Call for immediate release of grassroots leaders arrested on eve of Bukele’s inauguration

Photo Cispes

Dear Readers

Will you join us in speaking up for jailed grassroots leaders in El Salvador?

Over the past week, Nayib Bukele has escalated his attacks on the grassroots opposition, carrying out warrantless arrests against nine members of the National Alliance for a Peaceful El Salvador, one of the mass organizations that has been at the forefront of the struggle to defend democracy in the face of Bukele’s dictatorial agenda.

The Alliance had been planning local demonstrations against Bukele’s June 1 inauguration for an unconstitutional second term. But police arrested leaders on the eve of the inauguration because Bukele did not want there to be ANY signs of dissent.

A wave of international pressure is urgently needed to protect their safety in the inhumane conditions in El Salvador’s horrifyingly overcrowded prisons. Most in the group are older and all have chronic health conditions, several that are very serious, so their release could be a matter of life or death.

Send a message to the State Department and Congress

Two of the people arrested, Jose Santos Melara (known as Pepe) and Atilio Montalvo, are historic figures within the leftist FMLN: Santos Melara is the head of the FMLN veterans’ association and Montalvo is one of the signers of the 1992 Peace Accords.

The government is framing the group as terrorists who were plotting violent attacks during the inauguration. This is an extremely dangerous attempt by the Bukele regime to convince the population that grassroots defenders of democracy and human rights – not the state – pose a threat to their safety.

The arrests are also intended to send a message to every grassroots organization, NGO, union, journalist, and organized community in the country is clear: we can just as easily frame you, too.

Call on Congress and the State Department to speak out

Why call on the U.S. government, you may ask?

Let’s be clear – it’s not because the U.S. has some kind of moral authority to do so or should dictate what does or does not happen in El Salvador. It’s because absent any mechanisms left in El Salvador to halt grave injustices, all political leaders around the world have a responsibility to act. 

Human rights defenders in El Salvador are urgently calling for international action – and we are committed to mobilizing the solidarity they need.

But given the U.S.’s recent demonstrations of support for Bukele, it’s clear they need a massive push from below to change course and to try to save lives in El Salvador.

That’s why we need your help. Will you send a message today?

Thank you for your solidarity!

-All of us at CISPES

P.S. To learn more, read the statement by Atilio Montalvo’s family, declarations by Salvadoran Nation Abroad (Spanish), the Committee of Family Members of Political Prisoners, and Humanitarian Legal Aid in El Salvador (Spanish), and our statement in English and Spanish.


Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Artículos Relacionados