jueves, julio 05, 2007


Should you wish to express your concern to the Salvadorean authorities, please send a fax to President Antonio Saca (011-503-2243-7857 or 011-503-2243-9930) and Minister of Security René Figueroa (011-503-2281-5959) with a copy to the Salvadorean Embassy in Ottawa (embajada@elsalvador-car.org, 613-238-6940).

This is yet another troubling example of the Salvadorean right-wing government's increasing disregard for the civil and political rights guaranteed by the 1993 Peace Accords. Of particularly worrying note in this latest incident are the use of the Armed Forces in the repression and the brutal threats by security forces to those "arrested" of being thrown out of a helicopter, harkening back to the state terrorism of the 1970s and 80s.



On Monday, July 2, the President of the Republic had programmed the launch of the National Policy of Decentralization and the inauguration of a water project, with the participation of local Mayors, Governors and the Diplomatic Corps, in the San Juan recreation centre, in Suchitoto; the same moment in which various social and community organizations planned to hold a day of peaceful protest motivated by two fundamental causes:

a) That very day was the first anniversay of the brutal political murder of Juanita Monjarás de Manzanares and Francisco Manzanares, which occurred in Suchitoto on July 2, 2006; a case which remains unsolved, and which the people of this locality and various organizations had commemorated on Saturday, June 30, with a memorial service and public festival.

b) The concept of decentralization which was going to be inaugurated, is without a doubt, the entry point for privatizations of water at a national level. Already on previous occasions, privatization projects have been disguised with other legal fronts, for which reason the people have lost confidence in government proposals.

This July 2, there was a large group of people in the central square of Suchitoto and other groups on the highway. At the turn for the new town, Guillermo Ungo, on the highway which leads to Suchitoto, the Maintenance of Order Unit (UMO) of the PNC [National Civil Police] launched tear-gas and rubber bullets at a group of people, who had to run for the woods in various groups. As if that were not enough, the UMO with the GRP [¿¿¿], besieged and pursued by land and by air, for more than 4 hours. The entire operation was accompanied with a strong military contingent which made use of tanks.

The families that live in the communities of the area were affected by the gas and had to evacuate children from schools for the same reason. This alone leads us to relive the worst moments of the “guindas” [repressive military sweeps] during the armed conflict, with the only difference that today, the repressors are agents of the PNC, an institution born out of the Peace Accords and not the fearful Armed Forces of the 1980’s.

At the same time a patrol car of the PNC, blocked a vehicle of CRIPDES [an NGO], at the entrance to the city, arresting at least four people who had not gotten out of the vehicle, for nothing more than heading out toward the demonstration.

Upon becoming aware of those arrests, the group of people that were in the square went to the entrance to Barrio de la Cruz to ask for the release of the detainees. Also intervening, at the request of the population, was the head of the local parish. The PNC said that it was going to negotiate and that it would issue a certificate to release the detained persons, but without notice members of UMO came in, making use of violence and mistreatment, attacking even the representative of the parish, and impeding the peaceful resolution of the incident.

Meanwhile, the President of the Republic, arrived at the San Juan recreation centre, and although the planned program did not take place, he made known his presence in that location, and except for the peaceful protest from an island in front and from some small boats, lead by women’s organizations, the official activity was not affected. The violent events took place at least 2 kilometres away, undoubtably as the result of the PNC’s provocation; the UMO went in to attack the participants in the peaceful protest and disproportionate force was used, without allowing for dialogue or mediation.

In the end, the result was more than 25 persons wounded by rubber bullets, 18 with serious affects from pepper gas; 14 persons detained and accused of public disorder and illicit association. The detained persons are: Marta Lorena Araujo Martínez, Facundo Dolores García, Manuel Antonio Rodríguez Escalante, Rosa María Centeno Valle, Héctor Antonio Ventura Vásquez, María Aydee Chicas Sorto, Sandra Isabel Guatemala, José Ever Fuentes, Patricio Valladares Aquino, Clemente Guevara Batres, Santos Noel Mancía Ramírez, Marta Yanira Méndez, Beatriz Eugenia Nuila y Vicente Vásquez.

