El Salvador

Below is an abridged April 30 Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) article. Visit http://cispes.org.

In what country does protesting against water privatisation — or better put, protesting against the removal of your only source of water — lead to the police killings of a protesting child, arrests and bashings of protesters and a threatened 60 year jail sentence under the “anti-terrorism” legislation?

This appeal was issued on July 30 by Public Services International (PSI) following the assassination of Miguel Angel Vasquez Argueta, finance secretary for PSI’s affiliate STSEL in the electricity sector. PSI is calling for a full and independent investigation into the matter.

As right-wing death squads reassert their presence and gangs and organised crime with links to the highest levels of government operate freely, campesinos (peasants) and organised youth are being persecuted and beaten in the streets. On February 27, while holding a peaceful and legal protest against the regional free trade agreement CAFTA and the government’s crackdown on civil liberties, 27 young activists were detained, charged with civil disobedience and brutally beaten by the civil police. Meanwhile the Popular Youth Bloc is awaiting information on the fate of Edwar Contreras Bonifacio, who was forcibly disappeared when he left college on February 7. An international solidarity campaign is underway and people are urged to write to the nearest Salvadoran consulate or embassy demanding his safe return, as well as the release of the 27 arrested youth. The youth and popular organisations are responding to this campaign of state-sponsored intimidation with the call to “Answer more repression with more struggle!”

El Salvadoran President Antonio Saca’s right-wing government has proclaimed 2007 the “year of peace”, inaugurating this move with an attempt to nominate the late Roberto D’Aubuisson, founder of Saca’s ARENA party, with the highest human rights award in the country.

On January 22, El Salvador’s main opposition party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), held commemorative activities for the 75th anniversary of the 1932 Nahua-Pipil indigenous peasant revolt led by indigenous leader Jose Feliciano Ama and Agustin Farabundo Martí Rodríguez , leader of the newly formed Communist Party (PCS).

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