Gray haired man with black-rimmed glasses sitting at a table looking at a dark haired woman who is speaking also sitting in a chair

Jose Artiga and Marina Alvarenga, Photos by Bob Studzinski

The Columbus community offered Bienvenido! to Marina Alvarenga from El Salvador on November 1, 2017. Alvarenga was on a tour through the country to speak with Central American activists about the current conditions in El Salvador and her campaign for Cabinet Department in 2018.

The event served as a reunion for former members of the Columbus, Ohio – Copapayo, El Salvador Sister City Project, an organization that was active throughout the late 80s to mid-90s that sent several delegations of local activists to bring humanitarian aid to the Salvadoran village during that country’s civil war – as well as other activist groups such as Pastors for Peace.

Alvarenga was accompanied by Jose Artiga, the Executive Director of SHARE-El Salvador, based in Berkeley who acted as herinterpreter. She spoke about her role as Deputy of the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador. She currently participates in two commissions: Women in Gender Equality and Justice and Human Rights. As an active member of the Women’s Committee. She assists in monitoring the application of the two biggest laws in favor of women’s rights in the country: Special Comprehensive Law for a life free of violence for women and the Law of Equality, Equity and the Eradication of Discrimination against women. To date, a trial and sentencing court have been installed in San Salvador and the committee is fighting for installation in other departments. She is also running a campaign to encourage more women to run for public office. 

In 1980, she incorporated into the resistance movement against Salvadorian militarism, participating along with her family in zones that were abandoned by their original inhabitants due to the repression. Currently she is a member of the FMLN party, running in the Cabinet Department (paracentral area of the country), an area known to have extreme right tendencies, where she has been fighting against mining exploitation. This area has been attacked by the right-wing party with murders and disappearances of community leaders.

Alvarenga’s visit included a tour of Ohio State University’s display of artifacts and documents from the Columbus-Copapayo Sister City Project, speaking to college classes, and more get-togethers with supporters.

One of Alvarenga’s requests of U.S. activists is to be an election observer for the Salvadoran elections which will be held on March 4, 2018. If you are interested, you can contact SHARE-El Salvador, 510-848-8487,, 2425 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704.