Posts Tagged ‘El Salvador Peace Accords’

Small-scale coffee farmers in El Salvador were amongst the first co-operatives with whom Equal Exchange established direct, long-term partnerships in the early to mid-1990s. These partnerships came about as a natural extension of U.S. solidarity efforts during the Salvadoran civil war; activist groups launched a boycott of Folgers coffee as a way to bring pressure on the Salvadoran oligarchy responsible for much of the repression against Salvadoran farmers, students, labor activists and other civilians. The boycott succeeded in pressuring Proctor and Gamble, Folger’s parent company, to apply pressure on wealthy landowners to support the Peace Accords. It was only natural that Equal Exchange would follow-up on the coffee boycott by seeking to partner itself with agrarian reform co-operatives now owned and run by those same farmers who previously had merely picked the coffee on others’ plantations.

The following letter comes from a friend who has been living in El Salvador for over two decades. We share her sense of pride and excitement over the changes that have taken place in that country:

Today is the 18th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords that ended the 12 year civil war here in El Salvador.  Today President Mauricio Funes gave a speech in front of some of the signers of the Peace Accords, including ex-president Alfredo Cristiani and General Mauricio Vargas.

In his speech Funes said that as head of state he had a debt to the victims of the civil war, a debt that he had the responsibility to recognize, and that agents of the state, mostly members of the armed forces and security forces had carried out great human rights violations, abuses of power and illegal use of violence in the form of massacres, executions, disappearances, torture, sexual abuse and that these were mostly carried out against civilians.

“In the name of the Salvadoran state I ask for forgiveness!”

…forgiveness from the children, the youth, men and women, religious people, peasants, workers, students, people in opposition, intellectuals and the victims who have not been able to stop grieving because they have never known what happened to their loved ones and have never be asked for forgiveness.

We must dignify the victims.

Never again repression to silence ideas. (more…)

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