The local Binghamton - El Charcón Sister City Project is part of a national network of US- El Salvador sister cities. In addition to projects organized with our sistered communities, the national network participates in advocacy and educational campaigns around issues like immigration and free trade - issues of immediate consequence to both countries. Our sister city network joins with CRIPDES in demanding that the poor be included in discussion of all free trade agreements negotiated between the US and Central America. CAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama and similar treaties must provide genuine safeguards for workers, the environment and the poor both North and South.
El Charcón has a village council which meets to discuss issues of common concern. The village's hopes for economic self-sufficiency are translated into self-help projects developed with the guidance of CRIPDES (the Association of Rural Communities for the Development of El Salvador). Representing over 300 rural communities, this Salvadoran grassroots movement values its partnership with the US-El Salvador Sister Cities network.
El Charcón's older residents are primarily agricultural workers. Income for both young and old is supplemented by occasional menial or factory jobs, plus remittances sent by relatives working in the States.
Thousand of civilians were displaced during El Salvador’s twelve year civil war. Among them was a group of families squatting on public land on the banks of a small river leading to the Pacific Ocean just a few minutes' walk away. Rather than return to the villages they had fled, these families decided to form a new community. By 1987 they had organized themselves, creating links with other villages in the province of Southern La Libertad. Eventually this community became the legal entity known today as El Charcón. Our Sister City project was formed in 1992 just as El Salvador was signing the Peace Accords that marked the end of brutal conflict that left 75,000 dead, plus many thousands disappeared or displaced. As we continue to construct this web site, we would love to hear from you. Send your comments and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org