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.
“The best thing about Mother’s Day is the appreciation and love the mothers get – and give,” says Sagrario Tejada de González, who is handing out roses on Mother’s Day, celebrated on the 10th of May in El Salvador. “The worst thing for a mother is the fear that her son might get involved in a street gang.”
Norman Quijano, the mayor of San Salvador and candidate for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party incited a crowd on Sunday night to not “allow this victory to be stolen from us like it was in Venezuela.” He declared that ARENA was “prepared for war” and called on the international community and the Salvadoran armed forced to “defend the country’s democracy” in the face of the supposed fraud carried out against them.
As Salvadorans once again go to the polls on Sunday they are faced with a stark choice. Will they vote to return to the neoliberal past as promised by ARENA, or will they choose to continue down the path that the FMLN has begun.
The deal would rescue a sinking Pacific Rim Mining, but for Salvadorans it’s raising fears. Prolonging the unjust arbitration process will cost El Salvador, which is the smallest and most densely populated country in Latin America, millions of dollars. The OceanaGold bailout of Pacific Rim makes enacting a ban on mining in El Salvador even more urgent.
The upcoming February 2014 elections, however, will be the make-or-break factor in determining whether this case is just a blip in Salvadoran history or whether this truly signals a rupture with previous institutionalized misuse of public funds. Under an ARENA or a Unidad government, unfortunately, the latter scenario is highly unlikely.
The 44 of us in this delegation understand that the struggle against gold mining in Central America is a struggle for water, “for life,” as La Mesa members phrase it. Goldcorp, one of Canada’s largest gold mining firms, is building a mine here. The environmental havoc unleashed by this mine will affect not only Guatemalans, but also Salvadorans who depend on the Lempa’s waters as it meanders through El Salvador on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
A report containing the testimonies of victims of torture during El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war will be published 27 years after it was written, to help Salvadorans today learn more about that chapter in the country’s history. More than 40 torture techniques are described in detail and depicted in drawings in the report.