID-19”, which was approved by the Legislative Assembly in mid-March and expired on April 13. Despite the fact that the government requested a new extension from Parliament that was denied precisely because of the complaints of the unjustified actions being committed and not addressed, the abuses continue to occur.

Though a legal framework that addresses the detention of people and their confinement in a quarantine center is still lacking, the government recently issued Executive Decree No. 19 which established similar and more drastic measures than the previous law. For example: it established that any person who circulates without justification and who is classified as suspected for testing positive for COVID19, must remain in a quarantine center for 30 days. In addition, if the offending person is driving in a vehicle, that vehicle will be subject to disinfection and will be sent to a police impound, only to be released after a fee is paid and time is served.

Also Decree No.19 establishes that every person is obliged to allow Ministry of Health personnel into their homes. “Beware of police and military who are trying to enter houses with a provision of an executive decree,” well-known lawyer María Silvia Guillén writes, for her, the provision is unconstitutional since authorities can only enter a dwelling with the consent of the person who inhabits it or by a judges warrant. 

For its part, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (the highest court in the land) issued a new resolution in which it reaffirmed that the police should not arbitrarily detain people and take them to quarantine centers or confiscate their vehicles, among other restrictive measures. President Bukele said that he would not abide by such a resolution and that he will continue to apply Decree No. 19, a hundred percent, regardless that such resolutions are binding.

The president’s disobedience has been rejected by a large number of actors inside and outside the country who agree with the supreme court’s ruling. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urged the government of El Salvador to “comply with the ordered measures.” Likewise, the United Nations published that in emergency situations the rule of law and the system of “checks and balances” are essential to ensure that human rights are being upheld. For his part, US Congressman Jim McGover  urged Bukele to respect the supreme court’s judicial decisions, saying that the country needs democracy and not an authoritarian government. Likewise, the leader of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the US House of Representatives, Eliot Engel, regretted Bukele’s contempt of the Constitutional Chamber’s resolution and urged the president “to respect the Supreme Court’s judicial decisions on Covid-19” stressing that “world leaders must be able to protect both the health and freedom of civilians.”

But all these recriminations and demands do not seem to faze President Nayib Bukele, nor his security officials. An article recently published in the digital newspaper El Faro defines the current situation in the country as posing a triple crisis: health, economic and democratic.The first is caused by the virus, the second by the measures required to combat the virus and the third by an undemocratic government.

It is necessary to resist, and survive, all three.