1980: The founding of CISPES

El Salvador. It is where Ronald Reagan said he would “draw a line in the sand” against communism before it reached our very doorstep. Mounting atrocities, perpetrated by a regime that US tax dollars were propping up, outraged people of conscience in the United States – and compelled us to militant action. Tens of thousands of US activists responded immediately. We knew which side of Reagan’s line we needed to be on: on the side with those fighting for a democratic revolution.

Founded by conventions in Los Angeles and Washington, DC in October of 1980, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) grew into a powerful national grassroots solidarity organization.

One thought on “1980: The founding of CISPES”

  1. Sort of a Funny Story—-

    I was fortunate enough to be the second North American to work with the BPR in San Franciso. The other was Tina Courtright. We became the Friends of the BPR, soon after, and for the sake of unity, we become US Friends of the Salvadoran Revolution.

    That was around 1980-81, and we were working out of a small store front in the mission. It was becoming more and more urgent to get get the “masses” mobilized. We need to produce LOTS of flier, like thousands. This, as you can imagine is not easy with a mimeograph machine. Though we tried, and did.

    Within in a year or so Casa El Salvador “Farabundo Martí” (where we were working out of) got it’s own printing press. Marlene Tobias taught me to print and now we had two printing presses at our disposal. (Soon we would get an old Chief Press to do posters).

    I remember we were mobilizing for a particularly large and important demo. Kissinger was coming to town and we really want to “welcome” him. So, we decide we needed 25,000 fliers for the Bay Area. That’s a lot of fliers on two twenty year old presses. And we decided it needed to be two colors, for impact. Well, long story short, in our stupor of printing day and night we forgot to unmask the DATE and Time of the Demo. And, well we were just going to have to run them all back though again, another 25,000 times, now that’s 75,000 impressions, in printers terms. It’s sort of funny now, but then, well it was less funny. But everyone pitched in,and we did it……

    More on the Kissinger Demo in another post. Let’s just say it was the first time 200 activists got arrested protesting the war against El Salvador in one afternoon.

    Then there was the FIRST INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY meeting in Mexico City, (1981?) an amazing event I had the honor of attending. Activists from all over Latin America were there, inspiring to say the least.

    I could go on and on……
    I think it is nothing short of amazing, fantastic, moving,
    impressive, on and on, that CISPES has survived and flourished over all these years. Truly Heart warming.

    Qué Viva CISPES!
    Qué Viva El Salvador!
    Qué Viva El FMLN!

    Adam Kufeld

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