We are elated indeed! And we want you to be the first to know that the Our Parents’ Bones’ campaign has achieved an important first victory in our efforts to spur Congressional support. In response to our Campaign’s request during our Congressional visits this past April, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA) led 26 Members of Congress calling for President Obama to declassify records of the disappeared in El Salvador’s war. In addition, 21 Members of Congress signed a letter for El Salvador’s President Sánchez Cerén asking him to open the military files and create a commission to investigate Forced Disappearances.
Our heartfelt thanks to YOU, our supporters, for without your help for our delegation to Washington DC in April and your tireless calls to Congress, this breakthrough would not have been possible.
As the congressional letter to President Obama released On Monday, August 15 reads, “The United States played an important role in providing military, economic and intelligence assistance to the Salvadoran government, military and its allies over the course of the civil war…further declassification in relation to unresolved cases in El Salvador could now help bring peace to the families of the disappeared and advance that nation’s on-going process to secure justice and reconciliation.”
Congressman McGovern is the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Congresswoman Torres is the co-chair of the House Central America Caucus. During our April visit, the commission and caucus hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with Salvadoran and Salvadoran-Americans whose mother, father or uncles disappeared during the civil war. Attorney David Morales, the Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman, was also a panelist at that briefing.
Our Campaign is grateful to the 21 members of Congress who also wrote to El Salvador’s leader, “Mr. President, we believe establishing a commission to investigate and resolve cases of the disappeared would be an important and positive step in relieving the suffering of so many Salvadoran families and communities, and for Salvadoran society as a whole…We also believe that it would advance your own priorities to promote reconciliation, strengthen justice and rule of law, and consolidate peace in El Salvador.”
Click here for a full text of the Letters to President Obama and President Sánchez Cerén, and to see the names of the representatives who signed the letters.
We now ask you to take a moment to call your representative and express your thanks for their signing of these letters. We cannot advance in our campaign to find our mothers and fathers if U.S. Congress and the administration don’t do their part.
These two letters are our first victory because they convey a clear message to both, the U.S. and the Salvadoran administrations and lawmakers, that we are a growing, relentless voice, in the U.S. and in El Salvador, that will not stop until our governments do the right thing and honor our right to the truth about our Disappeared parents.
Our Parents’ Bones Campaign is also grateful to our strategic allies, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Due Process of Law Foundation and the University of Washington’s Center For Human Rights for their critical support during this congressional drive.
Again, our gratitude to you for your continued support. It makes a difference. Our voices, together, are gradually cracking the culture of impunity and joining the cry of our beloved disappeared parents for truth and reconciliation.
With a grateful heart,
Chair, The Mauricio Aquino Foundation