Historical Memory, Liberation Theology, romero

Recordando a San Romero: 40 Años de Inspiración y Esperanza

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romero3Oscar Arnulfo Romero nació el 15 de agosto de 1917 en Ciudad Barrios, Departamento de San Miguel. Al terminar sus estudios básicos se dedicó al aprendizaje de carpintería y a la música. En 1930 a los trece años de edad, ingresó al seminario menor en San Miguel y luego, en 1937, se mudó a Roma donde terminó sus estudios teológicos en la Universidad Gregoriana, el día 4 de abril de 1942. Regresó a El Salvador en 1943, y fue asignado a la parroquia de Anamorós, un pueblo cerca de San Miguel. En 1966, es nombrado Secretario de la Conferencia de Obispos en El Salvador, cargo en el cual permaneció por once años. En 1970, es nombrado Obispo y el 3 de febrero de 1977, la Iglesia Católica en el Vaticano bajo el mando del Papa Pablo VI, lo nombró Arzobispo de San Salvador.

Durante los siguientes tres años se desempeñó como Arzobispo de San Salvador, por ese tiempo el país se embarcaba en una guerra civil, de las más sangrientas de América Latina. Uno de los hechos más dolorosos para Monseñor Romero fue el asesinato de su amigo, el sacerdote Rutilio Grande, tras el asesinato del padre Grande, Monseñor Romero se convierte un férreo defensor de los derechos humanos. Su incansable lucha en la defensa de los más pobres lo convirtió en una poderosa voz de denuncia contra la represión que sufría el pueblo, al punto de ser considerado “La Voz de los Sin Voz.”

Sus palabras siguen resonando:

“La persecución es algo necesario en la Iglesia. ¿Saben porqué? Porque la verdad siempre es perseguida.” (Homilía 29 -05-1977)

“Mi voz desaparecerá, pero mi palabra que es Cristo quedará en los
corazones que lo hayan querido acoger.” (Homilía 17-12-78)

“… Les suplico, les ruego, les ordeno en nombre de Dios: ¡cese la represión!” (Homilía 23-03-80)

“Es inconcebible que se diga a alguien cristiano y no tome como Cristo una opción preferencial por los pobres.” (Homilía 9-09-1979)

“Si me matan resucitaré en el pueblo salvadoreño.” (Marzo 1980)

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Su palabra y sus acciones como defensor de los pobres y oprimidos lo convirtieron en enemigo de los sectores más conservadores y de la dictadura militar que gobernaba el país, por lo que el 24 de marzo de 1980, mientras celebraba una misa, es asesinado de un certero disparo al corazón. Desde el momento de su muerte Monseñor Romero se convierte en un símbolo universal de la justicia y la paz. El 14 de octubre de 2018, Monseñor Romero fue Canonizado por el Papa Francisco; sin embargo, este hecho solo fue el reconocimiento formal de la iglesia, al pueblo que lo hizo Santo desde el momento de su asesinato.

Para el Movimiento de Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de El Salvador:
Monseñor Romero es grato a Dios porque desenmascaró la mentira histórica de aquel momento que hacía creer que la pobreza y la miseria de las mayorías era voluntad de Dios. Y confesó valientemente la verdad sobre el Dios que mandó a su Hijo Jesucristo a tomar una preferencia sin ambigüedades por los pobres. Así mismo, es el reconocimiento a la justeza de la lucha del pueblo salvadoreño por definir su propio destino.

Ahora, a 40 años de su asesinato, Monseñor Romero es conocido como “San
Romero de América.”


Remembering San Romero: 40 years of Inspiration and Hope

Oscar Arnulfo Romero was born on August 15, 1917 in Ciudad Barrios, Department of San Miguel. After finishing his basic studies he devoted himself to learning carpentry and music. In 1930 at the age of thirteen, he entered the minor seminary in San Miguel and then, in 1937, he moved to Rome where he finished his theology studies at the Gregorian University on April 4, 1942.

