December 2018 – Executive Director’s Reflections & News from El Salvador

From the Peace Mission’s Executive Director

By Mary K. Stevenson

My Trail of Tears

Monday, October 29th, on my way to see friends of COAR in SE Tennessee, I, literally, drove on the Trail of Tears. That is the path the Cherokee marched when President Andrew Jackson forced them off their land and out to western “Indian lands” – mostly on foot. That was only two days after the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, very close to where I attended grade school. That was only days after Salvadoran migrants heading to the US-Mexico border were in the news, constantly and menacingly. And that was only days after I was in Rome for St. Oscar Romero’s canonization.

Our job, our mission, is to serve children in
El Salvador. So we don’t talk about migration and the challenges it poses. But St. Romero never retreated from moral challenges. So we celebrate our name-sake and example, and remember this wisdom:

“THE VIOLENCE we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.” –November 27, 1977

Your gifts give this message to the COAR children all through the year, no matter what is in the news. Thank you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

News from El Salvador

The budget of El Salvador’s government
is approximately $6 billion, yet,
EL Salvador’s ex-leader Antonio Saca stole $300,000,000.00

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45507582, 13 September 2018

Saca, who governed the Central American country from 2004 to 2009, had pleaded guilty to charges of embezzlement and money laundering [in 2016]. Prosecutors say he appropriated public funds for himself and his right-wing Arena party. . .

While Saca is the first Salvadorean president to be jailed for corruption, both his predecessor and his successor in office have also been accused of corruption. Prosecutors say the three leaders, two of them right-wing and one left-wing, misappropriated state funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Antonio Saca admitted in court that he had created a network of bogus companies and front men which embezzled a total of $300m from state funds.