"Cross-Border Movement Mobilizes to Block CAFTA Vote"
E L SALVAD O R Mano Dura continued from page 1 Wa t c h cause of the these groups.” large numbers of supposed gang members The plan, of course, is doing just the oppo- while leaving open the potential for arrest- site of what the Ombudswoman suggests as ing anyone else inconvenient to the authori- legitimate anti-crime policies. One of the ties. The definitions for crimes like “dam- results of the Super Mano Dura round-ups ages” and “public disorders” are so open to is increasing pressure on already overfilled interpretation that a protestor spray-paint- gerous prisons, creating dan conditions for ing a wall during a march (a common prac- inmates. In mid-August prisoners in El Number 107 Fall 2004 tice in El Salvador) or causing “disorders” in Salvador’s infamous high-security prison got any organized way could be tried and sen- into a bloody fight, causing the death of 31 tenced to prison time under Super Mano Produced by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) inmates and injuring even more. While Dura. According to official numbers, police prison guards and national leaders tried to arrested 641 supposed gang members in the first 10 days of the plan. However, the first blame the fight on gang wars, the autopsies and testimonies showed that the fight was Cross-Border Movement Mobilizes to cases were thrown out of courts just 3 days over drug trafficking turf. Further-more, GUADALUPE GOES TO WASHINGTON: Guadalupe Erazo spoke to members of after the arrests because of lack of evidence. Walter Durán, one of the FMLN official numbers show that the prison, meant to hold 800 inmates, had 3,194 pris- Block CAFTA Vote The CISPES anti- CAFTA contingent Deputies who participated in the commit- n early August, the Dominican Republic I Congress during her June CISPES tour oners at the time of the riot. Two weeks joined half a million tee to revise the anti-gang legislation after the first riot, inmates in a second high- signed on to the Central American Free Trade people to protest the n June 2004, during the aftermath of explains the problem. “We as the FMLN security prison also rioted demanding some Agreement, prompting the name of the deal to Republican National I the Salvadoran presidential elections, CISPES sponsored a tour with Guadalupe Erazo, Agricultural pointed out from the beginning that the committee was missing the point. While Flores and now Saca want to blame the legislative branch for the crime and gang prisoners be removed from the facility. The only hint of possibly addressing this prob- lem of increasing prison overfilling with the Super Mano Dura was when the National be changed to the DR-CAFTA. The tragedy and injustice of the proposed agreement, however, remains the same, as does the determined move- Convention in NYC Representative for the Popular Social Bloc problems, demanding tougher laws, what Business Association said that it would be ment against it. And despite an all out push by for Real Democracy (BPS) and the country really needs is social spending willing to “help” if prisons were privatized. corporate lobbyists and Republicans in Congress, Chalatenango coordinator of the National that focuses on crime prevention.” Durán Durán likens Saca’s emphasis on repres- Association of Agricultural Workers explains that since this kind of investment the anti-CAFTA movement has garnered enough sion as a solution to El Salvador’s crime (ANTA).with 25 years of experience within is contradictory to ARENA’s neoliberal problem with a doctor giving an aspirin to opposition to make a vote on the agreement the Salvadoran social movement under her politics that focus only on reducing state a gravely ill patient. While the pain may before the November presidential elections belt, Guadalupe gave her insight on the spending, and since prevention is more go away slightly, the infection will contin- impossible. past and current U.S. involvement in expensive in the short term than repres- ue to grow until the root cause of the prob- Faced with growing hostility to the agreement, electoral defeat.) With partisan politics less of an Salvadoran politics and how this affects the sion, Saca’s plan does nothing to address lem is addressed. Thus, the FMLN is CAFTA promoters have turned to a crooked, old issue during the immediate post-elections period, lives of Salvadorans. In the 8 cities that the root of the problem. Instead, the only working to promote the prevention and strategy for passing unpopular legislation: the lame the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Guadalupe visited this summer, she: met real money the state has invested in this reinsertion components of criminal