“We say that every square meter of land that is worked with agro-ecology is a liberated square meter. We see it as a tool to transform farmers’ social and economic conditions. We see it as a tool of liberation from the unsustainable capitalist agricultural model that oppresses farmers.” – Miguel Ramirez, National Coordinator of the Organic Agriculture Movement of El Salvador.
International and local human rights groups are carrying out an intense global campaign to get El Salvador to modify its draconian law that criminalizes abortion and provides for prison terms for women. This Central American country of 6.3 million people is one of the few nations in the world to ban abortion under any circumstances and penalize it with heavy jail terms.
In a process of grassroots democracy and popular community engagement, Nueva Trinidad joined its neighboring towns of San Jose Las Flores and San Isidro Labrador in rejecting the presence of mining exploration and exploitation in their territories.
Textile companies that make clothing for transnational brands in El Salvador are accused of forging alliances with gang members to make death threats against workers and break up their unions. Forced labor is also widespread in the maquilas, where the women have to work 12 hours a day to meet the high production targets set for them.
Guadalupe, a Salvadoran young woman who has already spent more than 7 years in prison on charges of aggravated homicide for miscarriage of her fetus, was pardoned. However, Cinthia, who gave birth alone to an infant she says had its cord wrapped around its neck, was denied pardon, ostensibly because she smoked and drank beer on a daily basis. Cinthia, like Guadalupe, was also 18 when she miscarried, and was likewise found guilty of aggravated homicide and has been serving the same 30 year sentence.
“All of us, [even] our animals—we don’t want mining!” said the elderly María Isabel as she left the voting center on November 23. By a staggering vote of 235 to 2, she and fellow residents of San Isidro Labrador municipality, located in the northern Salvadoran department of Chalatenango, voted to ban mining in their territory.
Rural communities and social organizations in El Salvador agree that the lack of specific laws is one of the main hurdles to resolving disputes over water in the country. “If the right to water was regulated in the constitution, we wouldn’t be caught up in this conflict,” said David Díaz, a representative of the Asociación de Desarrollo Comunal Bendición de Dios (Adescobd).
The core of women’s oppression in patriarchal societies is not maternity, or motherhood, but maternalism; that is to say, the imposition of maternity as women’s primordial and inescapable destiny and the central axis around which they should organize their lives and distribute their time. In the maternal ideology dominant in El Salvador, the imposed hegemonic maternity is constructed out of the religious figure of Mary of Nazareth.
Salvadoran feminist and women’s organizations are waging an international campaign demanding a pardon for the 17 women currently incarcerated in El Salvador for abortion, in hopes of challenging the country’s harsh anti-abortion laws and beginning to change the anti-choice views held by the vast majority of Salvadoran society.