CISPES Declares its Solidarity with the Salvadoran Political Prisoners

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We, the Committee in Solidarity withthe People of El Salvador (CISPES) publicly express our extreme concernregarding the detainment of the 13 political prisoners who were captured onJuly 2, 2007, in Suchitoto, and our solidarity with these prisoners and all ofthe compañeros and compañeras working for social justice in El Salvador. Thepolitical prisoners are community leaders and CRIPDES members, Marta LorenaAraujo Martinez, Manuel Antonio Rodriguez, Rosa Maria Centeno, Hector Ventura,Maria Aydee Chicas, Sandra Guatemala, Jose Ever Fuentes, Patricio Valladares,Clemente Guevara, Santos Noel Macia, Marta Yanira Mendez, Beatriz Eugenia Nuilaand Vicente Vasquez. 

We have learned that onJuly 2, 2007, 14 people peacefully protesting the privatization of water werebrutally and unjustly captured by the Salvadoran National Civilian Police, andtheir riot-squad unit. We are distressed that the protesters right to peacefulassembly and organization was so flagrantly denied, and that their demands wereviolently silenced. We are outraged that 13 prisoners are beingpreventatively imprisoned for a period of three months on charges ofterrorism. We support their rejection of the privatization of water in El Salvador,and especially their right to organize and express these beliefs. We arealarmed that President Saca is using a newly created, so-calledanti-terrorism law to equate peaceful assembly and opposition to governmentpolicies with terrorism, and that dissenting voices in El Salvador arebeing subjectively silenced and imprisoned.

We are reminded of the events of May12, 2007, when 25 persons were arrested in relation to their involvement in aprotest against a law sponsored by the right-wing that effectively equatestheir defending their means of livelihoodthe informal sale of goodswithterrorism. As four of those arrested are vendors affiliated with a nationalvendors organization we see these arrests as being politically motivated. Thisalarming trend pursued by President Saca and his government is clearlycontinuing with the 13 political arrests in Suchitoto.

Regrettably, the U.S. governmentis supporting and aggressively encouraging the anti-terrorism andanti-organized crime laws, which effectively serve as government instrumentsof repression. As such, we are actively working within our own country todisseminate this information and expose the tyranny of President Saca and theSalvadoran government. We will also work with the Salvadoran population in the United States to oppose the injustice that hastranspired in El Salvador.In collaboration with other organizations in the UnitedStates, we are currently educating members of ourCongress about the state-sponsored repression of movement organizing in El Salvador, asevidenced by the Suchitoto arrests and the targeting of street vendors withterrorism charges on May 12, 2007. We plan to take our message to theSalvadoran consulates in the United Statesand to demand the release of all political prisoners in El Salvador,and an immediate dismissal of the terrorism and organized crime charges.

In the meantime, we are closelymonitoring all details of the Suchitoto case and are calling for respect for thephysical integrity of all political prisoners. We will continue organizing insolidarity with the political prisoners and the social movement in El Salvador until there is justice in thismatter, and until the U.S.and Salvadoran governments realize they will not stop organized resistance withimprisonment and repression.

Free the political prisoners! Stopthe repression!

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