policy. duck vote. Republicans have thus far been unable to hopes to sneak CAFTA through. with Congressional Representatives about new plan is to pay for the intense propa- The party is bringing together a committee present certain important legislation in Congress, Promoters of the DR-CAFTA had hoped that CAFTA (including a briefing in Washington ganda around the launching of the plan. of non-governmental organizations to including many appropriations bills upon which the the addition of the Dominican Republic would DC with over 40 congressional aides); Beatrice de Castillo, Human Rights work with and pressure governmental continuity of the federal government depends, mak- reverse the growing tide of opposition, but instead it shared grassroots organizing strategies Ombudswoman, sees similar problems with institutions to go beyond repression and ing a lame duck session of Congress following the has lead to resistance by both agricultural interests with organizations led by people of color the plan. “The eradication of gangs will publicity. The work that needs to happen November presidential elections a near certainty. in the DR and Dominican civic groups in the US. and low- and no-income workers; met with happen only by addressing the lack of for many of the young people in prisons (Such a session is called lame duck because certain Dominican organizations in the US have joined a organized labor leaders and spoke with opportunities that our youth face, which now is not even “reinsertion,” Durán members of Congress, and possibly the President, chorus of Latino and immigrants rights groups in rank-and-file union workers; and motivat- means, among other things, aggressive points out. These young people come will leave office before January due to retirement or publicly stating opposition — continued on page 3 ed local CISPES activists at every stop to social policies in education, social security, from such abandoned places in society – continue building our organization. and work for those least benefited in our without education, job skills, access to cul- Cafta continued from page 3 revise the DR-CAFTA to include stronger society… We believe that the battle against poverty is the best solution to gangs; howev- er, in the Plan Super Mano Dura we don’t ture, etc. – that crime prevention policy needs to work to “insert” them for the first “Super Mano Dura” Plan,” amidst tough-talk and fanfare. The next day, the media showed Cops-like images of heavily armed police and soldiers arresting young men, time into productive society. labor and environmental clauses would not at all be acceptable to those resisting see, for example, measures that would revise the national budget to reorient public These kinds of politics imply challenging structural problems of poverty and mar- Fails to Address Basic stripping them of their shirts, and parading their tattooed chests before the cameras. This spectacle, the agreement and all related neoliberal policies in the Americas. The Stop CAFTA spending toward social policies or politics that would decrease poverty, the main ginalization, solutions that a “Iron Fist” will never begin to tackle. Causes of Crime like the previous one inaugurated a year ago by Saca’s predecessor, does nothing to reduce crime. Instead, the Plan serves only as a media spectacle of Coalition, which has our party is over!” claimed President Tony Saca ARENA tough-on-crime campaigning and to further Y committees will be Produced by CISPES been organizing inviting U.S. commu- a national organization in a press conference on Monday, August 30th. fill El Salvador’s jails. against CAFTA since nities to make their with chapters around the US. Supposedly threatening El Salvador’s approxi- This newest tough-on-crime show is the icing on negotiations were voices heard at local the cake for ARENA’s continuing repressive politics, mately 25,000 gang members, Saca announced his announced in early speak-outs. National Office: particularly aimed at El Salvador’s most marginal- 2002, has prepared For now, it is 130 W. 29th Street, 9th floor revised Plan Super Mano Dura, or “Super Iron Fist ized young people. Soon after Saca took office he an organizational essential that we get New York, NY 10001 established a new police corps called the (212)465-8115 Rural Police, disregarding the peace sign-on letter that on-the-record www.cispes.org states, “the agree- public commitments accords establishment that the National ment is based on a to vote against Distributed locally by: Civilian Police (PNC) should be the only fundamentally COMMUNITY SPEAK OUT: What does your CAFTA by a majority police force in the country. Shortly there- flawed model, and community think about