Seattle CISPES is excited to share the news of an important victory in one of the campaigns that we’ve been involved with for many years — supporting anti-mining activists in El Salvador and fighting back against an unjust lawsuit. We’re using this occasion to ask for your support and we also want to give you an update about our current work.
Here’s what our former coordinator Cameron Herrington had to say about this week’s victory:
Seven years ago, when I worked for Seattle CISPES, we fought against a Canadian gold mining company called Pacific Rim that wanted to open a mine in El Salvador. Pacific Rim sued the government of El Salvador for $250 million under the rules of the Central American Free Trade Agreement after El Salvador denied the company a mining permit based on environmental and public health concerns.
This week, after seven years of opaque legal process in a secretive World Bank tribunal, the lawsuit was unanimously thrown out. Today I’m thinking of the heroic Salvadoran environmental justice activists who were murdered as a result of their outspoken opposition to gold mining: Juan Francisco Duran Ayala, Gustavo Marcelo Rivera Moreno, Ramiro Rivera Gomez, Dora Alicia Recinos Sorto. I’m also thinking of all my friends and compañer@s at CISPES — in Seattle and around the country — who worked to support the Salvadoran people’s struggle for sovereignty and a healthy environment.
Here’s a 2010 video from when Seattle CISPES activists went to protest outside of Pacific Rim’s headquarters in Vancouver, BC. At the time we were also working to support trade reform legislation that would have prevented foreign companies like Pacific Rim from suing governments that sought to protect their people from environmental and health disasters.
As we enter our 36th year as an organization, Seattle CISPES is now all volunteer-run but still going strong. In June we hosted a successful tour visit from Moisés Gómez, a leader of the Jesuit Migration Network El Salvador, and met with a number of our elected officials, including Congressman Adam Smith. Over the summer, five Seattle CISPES activists went to El Salvador to learn about the migrant crisis in Central America, and upon return they coordinated several events to raise awareness about border militarization. Most recently we sent two members to the border in Arizona to participate in a national mobilization. We’re also excited to continue working with and supporting local partners like the NW Detention Center Resistance as well as sponsoring events for the upcoming Caravan Against Repression in Mexico.
In order for Seattle CISPES to keep up the fight we need you to support this amazing solidarity work. Click on the donate button below:
or send a check to the address listed on our website.
We are also looking for new members and volunteers so feel free to reach out at email@example.com.
— The Seattle CISPES core team (Burke, Eddie, Helena, Jenny, Jed and Leigh)
PS: As a special treat here’s a picture of the spoof labels Seattle CISPES created for a number of anti-Pacific Rim actions we organized:
Dangerous Journeys: How US-Sponsored Border Militarization in Meso-America is Fueling a Human Rights Crisis
June 2, 2016 – 7 pm EST
For decades, the United States government has imposed economic and military policies in México and Central America that have resulted in mass displacement and family separation. Rather than change its policy, the US has a dangerous new plan: to stop migrants and asylum seekers from leaving their countries of origin, no matter the cost.
Join Seattle CISPES for a discussion on the root causes of forced migration and the impact of US-sponsored border militarization on the region. We will be joined by:
*Moisés Gómez, professor and researcher at the Central American University (UCA) and part of the Jesuit Migration Network El Salvador
*Maru Mora with NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC
*Wendy Pantoja with NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC
Come learn how Salvadoran and local groups are resisting detention, deportation, and militarization; and join the fight for the lives and rights of migrants!
(Please join us at the one-day encampment against the new youth jail in Seattle — Sunday March 6, @ 12thand Alder, in front of the current King County Juvenile Detention center, the site of the proposed new youth jail and courts.)
Seattle CISPES statement: Stop the Youth Jail – March, 2016
The Seattle Chapter of CISPES (the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), strongly supports the grassroots effort to stop a new youth jail in Seattle. Since 1980, CISPES has fought back against harmful United States interventions in El Salvador. Our opposition to the youth jail is rooted in CISPES’ history of opposition to U.S. militarization and state-sanctioned violence.
The Reagan Administration fueled militarization abroad in places like El Salvador, as well as at home through the rapid expansion of the prison industrial complex. Both of these efforts were done in the name of security and economic prosperity, creating a cultural narrative of fear, repression, and criminalization.
In the latest iteration, last December Congress appropriated funds to double military aid to Central America, promising to address the root causes of youth migration, such as gang violence. In the midst of chaos, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani recently paid a visit to San Salvador to pedal his zero tolerance policing strategies, which made him notorious for repressive policing against communities of color in New York City. In this current moment, we are bearing witness to the architects of the U.S. criminal punishment system exporting their practices to other parts of the world, in El Salvador they refer to this as “mano dura” initiative (iron fist) — where youth in particular are viciously targeted.
Seattle CISPES extends our solidarity to all fighting for decriminalization, decarceration, and demilitarization. Toward a world without prisons or borders!
2015 is a landmark year for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. We’re celebrating 35 years of anti-imperialist resistance!
At this inspiring moment of leftist leadership in El Salvador, come and learn about the progressive changes underway in recent years – from the expansion of community health services, to the strides towards food sovereignty under the Family Agriculture Plan.
Enjoy a typical Salvadoran dinner, raffle, and dancing! And meet the generations of CISPES supporters who have accompanied the ongoing struggle for social and economic justice in the Americas.
Please register to reserve your spot and purchase your ticket in advance!
Tickets can also be purchased at the door but advance tickets are strongly encouraged.
¡En el 2015 se celebran 35 años de solidaridad con el pueblo de El Salvador!
Esto requiere la fiesta más grande en muchos años – ¡y se le invita a usted a estar presente!
Estaremos reflexionando sobre estos últimos 35 años de lucha revolucionaria popular, tanto en El Salvador como en los Estados Unidos, y esperamos que usted comparta sus historias con nosotros. Si ha sido activo desde el 1980, si recién se ha involucrado con CISPES, o sea cual sea el tiempo de su asociación, ¡necesitamos de usted para hacer de esta celebración la más fabulosa jamás!
Celebración del aniversario de 35 años de CISPES
Fecha: Thursday, December 17 at 6:00 pm
Lugar: Southside Commons, 3518 S Edmunds St, Seattle, WA (Columbia City)
Favor de confirmar asistencia!*
*Será también posible comprar los boletos en la entrada, pero es recomendable comprarlos por adelantado
Nuestro trabajo de solidaridad popular sigue avanzando gracias a personas como usted. Es por eso que esperamos que usted pueda acompañarnos el 5 de diciembre para celebrar todo lo que hemos logrado en la lucha por la justicia, conectarse con amigos viejos y nuevos, y tomar impulso.
¡Que haya 35 años más de acompañamiento a la lucha revolucionaria por la justicia y la autodeterminación en El Salvador!
¡Que viva la solidaridad internacional! ¡Que viva CISPES!
P.D. Estamos contactando a todos los que han ayudado a CISPES y a nuestros compañeros en el movimiento social salvadoreño a través del año – ¡esperamos que nos ayuden a correr la voz entre amigos y aliados del movimiento de solidaridad con América Central y a los que puedan haberse perdido de vista!