El Salvador: FMLN's Jorge Schafik Handal Vega discusses the 2009 election

May 24, 2008 -- Jorge Schafik Handal Vega --son of the legendary FMLN founder ``Comandante Simon''' Jorge Schafik Handal -- joined the militant left in El Salvador in 1968 as a student. He was a combatant commander throughout the people’s war in the 1970s and 1980s and, following the 1991 peace accords, was integral to the successful transition of the FMLN’s combatant structures into the political and civil institutions of El Salvador. He is currently a deputy for the FMLN in the Central American Parliament.

Handal Vega is toured Australia in May 2008 to build solidarity with the FMLN’s 2009 election campaign, a message that was enthusiastically received. All recent opinion polls in El Salvador indicate that the FMLN will win both the mayoral and presidential elections next year, wresting the last Central American country to be governed by the extreme right wing out of its control. Desperate to prevent this, the US-backed ruling Arena party has launched a massive campaign of bribery and intimidation, which is accompanied by a growing number of brutal attacks on, and murders of, FMLN leaders and activists.

The FMLN is expecting Arena to also use fraud to try to win the elections, and is urging Australian activists to travel to El Salvador in December-January to act as international observers of the election.

The following meeting was recorded in Brisbane, by Latin Radical.

Click here to open page in a new window so you can continue exploring Links while you listen.

Part one -- 14.3Mb. 64 kbps 31:23mins

Original audio source

Part two -- 23.5Mb. 64kbps mono 25:36 mins

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Mon, 05/26/2008 - 17:26


El Salvador: Stop political killings

23 May 2008

Below is an abridged sign-on statement initiated by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, http://cispes.org. To add you organisation, please email sistercities@gmail.com The context for the violence is the increasing likelihood of a victory in the elections for early next year of the left-wing Farabundo Marti Liberation Front.

We denounce the assassination of Hector Antonio Ventura, committed on May 2, in the community of Valle Verde, Suchitoto in Cuscatlan department. According to preliminary information, Ventura was stabbed to death in the heart and received blows to the head from assailants who entered the house where Ventura was staying with a friend. The second young man was also attacked but survived.

Ventura was one of 14 people who were prosecuted by the Salvadoran government for “acts of terrorism” after participating in a peaceful protest against water privatisation in Suchitoto on July 2, 2007. Their case caused tremendous national and international outcry against the grave misuse of anti-terror statutes against legitimate political expression.

Ventura’s murder was committed just weeks after all 14 of the prosecuted were granted definitive liberty. The court decision proved false the accusations that the government made against the group of activists throughout the ten months prior.

The murder was also committed just two days after Ventura had agreed to give testimony of his experience at a public “Day Against Impunity” event planned for July 2 by the mayor of Suchitoto. Although we still await a full investigation of the crime — one that investigates not only the assailants but also the intellectual authors of the crime — these circumstances, including the fact that Ventura was a young social activist, and particularly the fact that he was a recently released political prisoner, create grave concerns that his assassination was committed for political reasons, with the intention of destabilising and intimidating members of the political opposition.

As members of the international community concerned with human rights in El Salvador, we join the Salvadoran social organisations in denouncing this atrocity, and express our profound anxiety regarding several other murders of social activists and opposition political leaders in the last two years.

The Salvadoran Archbishop’s Legal Defence Office investigated 26 homicides in 2006 that suggested the participation of death squads reminiscent of the Salvadoran civil war.

In the 2007 report of the Archbishop’s Legal Defense Office, 113 of 169 investigated violent deaths were extrajudicial executions: executions committed by organised crime structures reminiscent of civil war-era death squads, met with tolerance or participation by the state, and committed with the intent of generating terror in the population, social cleansing, or elimination of political opposition members.

We call upon our own, international governments to urge the Salvadoran authorities to thoroughly investigate these cases; and urge the office of the Salvadoran ombudsperson for Human Rights to ensure provision of protection and safety for witnesses in these trials, as well as to opposition members who receive politically motivated threats.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #752 28 May 2008.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Tue, 06/03/2008 - 15:19


El Salvador - who watches the 'watchers'? Lara Pullin on electoral shenanigans

June 2, 2008 -- Lara Pullin with the latest update on the situation in El Salvador where the governing ARENA coalition has scrapped the agreements on electoral reform with the Organisation of American States. With even the most conservative polls giving the FMLN opposition party a commanding 20 point lead, the right wing ARENA party is resorting to increasingly desperate tactics in a bid to steal next year's elections - even threatening to expel independent observers who will be arriving there to observe the elections, including a number of Australians.

6.3 Mb 128kbps mono 6:52minutes