Those detained were transported by helicopter to Cojutepeque, and en route, were subjected to psychological torture with threats of being thrown out from high altitude.

The detained were placed at the disposition of the judge in Cojutepeque, and held at first in Santa Cruz Analquito, both in the Department of Cuscatlán. They are currently being held in Cojutepeque, for a period of up to 72 hours, as permitted by law. On Thursday [July 5] a hearing will be held to determine if they are released or charged. The conditions in which they find themselves detained are sub-human: there is over-crowding, lack of hygiene, no privacy, not even for physical necessities; and further, the men are mixed with common prisoners. Men and women are not permitted to go to the washroom more than twice daily, at 5:00 in the morning and at 5:00 in the afternoon.

One of those detained is in very poor health, has been taken to hospital, and is vomiting blood as the result of blows received while being detained; another person has gas burns, and another has serious emotional problems. They can be visited, at the discretion of the PNC, for one hour per day.

Once again, as a year ago, the people find themselves in mourning clothes and indignant at the lack of justice in our country. A peaceful protest is repressed; a group of people legitimately exercising constitutional rights is repressed, and make known their discontent with the policies being implemented, but also with the lack of justice, and with the disinterest of public officials in seeking the truth in such serious cases as that of the Manzanares family, and with their insistence on continuing to contribute to the polarization of the country.

We reiterate our conviction that both the Anti-terrorist Law and the Organized Crime Law are unconstitutional.

For these reasons, WE DEMAND:

1. The immediate release of the detainees; respect for their physical and moral integrity, but what is more, assurances that constitutional process will be followed.

2. Respect for the Constitution and therefore, the citizens’ rights specified in it; the freedom of expression, assembly, movment and assocation, are inalienable rights of the human person and the social expressions which took place in Suchitoto were no more than the legitimate exercise of constitutional freedom.

3. That there be concrete expressions of respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, permitting without interference, the operation of the institutionality of the State. The FGR [Attorney General], the PNC and the Judiciary should submit themselves exclusively to the mandates of the Constitution and to constitutional laws.

4. Respect for the independence of the judiciary, which is a guarantee of access to justice for the population and the responsibility of those who should hand down justice. In that sense we demand from the Supreme Court of Justice that it act consistent with respect for the Judiciary and insistence on the separation of powers.

5. Responsibility of the social communications media to report with professionalism and ethics: it is your civil duty to communicate the truth of the facts, without intentional manipulation.

We urgently call upon the international community, the various public and private expressions of Salvadorean society and the people in general to demand and support:

1. The immediate release of the detained brothers and sisters.

2. An end to the police and media campaign of intimidation to which the population is subjected, with the criminalization of civil protest.

3. To the United Nationas and the Group of Friendly Countries for the Peace Accords, to verify the current state of respect for the Accords. The responsibility assumed by those entities in the entire process lived by our people, during and after the conflict, requires their inexcusable responsibility to seriously follow up the achievements of 1992.

4. To the United Nations, that it use its good offices to estabish an independent and impartial investigation of the events which are occurring in El Salvador; specifically those putting political stability and the construction of democracy at risk. It is very serious for the stability of the country, that legitimate and legal expressions of social discontent are being linked with criminal acts, for clearly electoral interests.

The undersigned organizations claim the right of the population to demonstrate publicly on the basis of the legitimate use of constitutional freedoms. Any restriction of the free exercise of those rights, should be interpretted as a serious violation of fundamental Human Rights and a reversal of the process of democratization which developed with the signing of the Peace Accords.

