Youth will play an important part in these elections, and the youth vote could make the difference locally in the very tight elections race in Santiago Texacuangos. The incumbents, ARENA, are sure they will return to office, while the FMLN is sure that the new right wing party, GANA will take enough of the right wing votes from ARENA to win. ARENA won lasts elections by a margin of 1,200, so if GANA takes over 1,000 votes from the former ARENA supporters, the race will be close.
CEIBA has been getting youth ready for these elections, and will make their voice heard in the first ever debate in the history of Santiago Texacuangos, which will take place this Saturday, March 3rd in the Camilo Campos School at 9am. We are expecting nearly 300 people, including each of the 5 candidates for mayor (from the parties FMLN, GANA, CN, Esperanza, and ARENA), members of those parties, and 6 different youth groups from throughout the municipality. The town is abuzz with excitement at the first ever debate, and a chance to have real dialogue with candidates. While the focus of the debate is youth issues, the organized women will also be presenting their women`s platform, and other members of civil society will attend.
To get youth ready to the debate, and help them form good questions for candidates, Jonathan Velasquez, co-founder and long time volunteer of CEIBA is a lawyer, and has been giving workshops in communities about the Youth Law, Electoral Process, and doing participatory community diagnostics that a young person from each community will present to the candidates.
|Until what age are you young? (answer from santa maria: in spirit one doesnt stop being young until he/she loses the iniciative to learn)|
|Young people in La Cuchilla brainstorming youth rights.|
The event will be covered by youth journalists CEIBA and CIPJES trained in the VOZZ project earlier this month, when 40 young people came to San Salvador from around the country Feb 10-12 for a jounrnalism bootcamp. Youth were given video camaras as well as training in radio, interview techniques, foto journalism, and more ( see www.vozz.com.sv for more information, and to watch bilingual and local salvadoran election coverage from the youth`s perspective).