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OAS Supports the "National Day of Prayer for Peace in El Salvador"

  January 15, 2013

The Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday hosted the event "National Day of Prayer for Peace in El Salvador," organized by the OAS in partnership with the Rio Grande Foods Group, which brought together representatives of social organizations and Salvadoran private industry in Washington, DC with religious representatives, as a show of support for the peace process in El Salvador.

The Secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS, Adam Blackwell, highlighted progress made in peace efforts in the past year. "The situation is improving," said Ambassador Blackwell. "When we started this effort a year ago, nobody wanted to talk about it. But today we have a conversation. I hope we can reach a national consensus in favor of peace."

Secretary Blackwell recalled the role of the OAS as a guarantor of the peace process in El Salvador, and its leadership in the Technical Coordinating Committee of the process of Crime and Violence Reduction in the country. He also discussed other projects undertaken by the hemispheric organization within the framework of its Action Plan on the issues of weapons destruction, prison reform, and reintegration and assistance to victims as part of the plan to reduce crime in the country. "It's not easy," said the Canadian diplomat, "but we can achieve it with conviction. There is a better life, and this is the engine that keeps us going.”

The Ambassador of El Salvador in the United States, Francisco Altschul, emphasized the importance of the truce between gangs that began 10 months ago in reducing violent crime rates in the country. "The data show that we have an opportunity that we must all seize." But doing so requires the collaboration of all sectors of the country, said Ambassador Altschul. "This is a problem for all Salvadorans, and only with the participation of all Salvadorans from all sectors we can solve it," he said.

For his part, Pastor Mario Vega of the Elim Christian Mission in El Salvador spoke about the roots of violence in the Central American country, saying that "as long as there are no changes in the way the country is economically structured, conflicts will continue to be produced." He thanked the OAS for its commitment to the search for peace, and emphasized the need for broad public-private partnership for success. "Churches can not do everything," said Pastor Vega. "It is therefore important to establish broader partnerships so that young people who reach the age of adulthood can find job opportunities," he added.

The President of Rio Grande Foods, Josué Alvarado, stressed that "it is important that we seize the opportunity that exists now that many international organizations have set their sights on El Salvador." The participation of the OAS is "motivating," he said, and shows that the time is ripe for a major effort to address the country's problems. "We are the ones responsible for building a better country for generations to come," said Alvarado, also President of the Fraternidad Cristiana Intercontinental.

The event included a reflection on the power of faith and prayers for peace from Pastor Eliu Chacon, of the Emanuel Church in Boston; Pastor Jorge Peña, of the Restauración Elim Church in California; Pastor Insel Castro, of the House of God church in Texas; and Pastor Elías Jiménez, of the Association of Hispanic Ministers in Washington, DC. The closing prayer was offered by Pastor Benjamin Carranza, of the New Life Church in New York.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-009/13