Cristosal Raises the Alarm about Militarization and Arrest of People Involved in Community Organizations

The Cristosal team, committed to the defense of justice and respect for the human rights of Salvadorans, expresses our concern about the reports that have emerged in the media and social networks about the militarization of the northern area of Chalatenango since the weekend.

After hearing the reports, Cristosal’s team has confirmed that, as of Sunday night, the districts of San José Cancasque, San Antonio Los Ranchos, Potonico, and San Isidro Labrador are surrounded by the armed forces, who have sought access to homes and organization offices in the community to house soldiers.

The Nayib Bukele government has mobilized 5,000 soldiers and 1,000 police as a response to the two homicides in the area a few days ago. However, the only official information available has been about the arrest of two alleged gang members which was posted by the president on his X account.

Cristosal, however, was informed of the arrest of four other people, two of them members of the local Tamarindo Foundation, whose headquarters are now being held by the military. A mother and her 7-year-old daughter from this group have been taken, and their whereabouts are unknown as of this afternoon.
It should be noted that these military cordons have been put up in communities that historically were organized after the civil war and where, in the recent elections, the vote was in support of the FMLN.
Cristosal calls on the authorities to respect the physical integrity of all the detainees, as well as all the residents who were forced to open their homes to accommodate the military and police. We also alert the international community to be vigilant of this situation. We are faithful in our belief that democracy requires respect for the life and dignity of all people and that the presumption of innocence must be guaranteed.

The Jon Cortina Foundation has published a communiqué about the presence of the military in Guarjila and other neighboring communities. They point out that the military is stationed in the Jon Cortina Museum and they request respect for the facilities and property.

As pointed out in Cristosal’s election report, this government has repeatedly used the army as a political instrument to generate pressure and fear in various parts of the country