Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Salomón Medina Attended the Regional Institute on the Study and Practice of Strategic Nonviolent Action in the Americas, Ecuador March 2020 

By Salomón Medina

Field trip to Cotacachi: discussion on the alternative economic system implemented by the community and the indigenous uprising in 2019, in Ecuador.

Sister Patricia Duque and Isaí Romero of AVP Colombia, Salomón Medina of AVP El Salvador and Yadira Rodríguez of AVP Honduras were together March 8-15 in Ecuador to attend the Regional Institute on the Study and Practice of Strategic Nonviolent Action in the Americas. It was a rare opportunity to be together face-to-face and an excellent chance to share stories, challenges and joy with each other. The group met twice with facilitators from AVP Ecuador. Salomón co-facilitated with Gabriela Reyes of AVP Bolivia, a mini-AVP for the 50 other activists in attendance. In addition, Salomon offered an evening session for participants on his work in El Salvador.

The Regional Program for the study and practice of Strategic Nonviolent Action in the Americas is a coordinated effort between: International Center on Nonviolence Conflict (ICNC), Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences with its headquarters in Ecuador (FLACSO), Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE) and the Study, Mediation, Peace & Conflict Resolution Foundation (CEMPROC). On this occasion, 48 people from different Latin American countries participated in order to strengthen knowledge and skills to delve into the issue and incidence of Nonviolence in our societies. This event was scheduled from March 8 to 14, 2020, but due to the emergency of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, it had to be closed a day earlier on March 13 due to the restrictions imposed by the government of Ecuador. In my case, I left El Salvador on March 7 and returned to my country on March 16.

I want to express my sincere and special thanks to Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) for having supported my participation in this program, which has many similarities with the work we do as PLA-Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) here in El Salvador, in Latin America and the world. I recognize that we have a lot to do in the way of peace, but it is extremely gratifying to recognize that we are not alone in our work and find partners and allies with whom we share the same ideals.

At the same time, I am very grateful that Peacebuilding en las Américas put my family and me in the light during the 39 days that I was in the quarantine imposed by the government when I returned to my country after the pandemic – from March 16 to April 23, 2020– time during which I was able to live in a practical way what I learned in AVP and the Nonviolent Action Program.

Memorable Moments and Learnings 

The complementarity between nonviolent resistance and the transformation of the conflict
    • Case study of nonviolent struggle against authoritarianism — Lessons from the campaign against the Pinochet regime in Chile: Paola Lozada & María Belén Garrido
    • Case study of nonviolent struggle against environmental threats —  Civil resistance in defense of indigenous territories against the exploitation of natural resources in Honduras: Monica Maher and Edwin ÁlvarezTalks on potential areas of application of nonviolent action in Latin America
Potential areas of application of nonviolent action in Latin America
  • Constructive program: The case of the Zapatista movement
  • Communication in nonviolent campaigns and movements
  • Repression, counter-fire and nonviolent discipline
  • Role play on maintaining discipline nonviolent discipline
  • Role play on maintaining nonviolent discipline
  • Dialogue between participants (exchange of experiences)

Additionally, on March 13 and 14, we had the great opportunity to share with the AVP Ecuador Facilitation Team