• Celebrating 20 Years of Solidarity

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  • University Scholarship Students, 2013

  • Protecting our Water Resources

  • Language School

11th International Election Observation Mission of the CIS

Press Conference

Introduction

We congratulate the Salvadoran people for your overwhelming participation and your commitment to strengthening the democratic process in El Salvador.  We congratulate the TSE (Supreme Electoral Tribunal) for having successfully assumed many challenges and responsibilities in such a short period of time after their installation and with little time to implement the recent electoral reforms.  We congratulate the JRVs for carrying out such a heavy but important workload.  Their commitment and dedication facilitated the process and contributed to its transparency, something so fundamental in a democratic process.

Once again, the CIS observed the strengthening of the democratic process in El Salvador with the implementation of Pluralistic City Councils, the minimum 30% participation of female candidates and the direct vote for PARLACEN (Central American Parliament).  These reforms are product of much debate sustained throughout various years.  The process was calm and there was little violence and confrontation.  The participation of representatives of the political parties gave confidence and guaranteed the transparency in each phase of the process.

Although the crossover vote was a reform was ordered by the decision of the Constitutional Court, and it opened more options for voters, it also generated confusion and uncertainty surrounding the voting process and also generated a slow and complex count and scrutiny process.  The small amount of time to prepare and train the people involved in the process due to the obligation to implement said reforms with only three months to go also increased the uncertainty and confusion.

The TSE organized the complex process in a small amount of time, although there were things that could have been done better, for example, the lack of a trustworthy system for the transmission of results added to the uncertainty and they should take measures to improve this in the future.

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A smile for Denis and the Youth of El Salvador


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Today, the Center for Interchange and Solidarity – CIS is receiving a donation of 5,400 almost indestructible soccer balls from One World Play Project.  We are receiving this donation in order to give alternatives for the youth of the country and strengthen community organization and recreation in communities and schools with scarce economic resources.  The balls will be distributed in 25 municipalities in the country through community organizations.

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We are calling this campaign “Playing Soccer for Peace; A Smile for Denis and the Youth of El Salvador” and will launch a special recreation and violence prevention initiative for youth.  The CIS has a scholarship and formation program for youth in 15 municipalities in the country which supports over 200 high school students and 100 university students each year.  Last year, several of our scholarship students abandoned their studies and some even left the country due to threats from gang members.  Some have been beaten up and require psychological treatment.  One star student, Denis Vladimir, who was in his 5th year of Architecture in the National University of El Salvador, studying Intermediate English at the CIS, a catechist at the San Francisco de Asis Parish and a big soccer fan, was assassinated September 2nd, 2014 when he left the University after a soccer game.  Denis had a contagious smile and we want to use that to demand justice, organize and empower communities to take back parks and streets and construct peace.  We dedicate this donation and the tournament we are organizing on Saturday March 14th to Denis and his family as a symbol of the situation that families and particularly youth from scarce economic resources and the middle class face in this country.

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To promote equality between men and women by playing and participating in recreational spacesWe propose

  • To construct recreational spaces, education and employment for youth
  • To take security measures for youth such as cameras in buses and public spaces, remove address on personal ID cards and put a ‘chip’ in them, since various youth are being threatened due to the address on their ID card
  • To work together to strengthen community organization and collaboration with community police, schools, churches and other agencies to break the silence and reduce fear.  We can change the future for the youth of the country. But only if we are organized and work together.
  • To play, accompany, respect, dialogue, and search for alternatives for youth at risk

We thank One World Play and their sponsor, the Chevrolet Corporation, for this opportunity to smile and make changes through play.

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Justice for Denis Vladimir Rivas Ramirez, 5th year Architecture student at the University of El Salvador, Scholarship student with San Francisco de Asis Parish in Mejicanos, CIS and St. Peter’s Church in Kansas City, murdered on September 2, 2014.

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Denis during a visit to St. Peter’s Parish in November 2013

 

Denis’ Background

Denis Vladimir Rivas Ramirez, born Feb. 16, 1991, came from a humble background in the community of San Judas in Mejicanos and led an exemplary life.  He lived with his younger sisters Diana and Elsy and both of his parents who are originally from Ilobasco, Cabañas.  Denis was always kind and considerate of others and wore a sincere and calm smile.  He worked with the San Francisco de Asis Parish youth council to help guide youth at high risk of engaging in or being victimized by violence and in his spare time.   He loved to play soccer/futbol with his friends.  When his life was abruptly taken, Denis was immersed in his last year of course work for a degree in Architectural Engineering at the University of El Salvador and had advanced to the intermediate level of English at CIS where he studied for the past 2 ½ years. 

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