Weekend Voices 2/21/09

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Contributors: Carolyn Coe, John Greenman, Meredith DeFrancesco, Jessie Dyer-Stewart, Andy Jordan

Segment 1: Confronting the Iraqi Refugee Crisis conference at Colby College.  A report produced by Carolyn Coe and John Greenman.  How are students at Colby College organizing to address the Iraqi refugee crisis?  Why are Iraqis seeking resettlement in a third country like the U.S.?  What is the experience for those who have resettled and for the organizations working to support new immigrants? Speaker: Jason Opal, Professor at Colby.  FMI: www.refugeesinternational.org , www.thelistproject.org , www.preventinghate.org , www.ccmaine.org , www.afsc.org

Segment 2: The 2 major political parties in El Salvador are comprised of people who fought on opposite sides in the civil war there in the 1980s.  The right-wing ARENA party, of which the current president is a member, is the party of the repressive government and death squads that were financially supported by the US.  As a term of the Peace Accords, those who committed atrocities were never tried or punished, and many of them continue to be in power.  The left-leaning FMLN party represents the popular people’s movement who rose up against the repressive right wing regime.  In the recent municipal elections the FMLN were largely victorious, and the FMLN presidential candidate is ahead in the polls for that election, to be held next month.  As we’ve reported previously, there are widespread reports from El Salvador that the communities that support the FMLN are being targeted for harassment—- and on-going criminalization of dissent— by the current right wing regime.  This has escalated in recent days in the community of Cinquera.  Meredith DeFrancesco, Jessie Dyer-Stewart and Amy Browne spoke by phone yesterday with Francisco Amilcar Lobo, a teacher from Cinquera who described what has been happening.  FMI: www.elsalvadorsolidarity.org

Also, a 4 part special produced by Amy Browne in 2007 features Don Pablo Alvarenga, the town historian, telling about the oppression and atrocities in the years leading up to, and during the war.  Here are links to those programs in our archives: