Christmas 2003:

Letters from the Communities of Tenancingo

Corral Viejo | Irioma #1Irioma #2 | Irioma #3 | El Sitio | Hacienda Nueva

Canton Corral Viejo (Community)

Tenancingo, 16 December 2003

Esteemed Brothers and Sisters in Solidarity from Saint Cloud, Minnesota, United States of North America—


Receive a cordial and affectionate greeting on the part of the members of the Community Development Association (ADESCO) of the Canton of Corral Viejo. Our purpose with the present letter is to tell you sincerely that it makes us very happy to know that you are working with concern for the communities. Additionally. we wish to give you thanks for having received our petition where we requested a typewriter, so that we don’t have to bother third parties [to write documents]. We are hoping that you will give priority to this need that we have. We thank you very much, dear brothers and sisters.

I would like to make a little commentary regarding the free Trade Agreements (“T.L.C.”) as these do not bring any benefit to us, the poor. Beyond this, they bring poverty to our people, and I believe that you are uniting forces with all Salvadorans in the repudiation of this free trade agreement. In another matter, I would like to tell you that, as regards the presidential elections that are approaching, some of us are quite involved in the work. because we want a change, we are asking you whether you could visit us this day in order to supervise as an international commission [be observers]. With nothing else particular to say, we sign ourselves [in farewell] to you, giving our opinions and our [Christmas] wishes for happiness.

Until soon,
(signatures attached)

Toward peace and for the culture/civilization! (Hacia la paz por la cultura.)

Alfredo Angel Carbajal

Javas (?) Torres

Esperanza Vides
Voting member

José Roberto Menjívar H.


Letter #1 from Irioma

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Sister Community there in the State of Minnesota, USA,

May you each and all of you and your distinguished families receive a sincere and cordial greeting, wishing you successes in your daily work and that God may bless you at this Christmas season and that you have a Happy New Year.
These are the wishes of the Directive Council, “New Jerusalem,” and of all the community of this Caserio [Hamlet] Irioma of the Canton Rosario Tablón of the municipality of Tenancingo.

Thus briefly we would like to tell you that we feel exceedingly grateful to you for the accomplishments obtained in our community. Below we will list them specifically:

  1. We have a corn grinder,
  2. Economic assistance,
  3. Through these helps we have obtained a small dispensary, and
  4. We have little mementos from you, such as when you send us a package, the suitcase is given to some one of us.

This is a very nice memento. We would also like to tell you that, in one part of the hamlet that didn’t have electricity, now we do have it to rely on, thanks to a local government (mayor’s office) that is of our party, the FMLN. Last of all we would like to communicate that we are anxious because we want to buy a small plot of land to make a little school, for we have this now in a place owned by another. We tell you this in hopes of a good response, as we have the luck that in our hamlet there are already construction workers, who, even though it might only be possible to pay them a little wage, would put a good shoulder into the work. We bid farewell to the present moment rather than to you, of whom we remain always in expectation. And do not forget that you live always in our hearts.

Pablo Alberto Figueroa E.
President of the ADESCO

Letter #2 from Irioma

Saturday, December 13

Ladies and Gentlemen members of the Sister Community there in your dear state, receive a humble but sincere greeting on behalf of our Directiva New Jerusalem and the community of the hamlet of Irioma of the Canton of Rosario Tablón, municipality of Tenancingo.

Ladies and Gentlemen members of the Sister Community, it is for us a pleasure to have this space of communication by means of writing to you. In truth , all of us Salvadorans know very well that on the day of March 21, 2004, we are going to carry out the election for president in our country. We know well, citizens that we are, of our constitutional duty to exercise our right to vote. I hope that our dear people goes to the polls and does not go making a mistake in electing our future . We say this because we the poor, or better said, all Salvadorans, have constitutional rights that say that our president should provide housing, opportunity to study, medicine, employment, water, electricity, perhaps means of transportation, food, and communication so that he is aware of all the needs that will have passed from the year 1989 to 2003 [all governed by the ARENA party]. There are sad laments:

