Address: Boston CISPES//2161 Mass Ave//Cambridge, 02140 11 Oct 2007
On Saturday afternoon, October 6, 2007, under a brilliant sky, fifty activists converged on the plaza in Maverick Square in East Boston, Massachusetts to sound the alarm about events in El Salvador. Led by CISPES and joined by the Cambridge-El Salvador Sister City Project and Centro Presente, the rally was called to bring attention to the arrests of 13 people in Suchitoto for simply speaking out against the government's water privatization policy. Speakers throughout the afternoon outlined the new anti-terror law under which the thirteen were charged with acts of terror and face up to 50 years in jail for being at or near a lawful protest.
Sergio Reyes opened the rally with his powerful voice and guitar, singing out inspirational music from struggles throughout Latin America. He called on the growing crowd to join the movements of resistance to the violations of human and civil rights that are taking place in El Salvador and beyond. He ended with the FMLN anthem "Sombrero Azul" and its cry to Salvadorans, "dale, let's go!"
As buses dropped people off at the very busy subway station in the middle of a largely Salvadoran community, speakers at the microphone explained how privatizing water and health care are part of the larger attempt to redirect the country's resources back to the very wealthy. This is being accomplished in collaboration with the United States government through free trade policies like CAFTA and through repression of activist movements by means of the anti-terrorism law, modeled on the USA Patriot Act.
Petitions were circulated through the crowd all afternoon demanding that Salvadoran President Tony Saca drop the charges against the 13 political prisoners and get rid of the new laws suppressing the rights to protest. With almost a dozen pages filled, the rally turned into a march to the Salvadoran Consulate about a half mile away where the petitions were pasted to the doors of the Consulate. Representatives of the sponsoring groups have scheduled a meeting with the Consul General to follow up on a previous discussion and to reiterate the concerns of the Salvadoran and solidarity communities in greater Boston.
As the last petition was pasted onto the door, each of us had to remember that had we been in El Salvador, we could have been arrested, preventively detained and charged with "acts of terror" simply for showing up.