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Monday, December 7, 2009

El Salvador Journal 2005 Part III

While the Peace Accords were signed in 1992, the struggle continues. The people of El Salvador continue to struggle for basic human rights, access to clean drinking water and good quality education. In the rural communities the provision of good quality health care continues to be a very real concern. Families struggle to make ends meet. The minimum wage provides a worker a salary of $154.00 (US) per month. CRIPDES and other social organizations estimate that the cost of living is closer to $625.00 a month. Prices continue to rise for basic services like water and transportation; wages are not keeping up with these increases. It is becoming increasingly difficult for families to survive.

In 1994, CORDES was created out of CRIPDES to provide technical assistance for rural communities. CORDES locates close to the communities it supports They are committed to developing productive activities in these communities in agricultural production, financial planning, entrepreneurial support, and public policy development and prevention and risk management.

The best way to describe the work of CORDES is to talk about Rio Lempe. CORDES is very active in this former insurgent enclave. This was the site of our first visit into the country. We visited a small community that is located on the site of a former cotton plantation. The previous owners deserted the area during the war. The present community located on the plantation after the Peace Accords in 1992.

The Rio Lempa, San Vincente

This was the story wherever we went. Relocated communities are trying to make a go of it with little government support. Most of these communities have very dramatic stories of the conflict. This on was no exception.

We visited a small community museum where captured arms are stored in a room with bullet-pocked walls. The local commander gave us a tour of the facility. His picture, from earlier days, with military uniform and black beret, were part of the display. We also visited the site where 28 insurgents are buried after a battle with the military in the community.

This is a country of graves.

One of the captured guns from the community museum. Note the holes in the walls.

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