Wednesday, July 26, 2006

US House members express concern about July 5th violence

Congressmen James McGovern and Tom Lantos are collecting support among other legislators to send a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern about the confrontations of July 5th and related events.

The letter reads:

Dear Secretary Rice,

We write to express deep concern about events that took place in El Salvador on July 5, 2006. On that day, anti-riot police took up positions before a march which was organized to protest increases in bus fares, as part of a larger ongoing demonstration about the cost of living in the country. During a confrontation between protestors and riot police, many shots were fired at police officers in what appears to have been an ambush by at least one gunman. Two officers were killed, and ten other law enforcement personnel were injured. The police then responded with a major show of force, entering the nearby National University, searching homes and organizational offices in the neighborhood, and making a number of arrests. Although the shooting of the police is inexcusable, some government officials, protest leaders, opposition politicians, and diplomats have made intemperate and provocative remarks, which have further ignited passions and could lead to more violence.

Before the events of this month, tensions in El Salvador were already high. Protests have flared intermittently over the last year as the dialogue between protestors and the government seems not to have resolved their differences. As a result, clashes between protestors and the police have been frequent, and the Ombudsman for Human Rights in El Salvador has found that the police have used excessive force in a number of cases. The July 5 incident represents a further escalation in the confrontation between the government and dissident segments of Salvadoran society, and we fear a slow and painful downward spiral in a country which has not recuperated fully from a bloody civil war.

We believe the State Department should seek to reduce the tension in El Salvador through condemning the attacks on police officers and calling on all parties to refrain from making politically charged accusations and attempting to seek political advantage from these tragic events. All parties, if they have not already done so, should also immediately and categorically renounce violence. Finally, our country, through the United Nations, has made in previous years a substantial investment in the establishment, training, and outfitting of the National Civilian Police. We request that you review carefully the actions of the National Civilian Police over the last year to ensure that the force has been professional, community-oriented, and observant of internationally recognized human rights and that it and any of its specialized units, such as the anti-riot police, have utilized appropriate force when confronting protesters and otherwise fulfilling their law enforcement duties.

We are committed to a peaceful and prosperous El Salvador and would like to contribute to the resolution of brooding tensions before they worsen.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress


This letter reflects a balanced, appropriate expression of concern. Persons in the US should contact their representative and ask him or her to sign on to the letter.

4 comments:

Mysterious Me said...

I am not sure I am up for expressing my support for this letter especially since its so one sided and it assumes that all the facts are know about July 5th. In fact, quite the oposite is true and there are a lot of unanswered questions which leaves me nut trusting a whole lot of people. Lets face it, the Media is crap here and we certainly aren´t getting the whole story. I am certainly not going to back some letter by some rich guys in the US who know very little of live here in El Salvador

HODAD26 said...

I was here before and after this happened and have been to the University afterwards, but in a capacity for seafood business and liaison with the Agronomy school there was business as usual but they did shut down the Universities web site for awhile

but I am in agreement with Mystery Me,
what do our stupid elected officials in USA know about El Salvador, not much, only to get more greedy
maybe Senator Dodd is one of the few, but he has been silenced by someone in relation to the contra case, which actually is still not over as far as I am concerned
and Rice give me a break, what an idiot, but then again look who her boss is , a failed oil business Texan evangelical hypocrite,
as has been written by many before in posts, the choices people have here to express themselves are street protests, and the shooter as all seems to say, acted by himself with the help of a few, the way the CIA works in the world, he was probably one of theirs, paid to start trouble and make the FMLN look bad would not surprise me, especially after all their bad juju here in Latin America for the past 50 some years,
IMPEACH BUSH NOW!
Viva La Gente,
and yes it is rough here, especially with the price of food, I am amazed off to the Central Market,ya to look again, but not much fishing and shrimp exports are nada, due to costs of doing business in that industry and... why are the fishermen paying 20% more for gasoline and diesel when that 20% goes for road improvements, go figure? seems the courts are holding up that change of law, and you wonder why people protest in the streets, especially when the mainstream press that is one-sided and do not deliver BOTH SIDES
anyway, glad to be here in the 9th happiest country in the world, and not in the USA, what 130th?
Peace and "eat mo'fish"

Anonymous said...

Seeing how Condolezza Rice is part of the machine that is thwarting any attempts of cease-fire in Lebanon, I wonder why such letter would even manage to make her bat an eyelash. As long as ARENA, the party some representatives of the US WRONGFULLY endorsed during the elections, is in power... why would they intervene in such case like this? Just for fear of another civil war? That would be the aftermath of US financing one oligarchy before the war, and substuting said support for the neo-olegarchy AFTER the war.

Seriously speaking, I'm not so fond of foreign interventions into national business (specially parties that have an obvious political agenda), but even with ONU (that I regard as a pseudo-organization seeing how it isn't truly independant) I have difficulty in trusting.

What I don't like about the letter, is like in the PROPAGANDA machine of the country called "media", this letter seems to omit that there WERE snipers stationed on rooftops, and that a police helicopter WAS flying in the university's airspace... and actually shot (who shot? Not well stablished, but it was from either security forces or police), resulting in the injury of someone involved with the UES (was it a teacher?). Point is that something shoddy happened on that day, but do I want US's intervention? No.

Charla said...

Honestly, I don't see how the U.S. condemning the attacks on police and "calling on all parties to refrain from making politically charged accusations and attempting to seek political advantage from these tragic events", though well stated, would help to reduce tensions. This letter would be better intended for an international organization.