El Salvador: AIDS Activist Threatened with Death

An AIDS educator in El Salvador has been threatened with death in an apparent effort to stop his disease prevention efforts. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is treating the threat very seriously and is publicly calling on the Salvadoran government to do everything in its power to safeguard the educators life.

The AIDS educator, whom advocates are referring to by his first name Wilfredo in order to conceal his identity, has been forced to go into hiding. A Salvadoran national, he had been working since July with the United States based Oscar Romero AIDS Project. His tasks included distributing condoms and educational materials in some of San Salvador's poorest neighborhoods.

Wilfredo's efforts had come to the attention of local bar and store owners, some of whom had barred him from their establishments. On 5 November 1994 Wilfredo was followed by a black Nissan with tinted windows. Two men stepped out of the car and pulled a gun on him, warning that they were "here to clean up the city and if AIDS doesn't kill the faggots, we will." Later that same day, the assailants stopped Wilfredo two blocks from his house where they announced that they would kill him unless he ceased his work and left the El Salvador within thirty days.

Emergency faxes are urgently needed to ensure that the government of El Salvador do everything in its power to ensure the safety of Wilfredo and all health care workers. Letters should make the following points:

  1. The government of El Salvador should expend every resource at its disposal to protect the life of Wilfredo and all its public health workers. Pronouncements by the new administration that it is breaking with the previous culture of impunity are bellied by the continuation of this sort of assault.
  2. 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. There is much more at stake then the safety of AIDS educators, the future course of the AIDS epidemic in El Salvador will be greatly influenced by the government's response to this case.

Write to:

Sr. Presidente de la República
S. E. Dr. Armando Calderón Sol
Casa Presidencial
Ave. de los Diplomaticos
Barrio San Jacinto
San Salvador
fax: +503-271-0950
Lic. Ugo Barrera
Vice President of Public Security
Centro del Gobierno
San Salvador
fax: +503-221-0226