El Salvador: AIDS NGO Attacked. Gay Activist Receives Death Threats

In the week that followed FUNDASIDA and Dr. Carillo receieved a series of threatening phone calls. Members of FUNDASIDA's gay men's support group, Entre Amigos, also received death threats. A group calling itself "Sombra Negra" claimed responsibility for the threats.

These most recent threats follow threats made against a prominent AIDS educator last year. In those events (see Emergency Response Network, November / December 1994), Wilfredo Valencia Palacios was threatened by armed men during the course of his street outreach activities. According to newspaper accounts, the mayor of San Salvador also made statements to the press in June of this year threatening to crack down on prostitution and homosexuals in the capital.

Armed right wing groups known as death squads were a crucial component of the official couter insurgency campaign waged against opposition groups during El Salvador's civil war in the 1980's. These groups continue to function. It is imperative that these groups not be allowed to function with the practically unmitigated impunity with which they acted in the 1980's. Urgent letters are needed to the Salvadoran government insisting that those guilty of the attacks and threats against FUNDASIDA be arrested and prosecuted.

Letters should make the following points:

  1. It is imperative that the government of El Salvador move with force to investigate fully the attacks and threats against FUNDASIDA and their staff. The government should further move to implement the recommendations of the Grupo Conjunto, a UN appointed commission charged with investigating the activities of illegally armed groups in El Salvador, in order to finally eradicate death squad activity in El Salvador.
  2. An adequate public health response to the AIDS epidemic in El Salvador necessarily includes state guarantees for the safety and well being of AIDS educators and gay activists. Numerous bodies, including the World Health Organization, have amply discussed the centrality of human rights and guarantees of non discrimination to successful HIV prevention efforts.

Write to:

S.E. Dr. Armando Calderón Sol
Presidente de la República, Casa Presidencial
San Salvador
El Salvador
faxes: +503-271-2947
+503-271-1334
+503-221-4532
Dra. Victoria de Aviles
Procurador para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
9a. Ave Norte y 5a. Calle
Pte. Edificio AMSA, No. 535
San Salvador
El Salvador
fax: 503-2-71-2886
Dr. Oscar Alfredo Santamaria
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Boulevard Manuel Enrique Araujo Km. 6
San Salvador
El Salvador
faxes: +503-98-0334
+503-98-0314