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(en) Action Alert - Gays targeted in El Salvador

From Paul Canning <canning@rainbow.net.au>
Date Wed, 17 Jun 1998 17:09:48 +1000
Cc Paul VanReyk <pvanreyk@ozemail.com.au>


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*PLEASE CIRCULATE*

C I S P E S
ACTION ALERT
June 15, 1998

MURDERS AND BOMB THREATS IN EL SALVADOR - GAYS BEING TARGETED - 
Considered Part of Organized Political Plan

Jose Alexis Barrahona, a transvestite known as "Karla," was a leader
in El Salvador's gay rights movement.  On May 5 Karla died after 
being shot in the throat and thorax eight days earlier.  According 
to a witness, someone picked up Karla in a car, then shot him twice, 
pushed him out of the car, and then ran over him.  The killer 
reportedly presented himself at the hospital to be sure Karla had died, 
and stated that he planned on killing more transvestites.  Karla, who 
was just seventeen, is only one of the seven gay victims killed over 
the past three months in the departments of San Salvador and Sonsonate, 
El Salvador.  This series of attacks, which has also focused on sex 
workers, has left many people seriously injured as well.

Despite specific testimonies from many witnesses, including detailed
descriptions of assailants, there have been no significant criminal
inquiries by authorities.  Many NGOs working for human rights have
denounced the violence and lack of official investigation.  The
organizations Entre Amigos and Flor de Piedra, both active in the
Salvadoran gay rights movement, are leading the community with demands
that the National Civilian Police (PNC) and state Judiciary undertake
a thorough investigation of these attacks.

Demands for investigation have only been received with more threats of
violence.  William Hern=E1ndez, Director of Entre Amigos, has received 
a personal threat over the phone and the office has received at least
three bomb threats.  Police officials claim that they are investigating 
this wave of targeted violence, but consider each case as an isolated
incident.

Spokesperson from the Institute of Human Rights of the University of
Central America (IDHUCA), Camelia Cartagena, says that it is doubtful
that the assaults are isolated incidents.  She further asserts that the
attacks and murders could very well be part of an "extermination policy"
of "social cleansing" similar to those carried out during the 12-year 
civil war that ended in 1992.

Express your solidarity to end these heinous and condoned crimes!!
Demand that authorities investigate and punish those found guilty!!!

TAKE ACTION!
Those struggling for human rights in El Salvador need your support.
Call or write to the people below:

ENGLISH SPEAKERS
Call the US Ambassador to El Salvador, Ren=E9 Leon.
        *  express your concern about the wave of violence and lack of
	   investigation;
        *  urge him to pressure the Salvadoran president and the
	   National Police (PNC) to commence a thorough investigation 
	   immediately;
        *  demand that he advocate for the safety of sex workers and
	   people working to defend gay rights in El Salvador, 
	   especially in relation to this case.

Embassy phone: (202) 265-9671, ext. 229


SPANISH SPEAKERS
Contact of the following people (in order of priority):
        *  express concern about the wave of violence and lack of
	   investigation;
        *  demand that a thorough investigation begin immediately;
        *  demand safety for sex workers and for those working with
	   regards to this case, including those that work in the 
	   office of Entre Amigos

Dr. Armando Calderen Sol
Presidente de la Republica
Avenida Los Diploma1ticos
Barrio San Jacinto
San Salvador, El Salvador C.A.
Tel (503) 271-1555
Fax (503) 271-0950
E-mail: presidente@casapres.gob.sv

Ingeniero Rodrigo Avila Aviles
Director General de La Policia Nacional Civil (PNC)
LA Calle Oriente y BA Avenida Sur
No. 42 Barrio La Vega
San Salvador, El Salvador C.A.
Tel. (503) 221-6222
Fax (503) 221-4033

EVERYONE
Send letters of support and solidarity to gay and human rights 
activists in El Salvador. Knowing that there is international 
concern and action  gives strength to continue.
(Letters can be sent to CISPES National Office; they will be 
forwarded to El Salvador.)

Originated by:
COMMITTEE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF EL SALVADOR
National Office: P.O. Box 1801, New York, NY 10159  212-229-1290
cispesnatl@igc.apc.org
Regional Offices: New York, NY 212-229-1290
*Minneapolis, MN 612-872-0944*
San Francisco, CA 415-648-6520

-- 
......................
 :|:  Paul Canning     
 :|:  canning@rainbow.net.au
 :|:  http://www.rainbow.net.au/~canning
......................
Queers for reconciliation http://reconciliation.queer.org.au/
......................
"A lot of the things I'm saying on immigration he said in 1988 [when Mr
Howard pushed for a cut in Asian immigration], and he is trying to do
something about Wik and native title. John Howard has tried to give me a
bit of a go."
Pauline Hanson


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