CAFTA? Contact of Congressional after, ARENA began pushing again should be rejected your local committee to find out ! Representatives for an “anti-terrorism law,” one that outright.” The letter before the November would loosely define “treason to the home- will be presented at a press conference in elections. Time is short: September and Salvadoran Police land ” making it punishable with 20 to 30 conjunction with the October actions in October are crucial months to organize years in prison. Like other repressive leg- Sources this month include: parade a suspected gang Central America (to see the letter and sign events and actions in your community to islations, the broad strokes used to CISPES El Salvador Office, La Prensa Grafica, member in front of on, go to http://www.cispes.org/english/ galvanize the opposition to the DR- CoLatino, El Diario de Hoy, STOP CAFTA describe the crime leave it 0pen to inter- Campaign_Against_CAFTA_FTAA/ CAFTA and prevent the Republicans’ reporters to demonstrate pretation and abuse. Coalition, Boston CISPES anti-CAFTA.html ). Also in October, local dirty tricks from bearing fruit. Saca's 'Iron Fist' policy Now, with the Super Mano Dura, ARENA has used this same strategy of broad defini- 4 FALL—2004 EL SALVADOR WATCH tions to scoop up — continued on page 4 CISPES Holds Summer Camp for Activists CISPES members left the Summer Camp having learned many skills that we can tors to organize referendums in their own communities. labor delegation and members of the Dominican consulta to Providence, RI for Cafta continued from page 1—to CAFTA; from influential national organizations by Susana Martínez, Bay Area CISPES with women from different social move- The over-arching costs of “free” trade a community round-table that resulted in like the League of United Latin American now apply to our local organizing. We paved our road between the various march- a Providence-based free trade consulta. ments in order to improve the quality of learned so much, we exchanged ideas, and Citizens (LULAC) and the Salvadoran life for Salvadoran women. es; immigrants, labor, anti-war, people of [*Please email newyorkcispes@mind- American National Network (SANN), to the experience was full of commitment color, anti-imperialist, etc. The permit spring.com if you know of any Providence FMLN legislators Zoila Blandino Nerio, FMLN deputy from San local groups like CARECEN in Los Angeles and desire to make CISPES a strong and requirement pushed upon protestors lead- based groups working on free trade.] and Centro Presente in Boston. Quijada and Roger Salvador, came to speak to us about the lasting organization, which will continue ing up to the convention was selectively NYC is lucky; we have the world accessi- current situation of the FMLN and of El Still, Central America remains the pri- Blandino Nerio lead a to accompany the Salvadoran people in enforced, stirring a hodge-podge of creative ble by subway. The community-based mary site of protest against CAFTA, and workshop Salvador after the fraudulent presi- their daily struggle for justice in El resistance. From the critical-mass 8,000 education that grounded the people’s ref- recently Costa Rica took center stage when dential elections of 2004. He spoke Salvador. bike takeover of downtown to a erendum movement when it started in an explosion of social unrest rocked the about how President Saca and the LONG LIVE CISPES AND OUR 24 YEARS “Cacerolazo” outside the Copacabana night Brazil challenges us to truly get to know country in late August. A national strike media continue deceiving the club, where Coke was hosting a party for our multi-national neighbors. In addition against CAFTA was set off after truckers OF STRUGGLE AND SOLIDARITY WITH the “Hispanic” Salvadoran people, while promoting THE SALVADORAN PEOPLE! LONG began protesting the monopoly of a repressive politics that violate republican delegates, Spanish vehicle inspections company. LIVE THE FMLN! NY CISPES and human rights. The protests quickly expanded to include national staff were on farmers, public employees, teachers, and This makes us realize that Saca is the move. While just one more dictator, at the service of the US government and the most Another 911: banging pots, pans and coke cans across trade unions, with the principal demand that Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco pull the country out of the DR-CAFTA. A powerful corporations who will be the only beneficiaries of agreements like rnc at nyc the street from the club, we were barri- national strike was called on August 23, lasting a week and leading to the resigna- CAFTA or the FTAA. Blandino said, with caded by a sizeable tion of many key cabinet