The U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network is a grass-roots organization of people living in the U.S. who have ongoing partnerships with small rural communities in El Salvador. Those partnerships began in 1986 as a citizen-based response to the U.S. intervention in El Salvador’s civil war. Today, seventeen sister cities from across the United States are paired with Salvadoran communities in six of El Salvador’s fourteen provinces through our sister organization, the Association for the Development of El Salvador, CRIPDES.
Sister Cities works to connect and strengthen movements for social justice in the U.S. and El Salvador by sharing accompaniment, experiences and advocacy. We strive to build a new kind of globalization, one built from the ground up and united by human values of justice and solidarity.
Sister Cities Programs:
- Sistering Relationships, for political and cultural sovereignty and community solidarity.
- Defense of Human and Civil Rights, towards respect of Constitutional rights and peace with justice.
- Community Sovereignty and Defense of Natural Resources, for alternatives to unequal free trade agreements and strip mining in Salvadoran communities.
Sister Cities History
►During the US Government backed Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980´s which left more than 70,000 dead, Sister Cities joined the repopulation work of CRIPDES (then the Christian Committee for the Displaced), morally and physically accompanying communities as they returned home from refugee camps in Honduras and other regions of El Salvador to communities still threatened and persecuted by the Salvadoran military.
►With the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992, Sister Cities accompanied the Salvadoran organized communities of CRIPDES in the process of democratization and reconstruction of their country for a peaceful future, implementing and protecting the political gains granted by the Peace Accord agreements.
►In more recent years, Sister Cities has responded to natural disasters that have devastated El Salvador, such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and the devastating earthquakes of 2001.
►In 2003-2004, Sister Cities brought people concerned about Free Trade policy together with Salvadoran communities in denouncing exclusive Free Trade Agreements such as CAFTA and played an active role in the Stop-CAFTA Coalition, which continues to monitor and report on the effects of CAFTA in Central America and the United States (www.stopcafta.org).
►In 2005, communities in the northern province of Chalatenango began organizing against the threat to community lands, resources, and health posed by newly arrived Canadian, US, and Australian gold mining companies. Sister Cities began advocating for and working in solidarity to support the communities in their right to self-determination in the face of international gold mining interests.
►Since last July 2007, Sister Cities has effectively advocated for the human rights of social movement leaders accused of terrorism by the Salvadoran Government for peaceful protest, working in solidarity with CRIPDES and the broader Salvadoran social movement to reverse the serious human rights violations committed in the case of the "Suchitoto 14".
►Today, Sister Cities is made up of 17 Sister City projects and many individuals across the country who carry out our ongoing work for justice, dignity and self-determination through physical, moral, and political accompaniment.
USESSC Board of Directors
US-El Salvador Sister Cities is a grassroots organization with a very small staff and a very large team of volunteers. The Board of Directors is a group of volunteers who see to the steering, financial decision-making, staff support, and strategizing for the national network by participating in monthly board conference calls. Board members represent a variety of sistering committees and National Members. Each year the board meets in person in the Spring, visiting the city of one of the board members, and then again in the Fall immediately following our National Gathering. The National Gathering is just what it says -- a gathering of representatives from our entire national network in one place to get updates, share new ideas, and come up with strategies for building solidarity.
The members of the current Board of Directors are:
Carol Murray -- President
Jeff Baker -- Secretary
Willie Marquart -- Treasurer
WERU Community Radio, ME
Crystal Lake, IL
National Member, Montana
Cambridge and Arlington, MA