March 13, 2009

A huge THANK YOU! and Congratulations! to everyone who has participated in advocacy this week by calling the State Department, the Embassy, and Congressional representatives.

The campaign has been more successful than any of us expected.

Not only did the U.S. State Department issue a statement affirming U.S. neutrality in the El Salvador elections tomorrow (see the full text below), but numerous other officials have  released statements in the last two days.

Friday morning the major newspapers covered a statement made by the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in El Salvador, Robert Blau. Blau went above and beyond the official State Department statement to say that TPS immigration status would not be affected by the political party in power, and cited Nicaragua as an example, saying: “The Nicaraguan Government doesn’t have the best relations with my Government, but we approved their TPS.”  He also said that remittances could not be restricted with an FMLN win: “I don’t understand how that could happen.  The question of remittances is a decision between those who send them and those who receive them.” 

Friday afternoon the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), released a statement that was paraphrased in the Prensa Grafica on Saturday morning, in which he said “Sunday’s election belongs to the people of El Salvador. As Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am confident that neither TPS nor the right to receive remittances from family in the United States will be affected by the outcome of the election, despite what some of my colleagues in Congress have said.”

Also, Friday afternoon the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere AffairsThomas Shannon stated in a press briefing: “We are committed to free and fair elections in El Salvador. And we've also made it very clear that we will work with whomever the Salvadoran people elect.” Shannon’s statements were published on the Prensa Grafica’s website Friday afternoon and referenced in an article Saturday morning. They were also covered in the evening news on Friday on various TV channels.   

Both SisterCities and CISPES, thanks to the amazing fundraising effort by our bases and technical and press support from volunteers, have been able to put part of the State Department statement in the Salvadoran press.

Great work to everyone who has been involved in this effort.  Not only were the statements made, but it seems they are getting fairly good coverage in Salvadoran press.

Official State Department Statement

US Government Position Regarding El Salvador’s Presidential Election

The Government of the United States reiterates its official position that it does not support either candidate in the upcoming presidential election in El Salvador on Sunday, March 15.  The Embassy of the United States in El Salvador has stated this position publicly and repeatedly.

The separation of powers and freedoms in the
United States allows the debate in which members of the U.S. Legislature have expressed their opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the official position of the United States

The U.S. Embassy will field an observation team on Sunday to monitor the elections which we expect will be free and fair.

The U.S. Government will respect the will of the Salvadoran people and will seek to work constructively with whoever wins that election.

Coverage of Robert Blau’s Statements in La Prensa Grafica

Escrito por Amílcar Mejía/Loida Martínez
Viernes, 13 marzo 2009 00:00

El Gobierno de Estados Unidos respetará los resultados de las elecciones del próximo domingo en el país y trabajará con el presidente que surja de ese proceso, aseguró ayer Robert Blau, encargado de negocios de la embajada en El Salvador.

“Hay un compromiso para buscar una buena relación con el nuevo Gobierno de El Salvador, gane quien gane la elección”, dijo Blau.

Las declaraciones del más alto funcionario de la embajada se producen luego de que el congresista republicano Dana Rohrabacher propuso la restricción del envío de remesas y la revisión del TPS para los salvadoreños si el FMLN triunfa en las elecciones de este domingo.

Sobre el TPS, Blau afirmó que el partido que gobierne el país “no es el criterio principal” para cualquier decisión sobre la continuidad o suspensión de ese beneficio: “El factor principal es el factor humanitario”.

Para ello puso como ejemplo el caso de Nicaragua, gobernada desde hace dos años por el presidente izquierdista Daniel Ortega: “El Gobierno de Nicaragua no tiene las mejores relaciones con mi Gobierno, pero le aprobamos el TPS”.

Respecto a la restricción del envío de remesas, Blau dijo que se trata de una relación estrictamente familiar: “No entiendo cómo puede suceder eso. La cuestión de las remesas es una decisión de los que mandan (el dinero) y quienes reciben”.

Sin embargo, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos sí ha tomado medidas en contra del gobierno de Nicaragua tras las elecciones realizadas el pasado noviembre, de la cual la oposición ha denunciado fraude y a la fecha no se ha aclarado los resultados del proceso.

Estados Unidos restringió ayudas como los fondos de la Cuenta del Milenio para Nicaragua. Europa también tomó medidas.

 

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