Salvadoran American Leaders Complete Successful Congregational Visits in Washington

Washington D.C. February 24, 2009—Some 45 Salvadoran American leaders from across the United States walked the hallways of the U.S. Congress on Monday and Tuesdays and visited over 100 Representatives asking for their support and promotion of fair and transparent elections in El Salvador.

The presidential elections in El Salvador will be held on March 15, 2009, and they have been tainted with numerous irregularities.

At the same time, on Monday, Congressman Raúl Grijalva, from Arizona, sent a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to his fellow Representatives urging their endorsement of a letter to President Barrak Obama, which was authored by Grijalva and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, in which Lawmakers requests from the new president the support for a call for fair and transparent elections in El Salvador.

Among other things the letter by Congressman Grijalva and Congresswoman Kaptur, from Ohio, states the following: “We call upon all U.S. government officials and Members of Congress to refrain from any attempt, at any point during the campaign, to influence the decision of Salvadoran voters.” The letter the President Obama has emerged in light of efforts by the ruling party, ARENA, to manipulate the official foreign policy of the United States toward El Salvador for partisan ends.

The Salvadoran American civic leaders, coming from diverse sectors, ranging from non-profit organizations, labor leaders, business, religious, and community organizations from Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New York, Boston, and California visited over 100 Congressional Representatives and expressed great satisfaction over the two-day effort in the Capital to get support to help clear the way for free, fair, democratic and transparent elections in El Salvador.

During their visit to Washington, the Salvadoran American leaders met with the Organization of American States Electoral Observation Director, Pablo Gutierrez, who handed the group the fresh OAS report on their observation mission to the Legislative and Municipal elections in El Salvador last January 18. The OAS representative promised that his organization will continue efforts to monitor election process in the country in order to help improve irregularities in the Salvadoran electoral process.

Mario Fuentes, general director of the Salvadoran American National Association (SANA), which is the organization that has mobilized Salvadoran Americans from across the U.S. to gather in Washington DC for Congregational visits, stated that, “The latest elections in the United States have demonstrated the profound hope for change in America, and the same desire for change has been expressed by 80 percent of the Salvadoran people.”

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