CISPES May 1st Delegation Expresses Solidarity with the Salvadoran Social and Union Movement
Between April 23rd- May 4th the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) led a delegation to El Salvador to participate in the massive May Day march, in the days preceding delegates met with social movement activists, government officials, and U.S. embassy officials to learn more about the current political conjuncture, social movement demands and the impact of U.S. foreign policy on both. On May 3rd, 2017 CISPES held a press conference with Salvadoran media in the capital of San Salvador. Below is an English version of the press release.
We are part of a delegation organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, an organization from the United States, which has supported the Salvadoran people´s struggle for economic and social justice, and defense of sovereignty and self-determination. We have been in the country since April 23 in order to learn more about the struggles of the social and union movements in El Salvador, in the context of International Workers Day.
In our group there are educators, activists, unionists, lawyers, social workers and university students from the cities of Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC. The objectives of our visit were: to understand the actual social, political and economic context in the country, as well as the consequences of the policies of the United States government, especially regarding border militarization and mass deportations. Additionally, to learn first-hand about the projects implemented by the 1st and 2nd governments of the FMLN, as well as other programs that place the wellbeing of people at the center of public policies. Finally, to learn from the Salvadoran union movement about their strategies to organize and fight for social change in the face of attacks by the oligarchy in the country, transnational corporations and the parties and actors of the right- wing.
Throughout the delegation we have met with a number of groups within the social and popular movements and we have come away impressed by the advances, especially in the case of the minimum wage increase and the nationwide ban on metallic mining.
In the context of International Worker´s Day, CISPES reiterates our commitment to be in solidarity and support regarding the following issues:
1. We recognize and celebrate union leaders, who have sought to organize new workers in the private sector (such as maquilas) and in the informal economy. We would like to highlight our accompaniment of the feminist unionist organizations who struggle to defend the rights of domestic workers and we support their call for El Salvador to ratify ILO Convention 189 in order to defend the labor rights of domestic workers.
2. We express our solidarity and support for the feminist movements in their call to decriminalize abortion in four cases in order to protect and defend the lives of women and underage victims of rape.
3. We are also extremely concerned with the current fiscal crisis and we recognize that it is rooted in the privatization of pensions in 1998 and several other neoliberal policies implanted by the right during that time. CISPES expresses its support for the government´s and union movement´s call to reform the pension system and say no to the AFPs (Pension Fund Administration)!
4. As an organization dedicated to the defense of national sovereignty, peace and democracy, we express our dissatisfaction with the embassy of the United States for its backing of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of El Salvador in its attacks against the institutionalism of the Salvadoran Constitution, the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). We recognize that its action severely damage the electoral democracy, one of the most important advances of the 1992 Peace Accords.
5. Finally we would like to express our extreme concern around the policies of the United States, our government, in El Salvador and also in the United States. On May 2nd we met with representatives of the embassy of the United States in order to express our concerns. On some issues they listened, on others they had a dismissive attitude. For example, we are concerned with the fact that the United States continues involving itself in sovereign political affairs and continues using international aid for political purposes. We see this in the recent formation of a Youth Council created by the US embassy, in the conditioning of funding for the Alliance for Prosperity and the Millennium Challenge Grant in order to pressure El Salvador around the expulsion of Venezuela from the OAS.
6. Finally, we oppose the anti-immigrant policies of the government of the United States such as border militarization and massive deportations. We express our solidarity with immigrants, refugees and returned migrants, and we commit ourselves to oppose the policies of mass deportations that the government of Donald Trump has promised.