ministers, by Taleigh Smith, New York CISPES chunk of the 60,000 good reason, that the Salvadoran people including Anabel Gonzalez, chief negotia- recognized it from Managua, right after rom August 19 to 22, CISPES held a only has two paths to choose: either con- tinue with the neoliberal model that has I Hurricane Mitch. It’s the taste of a city that knows its mortality. The cops shipped in for the protests. We managed to evade tor of CAFTA, and Alberto Trejos, the Trade Minister. Costa Rica has historical- F ruined El Salvador, or join the masses of ly seen less popular mobilizations than Summer Camp for activists in the San air cleansed itself with roasted sweet arrest, unlike 1,800 other Central American countries, and the globalized struggle and break down others over the week. Juan Islands of Western Washington, cashews, hot pretzels with mustard and such a mass movement against the gov- that model so we can begin to see and feel the nectar of fall fruit once again, remind- During what CISPES IN THE STREETS: New York CISPES and the People's specifically on an island called Blakely. The the change we strive for in the country. ernment’s neoliberal privatization policies ing the alive to eat. The spontaneous became known as W’s Referendum on Free Trade denounced the Republicans’ trade shows the breadth of regional opposition Camp brought 45 CISPES members and In addition to the participation of the altars scattered through the city with “Coronation,” NY policies during a week of protests while the RNC takes place to CAFTA. relations from 9 cities in the United States, FMLN deputies, we had workshops about: flowers and pleas to humanity to end war CISPES and the nyc In El Salvador, the FMLN has brought a and from El Salvador, for 4 days of political * CISPES organizing strategies, which was declared a moratorium on wall street- consulta introduced labor leaders from the to forums on DR-CAFTA this fall in motion to the assembly calling the text of development. The people who came were a good opportunity to interchange ideas paced disregard for your neighbor. I Dominican Republic to the large crowd Washington Heights, Harlem, Brooklyn, CAFTA unconstitutional, citing its viola- and strategies that have worked in various believed the blinders had been removed gathered outside of Madison Square Queens and the East Side; we’ve organ- tion of territorial sovereignty. FMLN all motivating, and full of the energy and and unmuted the cries of those outside Gardens. Leonardo Valvelde’s voice echoed ized visits to our Congressional represen- local committees. deputy Salvador Arias pointed to a clause ideas that give life to the work of CISPES. our borders. between the towering office buildings and tatives in New York and in Washington * Anti-racism - we had time for self-exam- of the CAFTA text which would recognize The main goal of the Camp was to share This year, 9-11 was actually a day of the blockaded palace gardens, “We will not D.C., where we know hundreds of thou- the US’s maritime rights to territory ination, and made specific commitments be a colony of the United States! We unite our experiences and develop skills in order reprieve after the latest invasion of our sands of activists across the hemisphere beyond its own borders. Arias also for how we will keep fighting against city; the Republicans. After months of with you and the people of the world who would like show our politicians how free to improve our work and strengthen CIS- racism in our communities denounced the government’s lack of organizing, coalition-building had resist this war of military and economic trade is also war. Just as insidious as CAFTA impact studies, and continued to PES as a national organization. * Media - how to use communications reached frenzied levels, all the old paint domination!” Iraq. Or El Salvador. One of the most motivating aspects for insist that CAFTA should be voted on as media effectively was used up, and everyone’s floors were Since the inclusion of the Dominican It’s been three years, and flag-striped an international treaty, which would me was the participation of two FMLN * Congressional pressure strategies lined with protesters from across the Republic in the DR-CAFTA negotiations blinders are a timeless trend. But we’ve require a 2/3 majority in the Assembly. deputies from the department of San * Fundraising - how to create systems and country. NY CISPES and the NYC last January, NY CISPES and the nyc con- smelled our own mortality and heard the Having committed its 31 votes to opposing Salvador: Zoila Quijada, member of the structure on a local level, grantwriting, People’s Referendum on CAFTA & the sulta have been working closely with cry. “We will not be