COVID-19 Update: El Salvador

EL SALVADOR – ANDES 21 De Junio (National Association of Salvadoran Teachers 21 of June)

With borders closed between Central American countries, teachers are reaching out virtually to offer moral support and exchange strategies for coping with the health crisis. CoDev checked in during one of the meetings and is sharing a partner update from the National Association of Salvadoran Educators @andes21dejunio.

In El Salvador as of 19 December 2020, 43,195 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 1,242 people have died.1

El Salvador is experiencing a situation similar to that across the region, in t that this pandemic has unmasked the current crisis of capitalism. Many governments wish to cover up all the false promises and inadequacies in providing basic public services to their citizens. We cannot move freely. At first the preventative measures that began on March 14 with a state of exception and national emergency were observed, but then the government announced the provision of economic support of up to $300.00USD without any established online mechanism, forcing people to breach quarantine measures and make long lines outside the 16 CENADE [National Centres for Attention and Administration of Subsidies] offices to verify their eligibility. Although the government has stopped electricity bills for the next three months, these will have to be paid in the next two years with interest, tightening the grip of debt on families.

Without a doubt, women are the front line of defense. In healthcare and at home, we are in charge of preparing food, maintaining hygiene and caregiving. This means that most of the work dealing with the current health crisis affects women and girls in particular. On top of that, there has been an increase in domestic violence. Many women are under quarantine with their aggressors and they can’t leave their homes to file complaints. There is much confusion in the healthcare system, already weakened by privatization. 4,325 people are in 100 quarantine centres across the country that are slowly becoming focal points of infection due to lack of personal protective equipment or preparedness plans. Although there are recognized specialists in infectious diseases in the country, the government has yet to call upon their expertise.

ANDES 21 de Junio and the Women’s Secretariat, have organized their members to provide assistance in case of emergencies 24/7 as well as the delivery of medicines for members with chronic illnesses. Active members, as well as contract teachers are covered by the ISBM [Salvadoran Institute for Educator’s Wellbeing], to ensure that the national hospital network provides services to all education workers in case of emergency. The ISBM also committed to providing teachers with one million masks and hand sanitizer.

Teachers are working with unstable salaries. We need to analyze the health and social crisis created by capitalism, as it is the working class that is the most impacted. We need to provide our students with the tools needed to address these local and global issues.

ANDES 21 de Junio’s Women’s Secretariat’s work to promote and develop gender-equity based education in Salvadoran classrooms is supported by @BCTeachersFederation, @Abteachers and @surreyteachers.

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