WTO protests in Seattle

In 1999 CISPES and other Central America solidarity organizations joined together with unions, environmentalists, and community organizers from the U.S. and around the world in holding the first massive anti-corporate globalization protest in the United States.

The Central America solidarity movement contributed an internationalist perspective to this action and other anti-neoliberal organizing in the US since then; the message was that we all benefit from stopping the corporate expanse of power – it is not about “protectionism” of U.S. jobs or environment, and it is not about helping “others” in countries far away.  It is about struggling together for a better common future.

Fighting privatization

When the war ended, trade unions, led by the telecommunications and health sectors, in coordination with the FMLN, took to the streets to oppose ARENA’s neoliberal economic model. When doctors, nurses, and workers in El Salvador’s public health system went on strike in 2003 to stop the privatization of the national healthcare system, the FMLN immediately mobilized the broader population. During the nine-month strike, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans repeatedly took to the streets in defense of national healthcare.  CISPES again organized vocal support and solidarity. We took over the Salvadoran consulates. We accompanied the people of El Salvador in their marches, and brought strike organizers on tour throughout the US. When they were successful in stopping the privatization, we rejoiced in their victories.

“Sweat Gear” and CISPES’s anti-sweatshop campaign

In 1996, CISPES activists put together a sweatshop fashion show: a spoof on the fashion industry to highlight the horrible working conditions in maquiladores in El Salvador and Central America.

CISPES also made a spoof catalogue of “sweat gear” that described the working conditions behind articles of clothing.  One entry read, “This authentic sweat-shirt is truly an original item: a real sweat shirt made in a real sweatshop. We put sweat into every shirt we make. And to ensure that you get only the very best premium grade sweat in each of your shirts, we settle for nothing less than the maximum sacrifice from our workers.”

“Wage a Mighty Struggle” – lyrics!

(Wage a Mighty Struggle is the unofficial anthem of CISPES)

Verse 1:

Juntas can be bought and sold with guns and luxury;
But the people of El Salvador will not take slavery.
The people of El Salvador have taken up the gun;
And now they’ve got the imperialists and their puppets on the run, So…


Wage a mighty struggle against imperialist war
Victory to the revolution in El Salvador, Hey!
Wage a mighty struggle against imperialist war
Victory to the revolution in El Salvador!

Verse 2:

Some say you cannot fight the rich because they are too strong,
But we remember Vietnam where the people wrote a victory song
Oh Salvadoran people you do not stand alone,
The North American people will smash Imperialism here at home, So …


(Verse 3 – pre-1994 version)

Fuck you fascist scumbags we’ve got you on the run
The FMLN offensive has already begun
90 years or 90 days; we will not deviate,
until the leftist forces have taken over the state, So…


(verse 3: 1994-present version)

Fuck you fascist scumbags we’ve got you on the run
Municipalismo and people’s power have already begun.
90 days or 90 years;
to revolution we’ll be true,
we’ll carry out the struggle
until capitalism is through, So …

Wage a mighty struggle
Against imperialist war
Victory to the revolution in
El Salvador, Hey!
Wage a mighty struggle against
Imperialist war
Victory to the revolution in El Salvador!

1994 Building The New El Salvador Caravan

In 1994 Cispes joined forces with Pastors For Peace, the Bravo Fund,Companion Community Development Alternatives (CoCo), Madre, Students Organizing Students, National Center for US-El Salvador Sister Cities, Central America Health Rights Support Network/CHRICA, Oxfam, Salvadoran Medical Relief Fund, Share Foundation, Unitarian Universalist Action Committee and Voices on the Border to take 34 trucks full of material aid to El Salvador.  It was an incredible huge success! All of the trucks were donated.