Salvadoran Leaders, Human Rights Activists hold Press Confrence to Condemn Abuses in El Salvador

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Bay Area CISPES 3012 16th Street, #205 San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone (415) 503-0789 [email protected]
PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release Contact: Alexis Stoumbelis (415) 503-0789

SALVADORAN LEADERS, U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO CONDEMN ESCALATING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN
EL SALVADOR; DEATH THAT HAS RESULTED FROM ATTACKS

Thursday, November 29th at 11 am
Salvadoran Consulate (507 Polk Street, #280, at Golden Gate) in San Francisco

Police and military have invaded and occupied a small community in El Salvador called Cutumay Camones in the department of Santa Ana. A four-month long struggle by the community to prevent the illegal establishment of a waste treatment plant -- which would poison the community's water supply -- has been met with increasingly violent attacks by the Salvadoran military and National Civilian Police.

On November 22, government helicopters sprayed tear gas on peaceful demonstrators in Cutumay Camones, likely contributing to the death of a 14-year-old boy. The community, in their continuous resistance to the construction of a garbage dump, blocked the entrance of the construction site. Orlando Mena, Santa Ana's mayor, joined with Police Director Rodrigo Ávila in sending more than 300 riot police to "dissolve the protest", attacking the community with tear gas fired from surrounding helicopters.

Repression and violence against unarmed civilian populations have escalated at an alarming rate since the opening of the U.S.-sponsored ILEA (International Law Enforcement Academy) in El Salvador in 2005. The brutal attacks in Cutumay Camones follow similar attacks on Salvadoran citizens in various parts of the country, including Suchitoto, where mass arrests took place against people protesting water privatization.

The "Suchitoto 13" are still facing charges of "terrorism" for organizing a protest and blockading a road last July to stop the president's announcement of his national plan to sell off El Salvador's water.

Salvadoran President Antonio Saca is currently in Washington, DC. He will receive a medal of honor from the International Republican Institute for "promoting freedom and democracy" in Latin America. On Thursday, November 29th, he will meet with President Bush to discuss the recent initiative to enhance security cooperation with Central America, according to White House Spokesperson Dana Perino. With parallel popularity ratings of about 36%, the two presidents intend to showcase their new partnership in training fear, brutality, fraud, and impunity at a US-sponsored regional police-training academy in El Salvador (the ILEA).

Blanca Flor Bonilla, a deputy to the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador, will join activists from CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador for the press conference. Ms. Bonilla, member of the FMLN party and elected representative to the Legislative Assembly since 2000, will denounce the increasing repression of the social movement by the Salvadoran National Police under Sacas government.

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