a colony of the CAFTA, the FMLN alone could stop the Commission on Family and Women in the and how good fundraising means good FTAA (popularly known as the nyc con- Dominican activists to strengthen the cross- United States! We unite with you and the legislation under these conditions. Legislative Assembly, and Blandino Nerio, organizing sulta) volunteers were collecting ballots border organizing that will be necessary to people of the world who resist this war of Meanwhile, social movements through- a friend of CISPES for many years. from New Yorkers and encouraging visi- defeat “Dr.CAFTA.” We accompanied the military and economic domination!” out Central America have called for mass * How to work with "Organized Labor” Quijada came from El Salvador to give a actions in October, including border shut- presentation about the importance of the downs, street protests, and rallies at gov- role of women in social movements, in the Disregarding Protests, El Salvador Remains the only Latin American Country in the “Coalition” in Iraq ernment centers. The coordinated actions will take place two years after tens of FMLN, and in society in general. She n August 17th, despite receiving supposed terror- march, the return of the Salvadoran troops from Iraq was thousands of people in Central America spoke about the creation of the first women's organizations in 1932, about the incorporation of various women's organi- zations into the FMLN in the 70s, and of O ist threats for doing so, Tony Saca sent off El Salvador’s third brigade of 300 troops to join the “coalition” in Iraq. In doing so, Saca not only ignored one of the main demands. Later, a week before the third group was sent, Salvadorans took to the streets again, this time specifically to demand the return of the troops. blocked border crossings and highways, showing the strength and organization of a new, region-wide movement. In prepa- ration, the Common Central American women's participation within the FMLN the lead of all the other Latin American nations that So far these protests have fallen on deaf ears. have pulled out of the “coalition,” but also completely Nonetheless, the FMLN and the social movement con- Union Platform (PSCC) will hold a forum during the war and after the peace accords from September 27-30 in El Salvador, disregarded the protests of the vast majority of tinue to work in the National Assembly and the streets to of 1992, when the FMLN became a politi- Salvadorans. end El Salvador’s participation in what they consider an which will include the Popular Social Bloc cal party. While former President Flores had justified sending the unjust and unjustified invasion. “This war was not an (BPS) and the FESTRASPES public sector Quijada says that thanks to the feminist troops by saying it was requested by the United Nations, attack on a government, it was a terrorist attack on the union federation from El Salvador, and organizations and to women's participa- Saca has been more explicit. “Everyone knows that be- people of Iraq,” says Guadalupe Erazo of the Popular their union and social movement allies yond just identifying with the ally, our friend, the United Social Bloc (BPS). “It is important to understand that the from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, tion in the FMLN, many changes have States is also an important partner for El Salvador. And Salvadoran government’s participation in this war is a and Nicaragua. been achieved toward women's benefit on Though John Kerry has been reluctant a national level. As a political power the when this partner asks us to contribute to its internation- direct pay back to the Bush administration for its help to al coalition against terrorism, we say yes.” ARENA in the past presidential elections. We as the BPS to attack Bush on trade – having himself FMLN is promoting the massive incorpo- voted for fast-track and most other free ration of women into the party through In the face of this apparently unconditional “yes,” August 18: Thousands marched against the presence of demand the return of the Salvadoran troops from Iraq Salvadorans have marched and protested demanding the before any more poor Salvadorans die in this occupation trade agreements over the past 15 years – the National Women's Secretariat, in Salvadoran troops in Iraq while celebrating the victory of he does remain committed to rejecting the return of the troops. At the massively attended May Day Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in a popular referendum based on lies and deceit.” order to develop projects and strategies current DR-CAFTA agreement. Yet Kerry’s commitment to — continued on pg 4 2 FALL—2004 EL SALVADOR WATCH EL SALVADOR WATCH 2004—FALL 3