Tag Archives: El Salvador

El Salvador Accords 2016 Conference Videos and Transcripts Now Available

Link to Videos and Transcripts

A year in the making on Spring 2016, NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) presented “From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador’s Peace Process.” This was a remarkable convening of stakeholders in the signing of the peace accords that ended the civil war in El Salvador. The conference, which was sponsored by various institutions including the Department of History at NYU, the Office of the Provost at NYU and Columbia University, provided the opportunity for a candid public conversation between sometimes opposing parties and regional players in the war and to reflect about the conflict, share insights about the historic resolution and explore the current consequences in El Salvador of the vestiges of war.

ElSalvador2

Almost a year after the three-day gathering that included 20 participants, the full videos that were live streamed worldwide at the time and the transcriptions of those conversations are available for all to see and explore through this link. We understand these documents to be sources for a new understanding of the process and a contribution on scholarship in topics such as History of the Americas, the Cold War, Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Human Rights, among many others.

Special thanks to Will Hogue of Fordham University and CLACS Graduate Assistants Michael Cary and Diego Cristian Saldaña for their work in these efforts.

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Security, Red Tape, and Human Rights on the Mexico-Guatemala border

By Laura Weiss, NYU CLACS student

Instituto Migratorio

My research this summer has to do with social movement responses to human rights abuses that have arisen or worsened as a result of U.S.-Mexico policy. One of my case examples for my thesis will be to explore the buildup and consequences of the Southern Border Plan – and the responses by NGOs and activist groups in Mexico and the United States.

Recently, I had the opportunity to join a delegation with the American Friends Service Committee on human rights, migration and militarization in Mexico, for a portion of their two-week trip, to the city of Tapachula in Chiapas, and its outskirts, on the Mexico-Guatemala border. It was a great opportunity to see firsthand a lot of what I’ve studied on the Southern Border and connect with a group of inspiring activists, researchers, journalists and filmmakers interested in similar topics. Going to Tapachula, meeting with human rights groups, and seeing the border zones deepened and complicated my understanding of the migration situation in Southern Mexico today.

Contextualizing the Southern Border Plan

Before coming to Mexico, I’d read a lot about the Southern Border Plan, or Plan Frontera Sur. The program, with the stated intention of improving border and human security on the 541 mile border between Mexico and Guatemala, was announced shortly after the “child migrant crisis” of 2014. In the summer of 2014, 70,000 Central American children arrived at the US-Mexico border, seeking refuge from the life-threatening conditions they faced in their home countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The program aimed to stop migrants and asylum-seekers in Mexico, before they reached the United States, and allotted funding for more migration officers, as well as new detection technologies and detention centers, with support from the United States. The plan also included methods to dissuade migrants and asylum-seekers from boarding the infamous Bestia cargo train that many traveling through Mexico have used as transportation northward – by speeding it up and inserting posts along the trail to make it more difficult to board.

The disbursement of funding has been extremely opaque, and denial hasn’t helped make it any clearer. When I was in Puebla, Mexico, in January for a course on social welfare and child migrants through NYU’s School of Social Work, both the National Migration Institute  (INM) delegate in Puebla and US Embassy representatives in Mexico City denied any financial pressure or support from the US government for the plan. But the law begs to differ. The congressional appropriations for 2015 clearly show that at least $75 million was appropriated to Mexico to secure its southern borders, that in addition to the yearly budget for the US-Mexico bilateral security initiative, Plan Mérida, which has included over $2.6 billion in U.S. funding since 2008.

Meanwhile, measures to help improve services for Central Americans fleeing violence in their home countries have come much more slowly than those securitizing the southern border. The US and Mexico have both defied international law that state that a person cannot be sent back to a country where they face threats to their life and person. As I wrote in an article, “Secure Borders Now, Protect People Later,” for NACLA in February, it wasn’t until January 2016 that the US government announced any sort of specific refugee program to allow Central American child migrants to remain in the country. By national security measures, however, Plan Frontera Sur seemed to work—at least in the short term. Detention and deportation rates from Mexico to Northern triangle countries increased by 40% in the year followed the passage of Plan Frontera Sur, according to the Migration Policy Institute. However, more recent estimates show that the number arriving at the US-Mexico border is once again rising.

With all of this information in mind, I set off to Tapachula.

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Live Streaming and New Participants in “From War to Politics”

“From War to Politics” begins this Thursday night with a keynote address by Álvaro de Soto, former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, at Columbia University. On Friday and Saturday, the conference continues at New York University with panels of key players in the peace talks and scholars of the process.

For those who cannot attend the conference in person, we are offering live streaming video of every talk and panel that can be viewed wherever there is an internet connection. Click here for the links to the live streams in both English and Spanish.

Join us to learn more about why the process worked, who made it possible and how each side perceived the outcomes. In addition to the existing participants, including the former President of El Salvador, an FMLN representative to the Accords, and a former US Ambassador to El Salvador, we are pleased to announce the following additions to the program:

parada_luis_newLuis Parada: Parada was assigned to the Salvadoran Embassy in Washington DC, where he represented the Armed Forces and assisted the Salvadoran Ambassador in his relations with Congress and the Administration in support of the peace process.

 

1157752802_740215_0000000000_noticia_normalFrancesc Vendrell: Former UN Ambassador and Secretary-General’s Deputy Representative in the El Salvador peace process. He has specialized in Central America and worked closely and extensively with Secretary-Generals Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

 

 

 

peter_romeroPeter Romero: Former US ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Romero pioneered and directed whole-of-government programs to demobilize army and guerrilla combatants and the commensurate community-based development strategies still employed in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

canciller-martinez-titulares-rree2Hugo Martinez: The current Foreign Minister of El Salvador, who will deliver a message from the current President of El Salvador, Sánchez Cerén.

