Report by Delegation to El Salvador Challenges US Gov. Role in Human Rights Abuses and Intervention
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Contact: Burke Stansbury 202-521-2510 ext. 205 or [email protected]
A recently returned delegation to El Salvador has published a report on human rights abuses, the potential for fraud and intervention in the 2009 Salvadoran elections, and the role that the US governmenthas played in the cited injustices. The delegation was organized bythe Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) andwas made up of 17 US citizens and residents.. The introduction to the report explains its intended purpose of offer[ing] elected officials, the media, and concerned citizens a description of the deterioration of human rights in El Salvador[and] the potential impediments to true democracy faced by the Salvadoran people as they approach a crucial election period in their country.
Callie Arnold, a delegate from Seattle, stated We feel that US citizens and residents should be aware of and concerned by the injustices carried out in El Salvador particularly the many that our government has a hand in and we hope this report will get people talking, increase media coverage, and encourage elected officials to take action. The Human Rights section of the report cites evidence that the existence of the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) a police training institution in San Salvador that is funded and administered by the US has coincided with an increase in repression, including arrest and torture of citizens involved in peaceful protests.
The section of the report entitled 2009 Elections and the Electoral Process further calls into question the role of the US government in the Central American country. It cites instances leading up to the 2004 presidential elections in El Salvador in which the US interfered with the ability of Salvadorans to choose their preferred candidate. It goes on to discuss similar patterns of US political involvement in the period leading up to the 2009 elections.
Andrew Kafel, a delegate from New York, says, The current state of the economy in El Salvador is dire. The Central American Free Trade Agreement has devastated the country and the 2009 elections offer Salvadorans an opportunity to bring about democratic change that will better the state of their country. This is why it is so important that they be allowed to freely choose their next government. On January 18, 2009, El Salvador will hold municipal and legislative elections; on March 15 presidential elections will take place. The leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) holds a significant lead in presidential polls over the ruling right-wing Republican National Alliance (ARENA). Kafel went on, It is clear the people of El Salvador want change and we believe it is of utmost importance that the US stay out of their elections and allow for self-determination.
The report also describes a meeting with US Ambassador to El Salvador Charles Glazer as a highly rhetorical and hostile propaganda exercise with the delegates. Rosa Lozano, a delegate from Washington D.C., stated, The Ambassadors behavior and demeanor was troubling, but it was especially surprising that when directly asked about US involvement in the 2004 elections, he admitted that the US had intervened. That is why it is so important that this report be published and for US citizens and residents to pressure our government not to repeat this intervention in 2009.