Mas y Mas y Mas.

15 Oct

Listening To: “You’re Going Back” – The Tallest Man on Earth, The Wild Hunt

So I know it has been forever since I posted a blog…I have a billion excuses but I won’t waste time with them. And on that note, more El Salvador…

Tuesday we took a boat trip to Copapayo Viejo, the site of a massacre during the war during which 160 people died. We sat where a house used to be and heard the story from the only survivor. The story involved torture, dehydration, lack of food for days, being cramped in one house with nowhere to use the bathroom, babies smothered to death so that they didn’t make noise, and the murder of the people of the community just because it was assumed that they were sympathetic to the cause of the guerillas – without proof that they were guerillas at all (again, using the counterinsurgency policy that the United States was using to train the Salvadoran government – kill any sympathizers so that the base on which the guerillas stand is removed).

Wednesday we woke up early to go to the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. This was probably one of the worst meetings we had the entire week. There were three people who met with us – one who was part of the economic sector, one who worked with USAID, and one who was part of Public Relations. They spent most of the time going through a powerpoint that gave a very vague overview of the various sections of the U.S. Embassy and the programs that they have in place in El Salvador. Afterwards, when we were able to ask questions, it was clear that they didn’t have the answers. When asked how they were trained in knowing the history of El Salvador, they responded by saying that they “had some time off” before moving to El Salvador, during which they could learn Spanish. But they did not seem to have anything more than surface knowledge about the conflict that occurred in the country in which they were working. When asked about the relationship between the FMLN and the US, they mentioned that there are some people in the Salvadoran government with whom the US government will not work. Later, Cesar informed us that this is because some of the officials in the FMLN were formerly generals in the guerilla army, and because of this the United States government will not interact with these individuals (which seems very mature, good call US government). They continued to tell us about how every person in El Salvador has a positive image of the United States, which has been clearly refuted by almost every single one of our meetings over the week, many people indicating either that there is an extreme dislike for the United States as a whole, or most differentiating between the United States people and the government, stating the atrocities of the United States government and the continued mistreatment of Salvadoran people by this government.

Afterwards we went to meet with a representative from the Association for National Enterprise, a meeting set up for the business students in our program. The only thing that I really took with me from this meeting (most of it was over my head…I so do not understand business jargon) was that ANEP defends free trade (how surprising!), but that they are not in favor of CAFTA because it places restrictments on a true “free” trade system, because the agreements put regulations that mean the trade isn’t really free. Take that as you will.

After the meeting with ANEP we met with a woman from Melida Ayaya Montes, a feminist group I n El Salvador (NOW we were doing something I could understand). And the talk was fabulous. The four of us who attended the lecture were able to ask our own questions and she addressed them specifically, after giving a rundown on the work of the organization and her own views of feminism. She touched on the subject of sexual/reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, migration, business/labor, domestic work, and the environment.

That night we had a PRIVATE CONCERT from the writer of the Salvadoran popular mass music. He was asked personally by Archbishop Romero to rewrite the songs of mass so that they would speak more to the theme of Liberation and the revolution of the country, and his songs are still used (and also used in Mexican Catholic mass, as we knew some of the songs from our own church here in Cuernavaca). The concert was absolutely incredible – he had great stories about the relationship he had with Archbishop Romero, the songs were fantastic, and he was unbelievably talented, both as a singer and as a guitarist.

I still have so much more to say about El Salvador, which happened so long ago…maybe sometime I will finish it up and get to comment on other important things (like, for example, seeing a Justin Bieber concert in Mexico City…)



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