He returned to El Salvador in 1943, and was assigned to the parish of Anamorós, a town near San Miguel. In 1966, he was appointed Secretary of the Conference of Bishops in El Salvador, a position in which he remained for eleven years. In 1970, he was appointed Bishop and on February 3, 1977 the Catholic Church, under the command of Pope Paul VI, appointed him Archbishop of San Salvador.

During the following three years he served as Archbishop of San Salvador, the country was embarking on one of the bloodiest civil wars in Latin America. A defining moment for Monsignor Romero was the tragic murder of his friend, priest Rutilio Grande. After the murder of Father Grande, Monsignor Romero became a strong defender of human rights. His tireless fight in defense of the poor made him a powerful voice against the repression suffered by his people, to the point where he was considered to be “The Voice of the Voiceless.”

His words continue to resonate:

“Persecution is something necessary in the Church. Do you know why? Because the truth is always persecuted.” (Homily 29 -05-1977).

“My voice will disappear, but my Word which is Christ will remain in the hearts of those who have chosen to accept him.” (Homily 12-17-78).

“… I beg you, I beseech you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!” (Homily 03-23-80).

“It is inconceivable that some can call themselves Christian without taking, like Christ, a preferential option for the poor.” (Homily 9-09-1979).

“If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people” (March-1980).

romero2Needless to say, his word and his actions as a defender of the poor and oppressed made him an enemy of the most conservative sectors and the military dictatorship that governed the country. On March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass, he was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet through the heart. From the moment of his death, Monsignor Romero became a universal symbol of justice and peace.

On October 14, 2018, Monsignor Romero was declared a saint by Pope Francis. However to his people, he became holy at the hour of his death.

For the grassroots Movement of Ecclesial Communities of El Salvador, Monsignor Romero pleased God by unmasking the historical lie that poverty and misery of the people was God’s will. He bravely confessed the truth about the God who sent his Son Jesus Christ to take an unambiguous preference for the poor. Likewise, Romero’s canonization signifies a recognition of the just struggle of the Salvadoran people to define their own destiny.

Now, 40 years after his assassination, Monsignor Romero is known as “Saint Romero of the Americas.”

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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.

Historical Memory

The Historical Memory Project of community Amando Lopez

VOICES is proud to collaborate with the ADESCO of community Amando Lopez in their endeavor to facilitate a historical memory process. This past weekend, we began enthusiastic with our first (of three) collective memory workshop that was attended by young and old.
The end goal is to publish a written book and digital library for future generations to revisit and learn from.

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Corruption, El Salvador Government, human rights

Justice for El Mozote!

1423580392900_nyc17325A press conference was held this morning, August 13th, in San Salvador by representatives of Tutela Legal Maria Julia Hernandez to give an update on the case of  El Mozote, the massacre that occurred on December 11, 1981 in northern Morazán.

Over 40 witnesses have come forward since the overturn of El Salvador’s Amnesty Law in 2016 to contribute harrowing testimonies of the barbarity executed by Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Monterrosa Barrios (deceased) and the Atlacatl Battalion (disbanded).

According to the findings, Monterrosa had the full cooperation and authorization from the Salvadoran state at the time of the massacre and attempted to cover up and deny the act, which was thwarted due to the forensic anthropological team from Argentina that conducted exhumations. Based on their invaluable work, it has come to light that over 1,000 innocent civilians were indeed tormented and being killed.
Santos Pereyra, Rubencinda Marquez

“It is no longer possible to deny that a massacre occurred.” stated one of the attorneys from Tutela Legal.

The legal team also expressed the painful truth that til this day, survivors of the massacre have been left blind, sterile, full of shrapnel and continue to suffer from post traumatic stress.

The 18 military commanders that carried out this inhumane act are being tried in a court of law, some posthumously, in a judicial process that has reached “an advanced stage,” and attorneys are confident that justice will “finally be served.”


