RadioActive 2/15/07

Producers/hosts: Amy Browne and Meredith DeFrancesco

Topic: Last week we introduced you to the staff at WERU’s Sister Station, Radio Sumpul, in Guarjila, Chalatenango, El Salvador.

Radio Sumpul is named for the Sumpul river, and in memory of the massacre that occurred there in 1980, in which more than 600 people were killed by the Salvadoran and Honduran armies as they attempted to flee the war by crossing the river to safety in Honduras. As the war raged on, through the 1980s and early 90s, many people decided to return to their communities. Radio Sumpul is coordinated by CCR, (Rural Communities of Chalatenango), a branch of CRIPDES (The Association of Rural Communities for the Development of El Salvador). CRIPDES was founded in 1984 by refugees of the war. They organized themselves and returned to their communities, even while the war was still raging on. Today the groups focus on organizing in their rural communities for social and economic justice.

Through the war, guerrilla RadioVenceremos and Farabundo Marti, often carrying their equipment on their backs as they evaded capture, provided an alternative to the government’s propaganda. With that legacy, the Radio Sumpul community has fought off the government’s attempts to shut them down and seize their equipment. We return today to the meeting that took place at Radio Sumpul, with representatives of sistering committees from WERU and MOFGA, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. We’ll have more information about sistering at the end of the program today. But now, back to the patio at Radio Sumpul. Jesse Dyer-Stewart translates as the staff of Radio Sumpul tell us about the strengths and challenges the station faces today: