TAKE ACTION: Tell the State Dept. to respect El Salvador's sovereignty
SPEAK UP FOR EL SALVADOR'S SOVEREIGNTY
On May 1st, when El Salvador’s social movement took to the streets for International Workers Day, their demands went beyond respect for labor rights and dignified working conditions, progressive taxation and the expansion of popular social programs to guarantee education and health care for all.
They had a message for US Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte, too: stop intervening in El Salvador’s sovereign political decisions. Will you call the State Department today to echo their demand?
Background: In April, Ambassador Aponte seized newspaper headlines for weeks after publicly chastising the FMLN for their support of the Venezuelan people, having gathered thousands of signatures in opposition to the recent US sanctions. The government of El Salvador also spoke out about the US sanctions against Venezuela, as did along with nearly every other government in Latin America, urging the US to “observe the fundamental principle of peoples' self-determination and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States.”
The FMLN’s punishment for speaking out? Jeopardizing US aid.
Ambassador Aponte told the media that the FMLN and the government’s “messages” make it “much harder” to get increased security and development aid to El Salvador approved in Congress.
Aponte's statements are the latest in a trend of the State Department’s using US development aid as the carrot and stick to influence Salvadoran domestic decisions about everything from government seed purchasing contracts to privatizing public services.
Now, the US is attempting to infringe upon El Salvador’s right to establish their own diplomatic relationships or, for that matter, to criticize the actions of the US government, leveraging the mere promise of increased aid to do so.
The union members, campesinos/as, environmentalists, students, youth and FMLN militants who spoke out on May 1st need us to echo their demands and take action to hold our own government accountable for its actions.
1) A phone call to the State Department is a powerful action you can take today. Call Martha Pacheco at the State Department’s El Salvador desk today at 202-647-4161 to register your concern. You can use the sample script below. When you finish your call, send an email to [email protected] to let us know how it went.
2) Send an email to Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere to say stop bullying El Salvador!
Hi. My name is _____ and I am extremely troubled by statements made by the US Ambassador to El Salvador that the FMLN's opposition to US sanctions against Venezuela would jeopardize US security and development aid. Such comments are a clear violation of El Salvador’s sovereignty.
Choose a couple talking points:
- It is completely inappropriate for US aid to be conditioned on whether or not another country gets in line with the US’ diplomatic positions. The United States shouldn’t use its influence to silence regional opposition to its policies.
- El Salvador's social movement organizations view Aponte's statements as interventionist and inappropriate. They support their government's position on US-Venezuela relations and see the Ambassador's statements as a violation of their national sovereignty.
- Opposition to the sanctions is a unified position throughout Latin America, from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). At a time when the US has become more and more isolated in the hemisphere because of its insistence on interfering in other countries' internal affairs, our government should be working towards relationships of mutual respect and respect for self-determination with the countries of the region.
I call on the State Department to ensure that Ambassador Aponte stops leveraging international aid to silence opposition to US policy in the region. Furthermore, I stand with the people of El Salvador and their government in calling for the US government to reverse its sanctions against the democratically-elected government of Venezuela.