San Salvador, July 4, 2007

Acción por la Salud en El Salvador, APSAL.
Alianza Ciudadana contra la Privatización de la Salud.
Asociación para la Salud y el Servicio Social Intercomunal en El Salvador, APSIES.
Asociación de Capacitación e Investigación para la Salud Mental, ACISAM.
Asociación Coordinadora para el Desarrollo Comunal, CCM.
Asociación Coordinadora de Comunidades Unidas de Usulután, COMUS
Asociación de Capacitación e Investigación para la Salud Mental, ACISAM.
Asociación de Humanistas de El Salvador, AHES.
Asociación de Mujeres Rurales. AMR
Asociación Movimiento Salvadoreño de Mujeres, MSM.
Asociación de Promotores Comunales Salvadoreños, APROCSAL.
Asociación de Proyectos Comunales de El Salvador, PROCOMES.
Asociación Nuevo Amanecer de El Salvador, ENAES.
Asociación para la Autodeterminación de las Mujeres Salvadoreñas, AMS.
Asociación Para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Rural, ADEMUR.
Asociación PROBIDAD.
Asociación Probúsqueda de niños y niñas desaparecidos de El Salvador.
Asociación Salvadoreña de Ayuda Humanitaria, PRO-VIDA
Asociación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Local y la Democracia, FUNDASPAD.
Asociación Mujeres por la Dignidad y la Vida, LAS DIGNAS.
Asociación para el Desarrollo de El Salvador, CRIPDES.
Biblistas Populares, BIPO
Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Jurídicas de El Salvador, CEIJES.
Centro de Promoción de Derechos Humanos Madeleine Lagadec, CPDH.
Concertación Comunal de El Salvador, CODESAL.
Concertación de Comunidades de Oriente, CODECO.
Concertación de Mujeres.
Concertación Feminista Prudencia Ayala, CFPA.
Comité de Familiares de Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos
“Marianela García Villas”, CODEFAM.
Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador. CDHES.
Comité Nacional de Mujeres Cooperativistas en CONFRAS
Comité Nacional Monseñor Romero.
Comunidades Eclesiales de Base de El Salvador, CEBES
Comunidad de la Cripta de Catedral.
Coordinadora de Organizaciones para el Desarrollo Económico y Social, CODES.
Coordinadora Ecuménica de la Iglesia de los Pobres, CEIPES
Coordinadora Nacional de la Mujer Salvadoreña, CONAMUS.
Consejo Coordinador de Concertación Comunal, CCCC.
Corporación de Comunidades por la Paz y la Solidaridad, CORDECOM.
Espacio Ecuménico de Iglesias.
Equipo Maíz
Federación de Asociaciones y Sindicatos Independientes de El Salvador, FEASIES.
Federación Sindical de El Salvador, FESS
Frente Sindical Salvadoreño, FSS.
Foro para la Defensa de la Constitución. FDC
Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho, FESPAD.
Fundación Hermano Mercedes Ruiz, FUNDAHMER
Fundación Maquilishuat, FUMA.
Fundación Salvadoreña para la Reconstrucción y el Desarrollo, REDES.
Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Mujer y la Sociedad, FUNDEMUSA.
Fundación Salvadoreña para la Reconstrucción y el Desarrollo, REDES.
Fundación Segundo Montes.
Iglesia Bautista Enmanuel de El Salvador, IBE.
Iglesia Luterana.
Instituto de Estudios de la Mujer Norma Virginia Guirola de Herrera, CEMUJER.
Instituto de Investigación y Capacitación de la Mujer, IMU.
Llamado a la Acción Contra la Pobreza-ES
Mesa de Mujeres Campesinas.
Mesa Permanente Para La Gestión del Riesgos, MPGR.
Mesa Sindical de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de Maquila.
Movimiento Comunal Salvadoreño, MCS.
Movimiento de Mujeres Mélida Anaya Montes, MAN.
Movimiento Popular de Resistencia 12 de Octubre, MPR-12
Movimiento Unificado Francisco Sánchez, MUFRAS-32.
Organización de Trabajadoras del Sexo, OTS.
Sínodo Luterano.
Sindicato de Empresa de trabajadores de ANDA, SETA.
Sindicato de Trabajadores del INPEP, SITINPEP.
Tutela Legal del Arzobispado, TLA.
Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña, UNES.

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