APPENDIX CWe have a private financial system. In the 70's ownership of land meant power, now it's the banking sector that holds the power which is much more significant than the power that the landowners used to exercise.
Hector Dada - Salvadoran Economist
Monsenor Romero once gave a talk at UCA on how a Bishop (meaning himself) was converted to Christianity - the point being that in order to be converted to Christianity you have to listen to the reality of things and respond from there
The reality here is that the market tends to exclude people so that those who work the land are not well off but are among the most deprived.
Poverty continues being the centre of the problems of the country. The country has changed in many ways. Once when you saw the police you were filled with terror because they could put you in prison for wanting democracy. Now there is much more freedom of expression - now instead we are afraid of delinquency.
FLMN (the left wing party made up of former guerillas and their collaborators), is going to govern over 60% of the country after May 1 instead of Arena....
It is the first guerilla group to convert itself from being a guerilla force to becoming not only a political force but also a majority political force. The guerilla force rather than aiming to destroy society has sought to integrate itself into society and this represents a huge shift in consciousness.
Voter turnout was low - and as a result many people were excluded from the political scene. This abstention is an expression of a sense of exclusion that many people have.
In the future governability cannot be possible without the cooperation of both the major parties. In a liberal democracy, normally those who feel most excluded by the system are those who feel less able to vote against the system.
Romero took away that fear that people had to vote --in these last twenty years we have seen a backward movement - Arena's vote comes from the very rich and very poor.
The very poor are often bribed to vote for Arena.
Privatization - has led to patchy electrical services. Privatization meant the entry of foreign of foreign capital but hasn=t coincided with the advance of the poor. Many families could not survive without family cheques being sent back from US, Canada and Australia. They total about $US400m/year. That money accounts for about 13% of the national economy.
There is one town in El Salvador where there are more members of this town living in WASHINGTON D.C..
This leads to the preaching of a ferocious individualism, whose goal is to survive in the market place....We are instruments of production....this is not conducive to understanding the social doctrines of the church where there is a social sentiment in the gospel and the tradition and in many ways we have abandoned this in the new economy.
The loss of the social vision as a centre movement of Christian consciousness is very marked in large sectors of a Sunday world which is focused on going to Mass, on individualism, and in this convulsive city, Mgr. Chavez was the first Archbishop of this country who was called a communist because of his social stance in the 50's. The most right-wing newspaper applauded the Vatican for Romero's appointment then later colluded in his death.
Chavez always said to us that the social doctrine of the church is as important as reading the Bible, so don't forget that. The Catholics have left a lot of this behind - because the only time they pay attention to the Vatican is when the Pope attacks communism.
Some of the new talks of the Pope on social doctrine the leaders of the church in this country could do well to read. The commitment to social action has been lost.
There is a crisis in the church from the 60's through till now is a total rupture in the previously existing social relations in the country. The one responsible for the economy of a family is often in another country. This represents a shift from when the whole family was in one house. The fundamental relationship was with the landowner and the worker, and that has disappeared. We have the cooperatives without a boss and there is a rupture in the relationships. This rupture is the core of the problem - there is a rupture in the relationship with the internal market.
Family income depends not on what they make here, but on what comes from outside the c0ountry. Law 127 from California - what the family here was supposed to live on was determined by laws made in California. There=s no real effort pastoral effort to look at these problems in a structural way. There is also the delinquency. El Salvador is the most dangerous country in the world - 140 deaths for every 100,000 people which about double that of Colombia=s.
To regain the capacity for love that Romero learnt, requires that we read reality and accept the call to conversion.