Seattle CISPES had for delegates who traveled to El Salvador to serve as accredited observers to the Feb. 2 election. The delegates will speak about the trip on Feb. 18. The following are selections from the El Salvador 2014 Elections Blog: News and International Observer Reports from El Salvador’s 2014 Presidential Election.
“US Embassy Congratulates El Salvador for ‘Orderly and Transparent’ Elections”: On Monday, February 3, the US Embassy in El Salvador released a press statement congratulating the people of El Salvador for an “orderly and transparent” Election Day. The international solidarity community welcomed this statement, which comes on the heels of a vast grassroots effort to ensure US neutrality in the face of these historic elections…
“President Funes reports that 24 companies have been charged with influencing votes”: Mauricio Funes, President of the Republic, revealed that a total of 24 companies have been charged before the Labor Ministry for coercing their workers to vote for a particular political party in the second round of elections, which is a felony punishable with jail time…
FMLN Announces Plan to Increase Margin of Victory Heading into Second Round”: About 10:45 CST, Salvador Sánchez Cerén held a press conference to express his confidence that if the FMLN doesn’t win tonight in the first round, that their margin of victory will increase on March 9th…
“CISPES Mid-Day Report, Lots of People Coming to Vote, Polling Places are Calm”: CISPES observers report high voter turnout, as well as a calm environment. Several observers have commented on a lot of support and co-operation among poll workers to make sure that people with disabilities and people with limited mobility are able to vote…
“Ex-President Francisco Flores was Caught Trying to Flee the Country”: Former President Francisco Flores tried to flee the country by crossing the Guatemalan border hidden in a truck on Tuesday, January 28, according to President Mauricio Funes. Flores, who is currently under investigation for embezzling $15 million donated by the Government of Taiwan, failed to appear Tuesday morning for a hearing…
“Left Poised to Win in Upcoming Elections in El Salvador and Costa Rica”: The Tico Times has published an English-language article comparing the two upcoming elections in El Salvador and Costa Rica, both be held on February 2nd. In both countries, the left is poised to possibly win…
“Supreme Court Prohibits Public Functionaries From Campaigning”: This past Friday [January 24], the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court issued a resolution that prohibits public functionaries from participating in a current presidential campaign, regardless of whether they do so outside of work hours…
This article originally appeared in The Daily of UW: http://dailyuw.com/archive/2013/11/24/news/cispes-visits-uw-part-west-coast-tour#.Uqt_RfS1ySq
On Friday afternoon, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) visited the UW with Francisca Iraheta Romero as one of the final destinations of their “The Road to Victory” West Coast speaking tour.
With this tour and other efforts, CISPES is aiming to garner congressional support for a “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, demanding that the Department of State issue a statement of neutrality with regards to the 2014 El Salvador presidential elections.
“For every election in the past 20 years, the U.S. has come out on the side of the right-wing. We want the United States to have in writing that it will be neutral in the upcoming elections,” said Allen Hines, Seattle CISPES coordinator.
“We want to continue the progress we made since 2009,” said Romero, by way of Aisha Ashraf, a UW student and CISPES supporter serving as a translator.
Romero joined the CISPES tour to emphasize the importance of U.S. neutrality in the facilitation of fair and free elections in El Salvador. She is a member of the ANDES 21 de Junio, the oldest teacher’s union in El Salvador, and a public school principal to approximately 1,600 students, many of whom come from low-income families.
“The union has been fighting the privatization of the local schools,” Romero said. “The privatization of education is dangerous for the people because they would have to pay for it, and it couldn’t be accessed by so many people. Right now, it is a free program that is giving back so much to the community. People with such small incomes would not be able to pay for the education and careers for their children.”
ANDES 21 de Junio continues to improve the quality of education by ensuring that training of the educators is relevant and competent. Romero explained that the union works internationally with other groups to build different methods of teaching to better the education received by the kids.
“It is really important for these kids to have this right to education,” Romero said.
Ashraf added that the FMLN has pioneered several programs to combat neoliberalism and privatization in El Salvador, especially when it comes to education.
“[The FMLN] was able to run a national literacy program and got free shoes, free uniforms, free meals for the children, and that was sometimes the only meal they would get,” Ashraf said. “The FMLN has made possible so that Salvadorans don’t need to leave their home to gain funds; they don’t need to come to America to gain money. They can start programs there, including social programs.”
Romero’s plea to the students of the university was to learn more about the issues of her country and to stand in solidarity with Salvadorans, who want the freedom to vote in complete fairness.
“We need to be organized in the world to help each other,” Romero said.
Hines added that all students had the power to make a difference by a simple action.
“The way that people could help is by calling their representatives and asking them to sign onto the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter,” Hines explained.
“In the world, there are only two classes: the oppressors and the oppressed,” Romero concluded.
Reach reporter Christina Cho at email@example.com. Twitter: @CCchews
Editorial by Aisha Ashraf
After Mauricio Funes assumed office as the President of El Salvador in 2009, humanitarian reforms aimed at fighting poverty became a national focus. Unemployment programs and job training revitalized the local economy. Government funded programs were created to bring jobs, education and infrastructure to some of the most disadvantaged areas of El Salvador. Children across the country with new, locally made uniforms began attending schools where a curriculum combating illiteracy was implemented and free lunches were served. Public health care became a cost-free right for citizens. As the first President from Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN), these achievements are especially noteworthy in the history of El Salvador. In almost five years, the people of El Salvador have seen and participated in drastic improvements to the progress of their society. However, the future these humanitarian, successful, advances are at stake in the presidential elections of 2014.
Multinational corporations, as well as some countries have interests in the presidential elections of 2014. The United States has long dubbed the FMLN as a “Marxist-Leninist guerrilla terrorists” and tried to influence the fair, democratic voting process in order to prevent an FMLN victory. More recently, a mining company named Pacific Rim has made headlines as they conquest mineral-rich areas of El Salvador. President Funes and his party, as well as many citizens, are aware of the negative effects a large-scale, corporate mining project would bring to El Salvador. Not only would mining pollute water, but deforestation and air pollution would increase due the necessary techniques to mine diamonds, gold and other valuable minerals. So, a private multinational corporation would benefit, while El Salvador’s environment would be dangerously affected. Worrying about a degrading environment and catering to corporate interests could also deteriorate many of the FMLN’s successful social reforms. Pacific Rim’s mining profits would also bring business to countries like Canada, Australia and the United States, yet another reason the United States would be involved in the 2014 elections. It’s important that any and all foreign corporate or governmental influence stays out of the 2014 elections, and leaves El Salvador to perform their own democratic election process, so the voice of the people of El Salvador can be heard and answered.
Join CISPES in the Road to Victory for the 2014 presidential election in El Salvador. Francisca Iraheta Romero, president to one of the oldest teaching unions in El Salvador will just Seattle CISPES November 20, 21, and 22 sharing what is at stake, from a personal viewpoint in the 2014 presidential elections.
On Wednesday, November 20th, at 6:30 PM, Francisca will kick-off her Seattle-area tour at Las Palmas Restaurant in Sea-Tac. This dinner, hosted by the Salvadoran Committee, is a chance for Francisca to talk with Salvadoran organizers living in the United States about strategies for the election, as well as discuss the importance of the FMLN’s social reforms. You are warmly invited to participate in the discussion and meet Francisca! We hope to see you there.
Also, on Thursday, November 21st at 7 p.m. in the evening Francisca will be speaking at Seattle University’s Bannan building. This will be an engaging talk on the importance of government funding for education. Please join us for this exciting and relevant discussion.