Highlights from the El Salvador 2014 Elections Blog: the First Round

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.

ballot count“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…

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CISPES speaking tour featured in UW Daily

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

Francisca Iraheta Romero Francisca Iraheta Romero, public school principal and member of the oldest teachers union in El Salvador, discusses the importance of U.S. neutrality in fair and free elections around the nation.

Photo by Peter Brennan | Courtesy Photo 

November 24, 2013 at 8:51 PM | Christina Cho

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.

 The letter claims that in the 2009 election, the people of El Salvador voted “without fear of reprisal” and elected the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) because the United States ensured its cooperation with any party that the Salvadorans decided to elect.

“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 news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @CCchews

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Corporate Stakes in 2014 Election


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.

river1Multinational 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.fancisca-

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.


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Pledge With CISPES to Defend Against U.S. Intervention in El Salvador’s 2014 Elections


The Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador is gearing up for another crucial moment in history that determines whether a trend of equitable economies or U.S. imperialism prevails!
El Salvador’s elections are again being influenced by U.S. and corporate interests. We mobilized against U.S. intervention before successfully – in 2009 the State Department caved in to our calls for fairness – and we need to make sure the Salvadoran pueblo succeed again in 2014!

On September 14th and 15th, Seattle CISPES launched its local campaign for elections free of US intervention in 2014. Along with Portland CISPES, members developed skills and confidence in meeting with elected representatives and taking our work to the street at the Broadway Farmer’s market and at Fiestas Patrias events at the Seattle Center.

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With the ultimate goal of getting the State Department to issue a neutrality statement concerning the 2014 Salvadoran election, we will build grassroots pressure to demand that our Congressional representatives – and, through them, decision makers at the State Department – support democracy and butt out of El Salvador’s political process.

Five years ago we made it happen. In 2009, the State Department committed to “work with whomever the Salvadoran people elect” and to respect the results of El Salvador’s democratic process. This public declaration was instrumental in ensuring that Salvadorans could elect their own leaders without fear of reprisal from the US government.

Now is the time for a repeat to our success in 2009. Sign the pledge to defend El Salvador’s sovereignty in the 2014 elections here:

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME TO:

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I can help with  mailings events translation financial support



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Campaign for Free and Fair Elections Launch September 13-15th!

Join Seattle CISPES for a Weekend of Campaign Launch Activities!

September 13-15th   –  Horace Mann Building, Seattle University, and Broadway Farmer’s Market

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Seattle Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador is gearing up for another crucial moment in history that determines whether a trend of equitable economies or U.S. imperialism prevails!

El Salvador’s elections are again being influenced by U.S. and corporate interests. We mobilized against U.S. intervention before successfully – in 2009 the State Department caved in to our calls for fairness – and we need to make sure the Salvadoran pueblo succeed again in 2014!

Before you join us on the elections monitoring delegation in January (read more about that delegation here), we would like to invite you to our local Campaign Launch events on Friday September 13th, Saturday September 14th and Sunday the 15th.

On Saturday the 14th, we’ll have a day of food and workshops on topics like congressional lobbying and Salvadoran political movements and then on Sunday, we’ll march to the Broadway Farmer’s Market. A more detailed working itinerary is below! To RSVP to one or all of the weekend’s events (so we can feed you), email seattle@cispes.org or call the office at (206) 325-5494.

 

Friday Sept 13 – 

4-6pm Rice, Beans, and Zines People’s Library Tabling at UW and/or Horace Mann Building (23rd and Cherry) – – we’ll discuss why the U.S. doesn’t want an alternative of literacy, healthcare, education, and nourishment for all to flourish and spread. Call (509) 680-4212 if you want to join because location TBA.

Saturday Sept 14 – All Day workshops 9am-7:30pm at Seattle University – Loyola 203

9:30-10:15 Breakfast

10:15-10:45 Introductions  – Connecting our Struggles

10:45-12:15 – Coyuntura and History – Eddie and David?

12:15-1 Lunch, video, local caucus breakouts

1 – 2:30 Power-Mapping – who are our allies, friends, targets

2:30-4 Planning campaign activities and Congressional Lobbying

4-5:30 Framing the issue, developing rap

5:30-6:30 Dinner, continued campaign planning, music

6:30-7:30 Artsy Activism and Guerilla Theater workshop

Sunday Sept 15 – at Seattle University – Loyola 203

10-11:30 Breakfast and guests from Veolia Working Group’s Workshop: the Anti-privatization Movement and How to Collaborate as a Coalition

11:30-12 Elevator Speech Review

12-1 March to Farmer’s Market Broadway E and Pine E

1-3 Join Fiestas Patrias events at Seattle Center

Again, please RSVP to the activities by emailing seattle@cispes.org and/or calling Kaeley at (509) 680-4212 or the office at (206) 325-5494. Look forward to seeing you soon!

 

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Keep the US Out of El Salvador’s Elections!

Let El Salvador Decide        by Sean Gaston, Seattle CISPES volunteer.


El Salvador has come a long way in the years since the civil war, with an FMLN candidate having won the presidency in 2009.  This was, of course, a resounding victory for the FMLN party, but it was also a victory for the people of El Salvador.  During the civil war, the FMLN represented the will of the common people, united for the cause of removing the government that was in power at the time.  The United States was on the side of the conservative powers, though, assisting in restoration of an oppressive force into power, as this would be beneficial to American interest.  Nonetheless, the people were successful.  CISPES members across the US flooded the State Department with calls, letters, and emails demanding that the US hold a position of neutrality in the elections.  For the first time ever, the US issued a statement of neutrality.  And now, there is talk about the US trying to influence the outcome of the Salvadoran elections in 2014, by funneling monetary contributions to ARENA candidate, Norman Quijano’s, campaign.  So for the upcoming elections, we are again demanding that the US commit to neutrality.

The United States typically will fund the campaigns of candidates that support the interests of the United States, and encourage a government that benefits corporate interest and a spread of capitalism.  This is the essence of neocolonialism, though, and ensures that, by way of constrictive trade agreements and the spread of multinational corporations, the United States will have some say in the governing of other countries.  It is through this sort of involvement that the US also begins to have a large cultural influence on other countries, with an influx of products and American ideology alongside them.  In short, it’s more than buying a candidate; it’s buying insurance of economic and cultural control of El Salvador.

So there is a lot at stake in the 2014 presidential elections.  What we at CISPES would like to see is El Salvador having an election that expresses the will of the citizens of El Salvador.  Without the US influence in the elections, there is hope of fairly balanced coverage of the campaigns of all of the candidates, so the citizens can choose the one they feel best represents their desires, and not have the media flooded with propaganda funded by the United States.  What we want is for all of the candidates to be on equal footing, which means that their visibility should come from the Salvadoran supporters.  The US limiting visibility of other candidates, in favour of any one candidate, would shake the balance of the election, making the results say more about the desires of the US than the desires of El Salvador.

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