ARENA presidential candidate attacks vendors and workers - TAKE ACTION NOW!

News

San Salvador Mayor and ARENA Presidential candidate Norman Quijano has launched a series of violent assaults on thousands of street vendors and trade unionists in an attempt to consolidate middle class support for his 2014 electoral bid and begin striking down his political opposition. On Friday night, Quijano ordered the violent eviction of 4,000 street vendors from the city center, bulldozing 970 stalls, stealing merchandise and inflicting thousands of dollars in damages. Quijano’s offensive continued this morning (Monday, 10/29) when police shut down the Casa Sindical (Union Hall), headquarters of the Salvadoran Union Front without a warrant, after false accusations against the group by the Mayor.

“We call on our compañeros and compañeras around the world to speak out against this attack!” –Sandra Henríquez, a vendor whose T-shirt, CD, and DVD stall was destroyed Friday night.

“We need people across the world to denounce Mayor Quijano’s thuggish attacks.” –Wilfredo Berríos, Secretary General of the Salvadoran Union Front.

Take ACTION against these attacks on San Salvador’s vendors and unions NOW!

1. Send an email to Mayor Quijano and send a copy to the Spanish Embassy (vendor evictions were financed with Spanish aid money).

2. If you speak Spanish, call the Mayor’s office at (011 - from the US) +503 2511 6000 to make your denouncement. Ask the operator to transfer you to the Despacho del Señor Alcalde. Sample phone script at bottom of page.

3. You can also send a message to Norman Quijano by writing on his Facebook page or publishing a Tweet @norman_quijano. Your Facebook post probably won’t be approved for publication, but we can flood his social media with our denouncements. Sample text for a Facebook post or Tweet at bottom of page.

Background:

A vendor is detained by municipal security agents.

Late Friday night, workers hired by the San Salvador municipal government swept into the city center with heavy machinery, accompanied by 1000 municipal security agents in riot gear. Several people were injured as 970 vendor stalls across 33 city blocks were decimated. Over 4,000 vendors have had their livelihoods ruined. Vendors estimate the losses from property theft and destruction in the once-lively marketplace of Hula Hula park alone to be $10,000.

Then, this Monday morning, with many downtown streets barricaded and piled high with rubble, police cordoned off the Casa Sindical, blocking unionists’ entrance to the space. Salvadoran Union Front leader Wilfredo Berrios reports that sources within the government have informed the unionists that Quijano and the leadership of his ARENA party falsely accused organizations of housing weapons in the Casa Sindical.

These violent and repressive measures come as ARENA's presidential pick, Quijano, prepares for his 2014 election bid to regain the executive post from the leftist FMLN party. These attacks demonstrate the extremes to which ARENA and Quijano are willing to go – 16 months before the February 2014 elections - to undercut the opposition and garner support from the conservative middle class at the expense of vulnerable sectors like street vendors.

Sample call script:

Buen día/Buenas tardes.

Me llamo "John Smith" y le llamo de los EEUU/Cánada/etc. Como miembro de la comunidad internacional quiero expresar mi indignación sobre las últimas acciones del gobierno del Señor Alcalde Norman Quijano.

Reitero las llamadas de las asociaciones de vendedores y del movimiento social salvadoreño y exijo que el Señor Alcalde inmediatamente BUSQUE UN ALTERNATIVA VIABLE PARA LOS MILES DE VENDEDORES Y VENDEDORAS DEL CENTRO CAPITALINO PARA GARANTIZAR SU DERECHO A EMPLEO Y UNA FUENTE DE INGRESO PARA SUS FAMILIAS A TRAVÉS DE UNA NEGOCIACIÓN CON LAS ASOCIACIONES DE VENDEDORES Y CON LA MEDIACIÓN DE UN TERCERO NEUTRAL.

También exijo que el Señor Alcalde RETIRE SU DENUNCIA CONTRA LAS ORGANIZACIONES QUE TRABAJAN EN LA CASA SINDICAL EN SAN SALVADOR Y DEJAR TODAS ACCIONES QUE BUSCAN REPRIMIR Y SUPRIMIR EL MOVIMIENTO SOCIAL SALVADOREÑO.

Estaré pendiente de la respuesta del Señor Alcalde frente las denuncias y la indignación internacional y informaré a los funcionarios de mi gobierno sobre las acciones de la Alcaldía Municipal de San Salvador. Gracias por su tiempo y pase buen día/buenas tardes.

 Sample Twitter statement:

EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS [u otro país o la ciudad donde vive] DENUNCIAMOS @norman_quijano POR VIOLENCIA Y REPRESIÓN CONTRA VENDEDORES/AS Y EL MOVIMIENTO SINDICAL.

Translation: In the United States [or other country or city where you live] we denounce @norman_quijano for violence and repression against vendors and the union movement.

Sample Facebook post to publish on Quijano’s wall:

EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS [u otro país o la ciudad donde vive] DENUNCIAMOS NORMAN QUIJANO POR VIOLENCIA Y REPRESIÓN CONTRA VENDEDORES/AS Y EL MOVIMIENTO SINDICAL. EXPRESAMOS NUESTRA INDIGNACIÓN FRENTE LOS DESALOJOS VIOLENTOS DE VENDEDORES Y POR DENUNCIAS FALSAS CONTRA LA CASA SINDICAL. EXIJIMOS QUE EL SEÑOR ALCALDE: 1) BUSQUE UN ALTERNATIVA VIABLE PARA LOS MILES DE VENDEDORES Y VENDEDORAS DEL CENTRO CAPITALINO PARA GARANTIZAR SU DERECHO A EMPLEO Y UNA FUENTE DE INGRESO PARA SUS FAMILIAS A TRAVÉS DE UNA NEGOCIACIÓN CON LAS ASOCIACIONES DE VENDEDORES Y CON LA MEDIACIÓN DE UN TERCERO NEUTRAL Y 2) RETIRE SU DENUNCIA CONTRA LAS ORGANIZACIONES QUE TRABAJAN EN LA CASA SINDICAL EN SAN SALVADOR Y DEJE TODAS ACCIONES QUE BUSCAN REPRIMIR Y SUPRIMIR EL MOVIMIENTO SOCIAL SALVADOREÑO.

Translation: In the United States [or other country or city where you live], we denounce Norman Quijano for violence and repression against vendors and the union movement. We express our indignation over the violent eviction of vendors and false denouncements against the Union Hall. We demand that the Mayor: 1) Find an viable alternative for the thousands of vendors in downtown San Salvador that guarantees their right to employment and a source of income for their families through a negotiation process with the Vendors Associations mediated by a neutral third party and 2) withdraw his denouncement against organizations that work in the Union Hall in San Salvador and halt all actions that attempt to repress and suppress the Salvadoran social movement.

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