Ever since Jan. 11, 2023, when five environmental defenders and community leaders from Santa Marta were arrested on spurious charges, Viatorians joined with other faith communities and activists — including the Washington-based Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador — in calling for the charges to be dropped.

Among those arrested are prominent leaders of the grassroots movement that won the world’s first ban on metallic mining in 2017, which local organizations warn President Bukele seeks to overturn.

One year later, Viatorians joined with 185 other lawyers and academics, from more than 20 countries, in signing a letter to the Attorney General of El Salvador, in calling on him to drop the charges, for which no evidence has been presented.

The Santa Marta 5 are in dangerous conditions in El Salvador’s prisons, as are tens of thousands of others. Thus far, the U.S. has been silent on this case and on countless other human rights abuses that Salvadoran state forces have committed since the government suspended constitutional rights in March 2022.

Despite the ever-present threat of persecution, the Salvadoran left continues the struggle for human rights, democracy and social justice, especially in advance of the elections on Feb. 4.

Find ways to take action to support the people of El Salvador, here.