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The mission of Tutela Legal is the “observation, protection, study, promotion, dissemination, information and intervention in the defense of threatened or violated human rights, with special attention to groups in vulnerable situations.”

The Board

The Board Speaks

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Voices has two full-time staff in country which means we regularly rely on the strength and direction of our Board of Directors to ensure we’re doing what’s right and doing it right. Our current Board of Directors is full of amazing folks, many whom have been with Voices since the 1980’s, and others who have watched it grow.  What’s clear is that these histories have created strong connections and bonds with our communities and partners making our jobs on the ground easier and more impactful.  This June, our Board and field staff met in Maryland’s beautiful lakeside to reconnect, to share, to learn, to inspire and be inspired, and recommit to the work at hand.

Below is a collection of short interviews taken at the close of this year’s meeting. 

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agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Cabanas, Climate Change, Corruption, Disasters, Economy, El Salvador Government, Environment, Food Security, International Relations, Mining, Politics, Public Health

A Historical Vote for Environmental Justice

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Versión Español

March 29th, 2017

Despite a short 72 hour notice, some three hundred people from across the country, descended on the courtyard of the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador to be be present during one of the most historical votes in the counter’s recent history. Today was the result of a persistent movement led by communities, national and international environmental organizations, universities, politicians, lawyers, scientists, health professions and most recently, even the Pope himself, recently joined the cause.

According to the UN, El Salvador has the second highest degree of environmental deterioration in the Americas, with only 3% of intact natural forests, soils ruined by inadequate agricultural practices and more than 90% of contaminated surface waters. A recent study by the Central American University José Simeón Cañas (UCA) revealed that 90% of the population demands that the Government take immediate measures to prohibit this putrid industry.

Today was not only a victory for the Anti-Mining activists but it also gave a glimpse of hope that the Water Rights Act, another overdue, essential bill could finally be put before the same assembly and passed. Both laws go hand in hand in the protection of the most basic and important human right of Salvadorans; the right to a dignified and healthy life.

Read the Press Release


Un Voto Histórico para la Justicia Ambiental

Marzo 29, 2017

A pesar de un breve aviso de 72 horas, unas trescientas personas, representado varios regiones del país descendieron al patio de la Asamblea Legislativa en San Salvador para estar presentes durante uno de los votos más trascendentales de la historia reciente del país. Hoy en día, fue el resultado de un movimiento persistente liderado por comunidades, organizaciones ambientales nacionales e internacionales, universidades, políticos, abogados, científicos, profesiones de la salud y más recientemente, incluso el Papa mismo , se unió a la causa.

Según la ONU, El Salvador tiene el segundo mayor grado de deterioro ambiental en las Américas, con sólo el 3% de bosques naturales intactos, los suelos son arruinados por prácticas agrícolas inadecuadas y más del 90% de las aguas superficiales son contaminadas. Un reciente estudio de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA) reveló que el 90% de la población exige que el Gobierno tome medidas inmediatas para prohibir esta industria pútrida.

Hoy, no sólo fue una victoria para los activistas antiminerales, sino que también dio un vistazo a la esperanza de que la Ley del Agua, otro proyecto imprescindible y atrasado, podría finalmente ser sometido a la misma asamblea y aprobado. Ambas leyes van de la mano en la protección del derecho humano más básico e importante de los salvadoreños; El derecho a una vida digna y sana.

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Celebrating 30 years of Solidarity with the People of El Salvador – 2016 Annual Report

2016 was a dynamic year for Voices. We said goodbye to old friends and opened the door to new ones. We began an extensive education revitalization project in Bajo Lempa, started supporting women’s empowerment in Morazán and even joined in on environmental justice protests in the capital San Salvador.

This year is even more special because we turn 30! Since our inception in the refugee camps until now, we have never deserted our communities and are committed to being a critical source of support for them now, and in the future.

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Read our report to find out what our partners have been up to, the large scales issues they are facing and how Voices has been working hard in collaboration with leaders to find solutions to issues and pathways to accomplishing goals.