Monday, August 20, 2012

UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights Visits Izalco, El Salvador

Jefferson Tyler Francisco                                      

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, visited El Salvador August 13 – 17. The occasion marks the first visit by an expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the human rights situation of indigenous people in El Salvador. Anaya met with government officials, indigenous leaders, and held town meetings. He visited the towns of Panchimalco, Cojutepeque, Cacaopera, and Izalco.

In 1932, Izalco was one of the towns that suffered through the massacre known as La Matanza (The Slaughter). The Salvadoran army murdered 25,000 Pipil people in less than 90 days. The Pipil language, Nahuat, was outlawed, and the dead were buried in mass graves. James Anaya, met with Izalqueños at one of these mass graves to discuss human rights. Here is some of what I recorded of the meeting.

A quote from James Anaya’s initial response to his findings:

"Regardless of the important efforts of the government to repair the historical discrimination of the indigenous peoples of El Salvador, it is more than evident that these peoples continue to suffer the loss of cultural knowledge and the full capacity to express their identity and exercise their corresponding rights. This loss adds to the conditions of extreme poverty and marginalization that characterize the most disadvantaged groups in the country."
-James Anaya

“No obstante los importantes esfuerzos del Gobierno para reparar la histórica marginación de los pueblos indígenas en El Salvador, es más que evidente que estos pueblos siguen sufriendo la pérdida de conocimiento cultural y de la capacidad plena para manifestar su identidad y ejercer los derechos correspondientes. Esta pérdida se suma a las condiciones de extrema pobreza y marginalización que caracterizan a los sectores más desventajados del país."       
-         James Anaya

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wild N The Streets


Wild N The Streets

Jefferson Francisco                                             

Mention the word migration and people think of the masses that leave the South to work in the USA.  The migration that is occurring within the South rarely crosses the gringo mind.  I’m talking about the urbanization of Latin America.  It is the movement of people from the countryside to the cities.  People move to cities looking for jobs and a chance to educate their children.  These children are the next generation of the most urbanized region of the world. 

They grow up and get used to the noise, crowds, guns, and exhaust fumes.  They are graffiti artists, students, musicians, street vendors, lookouts, punk rockers, cobradores, and some are even homeless.  They are the urban tribes of the concrete jungle, and they create their culture on the cities’ streets.  Everything from language to hairstyle evolves in the city.  You must be able to adapt to the environment if you want to have a good time in the concrete jungle. 

In the city of San Salvador, that means learning to tear up the streets, sidewalks, and staircases on a skateboard.  Skating is a natural reaction to life in a city.  Skateboards are easy to come by, and a lot of mixing between “classes” goes on within the skate scene.  I don’t want to take it too far, but the more time people spend together on the streets, the better they get to know one another. 

On June 24th a crowd of skaters amassed at Plaza Masferrer and skated all the way down the main drag to downtown San Salvador.  The massive group took control of the streets from the cars and buses.  They stopped at Paseo Escalon, Salvador del Mundo, Parque Cusctlan, and Parque Bolivar to pull of tricks.  Adam Keough and I recorded the downhill ride.  Here is a video that attempts to capture the mood.  We are going to bring on some in-depth skate material in the near future.  View the video in HD for a tolerable experience.