32 years after the signing of the Peace Accords, the promise of a better El Salvador is unfinished business

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2024
CONTACT: 
Yanci Nuñez | [email protected] (312) 866-0312

 

Chicago, IL — On the thirty-second anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords in El Salvador, we reflect on what the value of these agreements has meant for the Central American nation. Both for what they meant at their inception and their inability to solve the many challenges that El Salvador has faced since. The configuration of these Accords would not have been possible without the active participation of the international community. The agreements were an important contribution made possible by multilateral diplomacy that demonstrated how dialogue and negotiation can prevail over violence and conflict. For El Salvador, these agreements created the possibility of a more just nation, one that is an inclusive and genuinely democratic society.

 

It is crucial to recognize that the armed conflict ended by the Peace Accords were the result of a history marked by abuses of power and disrespect for democratic principles and human rights. Since gaining independence in 1821, El Salvador has experienced political instability that has perpetuated the social, political, and economic exclusion of the vast majority of the population. Since at least the beginning of the last century, the armed forces of El Salvador have been the determining political factor in every moment of domestic economic, social, and political conflict.

 

The 1992 Peace Accords, signed in Chapultepec, Mexico City, attempted to bring an end to that antidemocratic status quo in El Salvador. Based on that premise, the accords offered the possibility of moving towards a new, inclusive, and participatory nation, capable of producing genuine economic, social, political, and cultural well-being for the majority, and not only for the economic elites. Unfortunately, these opportunities were not seized. A combination of internal and external factors frustrated the opportunity to fully realize the changes envisioned by these agreements.

 

Currently, El Salvador continues to be immersed in a highly exclusionary economic reality, which is only alleviated by the billions of dollars that Salvadoran households receive from their relatives living and working abroad, especially in the United States of America.

 

Levels of criminal violence, measured by the homicide rate, have improved in the last year, which is encouraging for most people in Salvadoran society. However, the price paid for this sense of safety is very high. Thousands of people have ended up in jail, without any evidence against them. Unfortunately, El Salvador’s armed forces are once again at the center of political power relations. The system of checks and balances amongst different branches of government has virtually disappeared. These factors represent a serious setback to the minimal progress that has been made since the Peace Accords in order to establish a more equitable and just El Salvador. All of the above has marked the beginning of an authoritarian trend that casts doubt on the promise of a genuinely democratic El Salvador capable of providing real opportunities for the well-being of the majority of the Salvadoran population.

 

In recalling the Peace Accords, we urge Salvadoran authorities to renew their commitment to the principles outlined in the Accords and to take concrete steps to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure total respect for human rights. The Peace Accords represent a historic event that should be a constant reminder of the importance of working for a just, inclusive, and peaceful society.

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Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.

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