 

From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador’s Peace Process

(Written by CLACS MA student Vladimir Penaloza.)

From March 31st to April 2nd, New York City will play host to a conference about the process and effects of the 1992 Peace Accords that brought an end to El Salvador’s bloody and lengthy civil war. The conference is hosted by New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Columbia University’s Institute for Latin American Studies.

The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed on January 16, 1992. The treaty was brokered by representatives of the Salvadoran government, the rebel movement (FMLN) and Salvadoran political parties, with observers from the Roman Catholic Church and United Nations. These peace accords brought peace to a country that had endured a twelve-year acuerdosdepazphoto (1)civil war that was waged between the military-led government and a coalition of leftist groups and the communist party (FMLN). Its is believed that more than 75,000 people died, and an unknown number of people “disappeared” during one of Central America’s longest and bloodiest conflicts.

It has been close to 25 years since the Salvadoran Peace Accords were signed at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. From War to Politics intends to reflect on the circumstances that allowed the peace process to be successful. The peace process itself was a remarkable achievement that ended an intractable conflict and enabled El Salvador to transition to peaceful civilian rule. By bringing together over a dozen of the most crucial participants and scholars, this conference hopes to find consensus on what happened and what the outcomes were. The panels to be held will focus on the topics still considered the core details of the Accords, for example, what impact did the role of external actors on the process have in shaping the peace process? Were the external actors of greater impact than internal actors? All this and more will be discussed during the conference.

The panels will include the following topics:

  • The Role of El Salvador’s Internal Actors in Shaping Peace
  • Fighting While Talking: How Battleground Dynamics Influenced Negotiating Strategies
  • The Role of External Actors in Shaping Peace
  • Roundtable: What Difference Did the Accords Make?

The conclusions reached during these sessions will have been arrived at by the people who actually participated in the original Peace Accords. Some of the participants include:

Armando Calderon Sol, former president of El Salvador (1994-99) and Mayor of San Salvador (1988-94)calderon-sol

 

Bernard W. Aronson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairsbernardquien201

 

 

Salvador Samayoa, former member of the FMLN’s Political-Diplomatic Commissionsama2

 

 

For more information about the conference, including a detailed program, biographies of the participants, and a link to register, please see the official conference website.

Rescuing Historical Memory in El Salvador

 

Memorial at El Mozote

How can the Salvadoran community rescue historical memory when there is such a divide in national/political identity? Focusing on how historical memory post civil war has affected the post-war generation, one begins to realize there has not been a clear practice to create historical memory in El Salvador.

The governing party that held power after the civil war ended, ARENA, made neither an effort to preserve the memory of the civil war, nor have a dialogue about what occurred during that time. Since the left-wing FMLN party came into power with the election of Mauricio Funes in 2009, the same issues have remained. The government has failed to integrate education about the war into school nation-wide, and teachers are not required to discuss in the classroom what happened during the civil war. However, there is a program in which the government provides transportation for students throughout the country to visit museums, whether regarding the civil war or not, in order to promote historical memory.

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A Crowd-Funding Campaign for Stories of El Salvador

35mmThe exhibition Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath will open April 8, 2014 at the Stovall Gallery, at New York University’s Kimmel Center.

In order to cover the exhibition costs, we have launched a crowd-funding campaign through Indiegogo and so far have raised 90% of the goal with 5 more days to go.
We have also started a great collaboration with Dr. Pamela Calla and her Spring 2014 undergraduate seminar, Women in Social Movements in Latin America. Students are helping us in the many preparatory phases of the exhibition, from scanning 35mm slides to framing photos, from detailed research of historical facts to marketing and outreach activities. They will also collaborate to the Film Series and Symposium that will accompany the exhibition.

Save the dates:

April 16, 2014 – 6.30pm
We Women Warriors
The movie will be presented by Dr. Pamela Calla.

April 23, 2014 – 6.30pm
Mujeres de la guerra
A discussion with directors Lyn McCracken and Theodora Simon will follow the film screening.

April 30, 2014 – 6.30pm
Dr. Florence Babb, from the University of Florida, will present “Gender, Race, and Indigeneity in Latin America: Provocations from Decolonial Feminism” in the symposium co-sponsored by CLACS Feminist Constellations Working Group and the College of Arts and Science.

All the events will be free and open to the public and will take place at the Auditorium of the King Juan Carlos Center, NYU.

If you want to see the exhibition’s trailer and support Stories of El Salvador with a donation, click here.

Posted by Camilla Querin and Raúl Guzmán – MA Candidates at CLACS / Museum Studies

An Update: Stories of El Salvador

We have continued developing the exhibition, Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath over the course of the Fall semester. What had started as a small project to showcase the Mujeres de la Guerra Project has grown into an exhibition that will have robust collateral programming that will include a film series, symposia, and a partnership with an honors undergraduate seminar.

We have started the selection process of photos from the NACLA photographic archive that will be included in the exhibit. As we delve into the archive we have started noticing themes we will want the exhibition to highlight including civil rights abuses, U.S. involvement in the conflict, the role of religion, the refugee camps, women in leadership roles, and the resilience of the human spirit.

One of our newest collaborations is with Dr. Pamela Calla and her Spring 2014 undergraduate seminar, Women in Social Movements in Latin America. This partnership will provide freshman honors students with the opportunity to explore the role of Salvadoran women during the Civil War by working with us as we actively build the exhibition.

We have begun the exhibition design phase to conceptualize the layout and are excited to continue developing this project next semester. The exhibition will run from April 7, 2014 to May 4, 2014 at the Stoval Gallery at New York University’s Kimmel Center.

Exhibition Design

Posted by Raúl Guzmán and Camilla Querin – MA Candidates at CLACS / Museum Studies