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The Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is raising money to cover travel costs for an August medical delegation.

This August, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) has been invited by the Ministry of Health of El Salvador to participate in a medical delegation. CISPES Portland would like to send me as a delegate. I am a masters of public health student at Oregon State University, speak Spanish and English and would like to support the recently implemented public health care programs in El Salvador. This delegation will not only bolster El Salvador's efforts to make access to health care more equitable, but will also provide international public health experience with a changing health system and inform domestic public health care practices.

In 2009, the candidate for the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) won the presidency for the first time in history. It was an amazing day for so many Salvadorans, after decades of struggle for democracy and equality.

During the civil war of the 1980s and the violent repression that the military waged against farmers, workers, students and entire communities who were organizing for economic and civil rights. It was shocking to learn the extent of US funding to the Salvadoran military during the war (at one point, the US was sending $1 million per day!), especially considering the assassinations and massacres that government forces were committing.

When the war ended in 1992, the FMLN transitioned from the people’s army to a political party. Over the years, they have continued to consult with the population to define their goals and priorities. It's very refreshing to see a political party represent the true interests of the poor and working-class majority.

Since the historic victory in 2009, the new administration has overhauled many government institutions, including the Ministry of Health, and undertaken a number of national projects to meet the needs of the most economically and socially marginalized populations.

This summer, CISPES's medical delegation will work with one of the Ministry’s projects to bring health care to rural communities that have lived for many years without even basic medical services. CISPES will be working with the Equipos Comunitarios de Salud (ECOS), or Community Health Teams, comprised of doctors, nurses, and healthcare promoters that are now based permanently in over 140 municipalities across the country.

Despite the Ministry’s commitment to guaranteeing health care for ALL Salvadorans, they face some serious challenges. Saddled with a small budget (only 1.6% of the GDP!) and inadequate resources, they are struggling to make a lasting impact. Even more concerning is the country’s tiny and powerful elite, who’ve made themselves very wealthy over the years. They are not happy with the changing system and are dedicated to do everything in their power to oust the FMLN.

For these reasons, the Ministry of Health has asked CISPES and other allies to mobilize international support for their new programs. CISPES has been working for over 30 years to educate and organize people in the US to take action against US intervention in Central America. Over the years, they’ve built deep solidarity relationships with Salvadoran people and it’s clear that the Ministry trusts CISPES to partner with them, which is one of the reasons I want to join this delegation.

I am so enthused about this opportunity to inform my work in the USA with what is happening in El Salvador now. Because of my time spent in Latin America and my work with non-profit organizations here in Portland, I wish to take the information from this working delegation and put it to use here with my connections in the realm of public health.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this important work!
Your support will go a long ways towards showing the Salvadoran people that we are answering their call for solidarity as they take crucial and difficult steps toward a more just and healthy world for all of us.

If you have any questions, or suggestions please e-mail me at

If you want to send a donation by mail, please send checks to attention: Renee Harger c/o PCASC
2249 E. Burnside
Portland, OR 97232

I am really looking forward to bringing back what I learn to share with our own health care struggles in the United States. Thank you so much for supporting me to combine my passion for health care and social justice and to lend a hand to the people’s struggle for a just future.

All your generous contributions and support are deeply appreciated!!

Thank you! - Renee Harger and CISPES Portland
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