  1. There are housing projects, but these have only been done for opportunistic people, and with partisan political bias, not taking into account that the law gives to some or does not, because it cannot (???—the sense of the sentence is confused, but it seems to want to say that the law does not permit them to give to some but not to others.)
  2. Studies. They do not teach according to the law but only for motives of gain. For example, if we look at even the most humble schools, there they charge a tuition one is obliged to pay, for which reason many mothers or fathers do not send one of their children to school. That was until this year when president “Chico” [Paco] Flores published a decree so that the parents would not have to pay this tuition, but this has been done in a political way so that they will give [his party] the power.
  3. Many people suffer or endure one illness or other and it is obligatory that one pay for a doctor’s visit. The examinations are expensive, and finally, one also has to pay for the medicine. [I.e., this complaint is about there being no real system of national health care, even though this is a constitutional right and one that has been reinforced by medical strikes in recent years].
  4. It is told that people obtain jobs for which training is needed, but obtain the jobs only because they are upper-class [“wear collars”] or by influence. it is the case that in our country there are people with titles [education] but without dignified work because all the positions are filled by other people merely for show.
  5. The vital liquid, water: Many people do not it and while others do have it, what happens is that in a month perhaps for three weeks water is pumped, but in the fourth it is not even though the full payment is required.
  6. Electric light: If an electricity customer falls behind even a few days in the payment of the bill, they cut the power immediately. But what happens when there are outages that can last as long as three days—they always charge the same.
  7. Transportation: Unfortunately, the gentlemen who are the owners and directors of transportation raise the prices whenever they want and do whatever they want. Points: a law was passed raising the fee for Saturday and Sunday after 6:00 PM and when they don’t approve what they demand, these same owners boycott [suspend service of] the transportation industry.
  8. Food and Nutrition: The law of the IVA was passed [value-added tax extended to basic grains and foodstuffs], and who did it favor? The large-scale buyer, who buys in large lots and is thus favored [presumably receives a tax-break]. The on who buys only a little is the one who really pays what the IVA law demands.
  9. Communications: We do not have either telephone service, nor even telegram, as it is very expensive. Telecom makes its own laws, such as that communication services are closed on Sundays.

The previous governments, just like the present government, do nothing. Thus, for the coming elections we seek to put in a government that knows the necessities of the poor and not those of the millionaires. Dear “sponsors” [godparents] we would be very happy if, for these coming elections you could unite with us and be observers. Thank you. We remain with hope. Adios. We take our leave of the present moment less than of you yourselves.

Pablo Alberto Figueroa Raymundo
President of the ADESCO, Idioma

Letter #3 from Irioma

Wednesday, 17 December 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Sister-Community there is the state of Minnesota, U.S.A.,

Fraternal greetings to each of you in the name of God all-powerful, as well as the name of our Directiva. We ask God that this salutation reach to the depths of your hearts. We are very happy when we remember each one of you. We beg God that you will be able to return and see us in our community of Irioma, of the Canton of Rosario Tablón, of the Municipality of Tenancingo.

After this short but sincere greeting, I pass to the following. I direct myself to you, brothers and sisters, and the motive for my writing you is because I need a book of Spanish and English. I, Pablo Alberto Figueroa, am 60 years old, but because of the lack of employment, I cannot buy it myself. I have studied through the 2nd cycle [6th grade] and I would like to know more. I am the president of the ADESCO. I remember very much the monk, Dennis, and although I do not know the names of the others, I believe that the love and affection I have for you is the same.

Here I say farewell, hoping that God repay you with many blessings and many more years of life. These are the wishes of the president of the ADESCO of the Hamlet of Irioma.

Pablo Alberto Figueroa Raymundo
Tenancingo. (Department of Cuscatlán)

Letter from El Sitio

15 December 2003

For Saint Cloud, Minnesota, USA

In the name of the Community of the Hamlet El Sitio–El Transito.

We hope that your health is good and than you pass happy holy days and a beautiful new year. And may God bless you always.

The motive of the present letter is to petition you to assist us in whatever way you deem workable. For in our community we do not have service of either potable water or electricity. The street is in disrepair. It is because our community is so small, that we are not taken into account by any governmental institutions.

Thus we are asking petitioning God and Saint Cloud, Minnesota if you could help us. Our community was damaged by the earthquakes, and al our houses were damaged, and none of us have any employment, not even the materials to be able to construct our houses. And all the assistance that we receive from St. Cloud would be for the good of our families (children).

We would be grateful in the highest degree with Saint Cloud Minnesota if you assist us with anything, as our greatest wish is to have electric energy and potable water. And that [they — could mean “you”] would take us into consideration in all the projects that are accomplished.

We say farewell humbly,

The Community of El Sitio – El Transito of the Cantón Rosario El Tablón

In the event that you are able to provide some kind of assistance, you can send it to the following persons who are from this same community, Cantón Rosario El Tablón Caserio El Sitio – El Transito.

  1. Rafael Antonio Cruz Vides
  2. Santiago Molina
  3. Maria Eliodora Cruz Vides

  4. Juan Crisóstomo Cruz Juarez
  5. María Magdalena Reyna Cruz Vides

Letter from Hacienda Nueva

Community of Huiltepeque, Caserio of Hacienda Nueva

[?? The letter is from the Caserio of Hacienda Nueva, which belongs to the Canton of Jiñuco, but it refers to a smaller segment of this community, I think.]


14 December 2003

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Saint Cloud, Minnesota,

Receive a cordial greeting, wishing success to everyone who is involved in the sistering organization [at the same time??]. We wish that you pass a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in the company of your dear families, and friends who surround you might bear abundant fruit in your homes.

We of the Community of Hacienda Nueva would like to thank you for the donations you offer us. These are used in cases of emergency [health funds], which occur in the community for persons of scant resources.. Additionally, we beg that in your next visit you honor us with your presence here.

With these words we say farewell to you, brothers and sisters, we as well as the whole community.


José Francisco Zavaleta
Martha Pichinte
Encarnación Torres
Abraham Alvarenga
Isabel Batres