Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

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The Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

Friend of the New American Movement

In 1981, the San Diego branch of the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador was listed as a friend of the New American Movement. They commented,

Warmest thanks for NAM's whole-hearted support of the people's struggle in El Salvador.[1]

CISPES plans U.S. tour for FMLN representatives

A small article in the CPUSA newspaper People's Weekly World (PWW), Feb. 16, 1991, Page 2,was entitled "CISPES plans U.S. tour of FMLN representatives." The FMLN aka the Farabundo Marti Liberacion Frente was the military arm of the marxist-led guerrilla movement that was trying to overthrow the government of El Salvador.

These representatives, Ramos Cardona and Arnoldo Ramos were to tour the U.S. in March 1991 "under the auspices of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). CISPES has been identified in both congressional hearings and U.S. Embassy cables from El Salvador, as well as private research group publications, as a joint propaganda operation of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Communist Party of El Salvador, the latter led by the marxist Handal brothers, Shafik Handal and Farid Handal[2].

Members of NACLA and IPS also played a major role in the creation of and support of CISPES, along with that of U.S. Representative Ronald Dellums (D-CA).

According to the article, Cardona and Ramos "will speak about links between the Gulf war and the U.S. war in Central America, and will discuss the Bush administration's key objective in the Middle East: to establish itself as the dominant force in the new world order. They will report on the latest developments of the 11-year war in El Salvador."

The contacts within CISPES for this tour included:

Solidarity with Sept. 24 FBI Raid Activists

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression lists Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador as one of the organizations that has issued a statement of solidarity in support of the activists raided in the September 24, 2010 FBI Raids.[3]

16th National Convention

CISPES held its 16th national convention August near Los Angeles, and to open the event to the wider community it hosted a Friday evening (Aug. 11) gathering headlined “Beyond Trump: Resistance from Los Angeles to El Salvador.”

Welcoming the crowd of about 80 were Xochitl Sanchez of the L.A. chapter of CISPES, and Fidel Sanchez, singer, who dedicated one of his numbers to martyr Oscar Romero. Alexis Stoumbelis, organizational coordinator of CISPES, spoke of the organization as a “grassroots struggle to change this country.” Chairing the session was Angela Sanbrano, executive director of Carecen, a significant immigrant aid group for Latinx in L.A. “The big difference between our first convention and now,” she said, “is that FMLN es gobierno—the FMLN is now the government.”

The first presenter was Gabi Murillo, who recounted her harrowing journey as a young transgender youth in El Salvador all the way to forced self-deportation and arrival in the U.S., which greeted her with months in an austere detention facility. “I came to the U.S.,” she said, “not to become North American but to save my life.”

Three keynote speakers outlined some of the challenges ahead.

Ron Gochez is active with the Union del Barrio in L.A. He is an American-born community organizer of Salvadoran and Mexican parentage. He pointed to success at passing a law in California disallowing the practice of police impounding vehicles from undocumented drivers, amounting to a wholesale $21 million theft of property in L.A. and some $40 million in the state. The next campaign is to legalize the work of street vendors who support themselves in modest open-air commerce and provide a service to their clients. He also pointed out that while Mexico gets attention for refusing to “pay for the wall” on its northern border with the U.S., it is working with U.S. funding to build a similar wall on its southern border to wall off immigrants from Central America.

Roger Blandino Merio is a deputy of FMLN in El Salvador. He highlighted the persistent press of the right to contain and roll back any social progress the FMLN government achieves. The battle of ideas is intensifying: The corporate media, including some 80 TV channels, are all on the same page promoting the same anti-government and anti-progressive messaging. The U.S. is trying to “reconquer imperialist hegemony in Latin America.”

The final guest speaker was Claudia Liduvina Escobar, a Las Febes union organizer. Las Febes is the Association of Women Unionists named for Febe Elizabeth Velasquez, and focuses on improving the lives of working women and bringing a feminist perspective to the labor movement. This women-led group provides support and training for women in domestic work, maquiladoras, and sex workers who want to join a union. Already, under the FMLN, women workers have upgraded the conditions of their largely precarious employment to set hours and wages, vacations, and social security. The FMLN government has opened up these possibilities in ways the former right-wing governments never would. “Only unity allows us to advance,” Escobar said. “We cannot allow the right wing to return to power. They would wipe out all our advances and victories.”[4]



  1. 10th Anniversary Booklet for the New American Movement, 1981
  2. Second Front: Advancing Latin American Revolution in Washington, Studies in Organization Trends #1, S. Steven Powell, Capital Research Center, 1986 and his book "Covert Cadre: Inside the Institute for Policy Studies, Green Hill, 1987
  3. Committee to Stop FBI Repression: Solidarity Statements (accessed on Oct. 6, 2010)
  4. PW CISPES keeps solidarity with Salvadoran people’s movement alive in U.S. August 17, 2017 9:18 AM CDT BY ERIC A. GORDON