The past 2 weeks in El Salvador have created a plethora of emotions – shock, anger, disappointment, disbelief. We’ll try to give you the abbreviated version of what has happened, as we see it. We also invite you to read other peoples’ perspectives on what has been happening through the links at the end.
If you take anything from this post, may it be this – the people and country of El Salvador need peace more than ever. Political peace. Social peace. Internal peace. The threats on freedom and security are higher than they’ve been since the time of civil war in the 1980s, yet as a country we have come so far since the peace agreements in 1992.
Hear the words of Oscar Romero from 1979, a prophetic voice who’s words continue to identify the need for peace and justice in El Salvador today: “Neither the violence of social injustice or repression, nor the violence of claims inspired by arrogance, revenge or resentment can offer the solution to the evident socio-political decomposition of the country. The only thing that can open an effective way out of this crossroad is a sincere return to justice and love, mutual respect for human rights, and a mutual agreement of all Salvadorans to engage, without partiality, in a genuine dialogue, based on credibility that can only be reclaimed through [intentional] actions that win back the trust that has been lost.”
Let us share with you a brief overview of the past two weeks (and months) in El Salvador:
On February 28, in an unprecedented vote for the Salvadoran Congress, the current president’s political party won more than 60 representatives, in a congress of 84 members. This allows the new congress to approve any type of legislature that they desire.
The new congress took power on May 1. Their first political action was to remove all 5 of the supreme court judges in the court’s constitutional chamber, giving President Bukele absolute power in all three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial. It’s important to highlight, here, that the removal of these judges was done illegally. Many leaders in the international community have recognized this event as a coup.
Although the majority of the Salvadoran population continues to support President Bukele, there are many social organizations, non-profits, independent press, and churches (Catholic and Protestant) who have rejected President Bukele’s self-driven coup. There have been many criticisms and concerns from the international community as well towards the recent actions of the Salvadoran government.
In our perspective, we believe that El Salvador is entering a period during which any opposition to President Bukele and his political party will face great difficulties. We are already seeing serious risks for those who speak out against these actions, especially independent news reporters, religious leaders, and members of other political parties, even those who hold government positions. The president now holds absolute power, which he has taken illegally from the Salvadoran democracy, and we fear that the future of our beloved country will hold new challenges for our people, their freedom, and all efforts to build peace.
Please join us in prayer, but beyond that, join us in action. Inform yourself, and then respond. We are called to turn over tables of injustice and cry out for change. To break every chain of oppression. To be a voice of light and peace in the midst of darkness and discord.
Pray for us as we discern our role in this changing time.
Pray for our ministry, as the government tries to keep all outsiders from entering the schools.
Pray for our MVP family, as we live and move in a turbulent society.
Pray for peace.
May our light shine over the darkness. Thank you for walking with us.
In peace and with gratitude, Molly, Eliberto, and the MVP family
For more information on the past two weeks and other events leading up to this, check out these articles:
Political clash erupts in El Salvador as Congress votes out judges