Thanks for taking action to help free the Suchitoto 13 and support Human Rights in El Salvador! Your actions are critical to ensure that the thirteen are cleared of all charges and that Salvadorans can express themselves without fear of persecution.
We know many alerts are too complicated and time consuming. So here are three messages we urge you to send, and the addresses they should go to. You can copy and past them, or with two more minutes you can add or subtract a line or two if you wish. Your action will tremendously amplify our message, which could mean "terrorist" trials of 13 Salvadorans including the CRIPDES leaders we work with would be stopped. And that would be fantastic.
Here is the background and strategy in a few lines:
El Salvador is using a Patriot Act inspired Anti-Terror Statute to try to imprison CRIPDES leaders for up to 60 years. The Salvadoran government has also made "disorderly conduct" a felony punishable by 8 years. Their intent is to criminalize political expression. Why? They're threatened by campaigns against mining, water and health care privatization. We're initiating a 2-week campaign to press for congressional hearings about El Salvador's civil liberties violations in light of U.S. taxpayer support. The trials could start October 7.
The 3 Letters: -- Please E-mail! Calls/faxes would be a bonus!:
1. email@example.com (or E-mail Rep. Tom Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Rep Michaud (or Rep. Allen),
I'm concerned that the Salvadoran Government plans to try members of the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES) as terrorists for participating in a demonstration against water privatization. And I'm upset that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a government campaign against civil liberties in that country.
I hope you will do anything you can to contact the Salvadoran government and our own embassy to stop these trials and to repeal laws used to criminalize legitimate political expression. Please also work with your Congressional colleagues to look into these matters further.
2. GlazerCL@state.gov (phone 011-503-2501-2999 x2003)
Dear Ambassador Glazer,
I'm concerned that the Salvadoran government plans to try members of the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES) as terrorists for participating in a demonstration against water privatization. And I'm upset that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the Salvadoran government's campaign against civil liberties in that country.
Please to do what you can to urge the Salvadoran government to drop all charges, and state publicly our that our government does not support using the legal system to make political expression a crime.
I am contacting my Congressperson with these same concerns.
3. email@example.com Pres. Saca's fax (English is fine)
firstname.lastname@example.org (phone 202-265-9671 , fax 202-232-3763) for ES ambassador to the U.S. Leon Rodriguez (speaks English)
Dear President Saca,
I am upset that your government continues its plan to try 13 citizens, including leaders of CRIPDES, as Terrorists. I am also upset that your government has now made disturbing the peace a felony punishable by long prison terms. I don't think that U.S. taxpayer dollars should support El Salvador's efforts to make legitimate political expression a crime. I urge you to drop charges against those arrested in Suchitoto.
I am contacting my Congressperson and your ambassador in my country, with these concerns, as well.
cc: Hon. Rene Antonio León Rodríguez
(You can read the full alert, with more details and longer sample letters, on the US-El Salvador Sister Cities Web site.)
Jonathan Falk, Director
Peace through Interamerican Community Action
170 Park St.
Bangor, ME 04401