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Tribute to Candido: Building an El Salvador of Hope with Opportunity

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the 35th anniversary of our Guarjila community. On that same night my friend Candido died in a Salvadoran prison, another victim of institutional violence, under the guise of the "state of exception." Days following his arrest I spoke with his 90-year-old mother who expressed concern about her 61-year-old son's health. She feared the prison would deny him the medication he required to live. She knew he was in

danger. Candido was born in 1961, and like many of his generation grew up with hard work, family and the voice of St. Romero on the radio. That generation also knew exploitation, violence and war. The bombings of the early '80s forced Candido out of El Salvador into Honduras where he eventually was captured and sent to a UN refugee camp. There he was safe from the bombs but barbed wire fences and Honduran military surveillance were constant

reminders that he wasn't home, nor free. He would soon leave the camps behind and return to El Salvador to fight in the civil war which he hoped would bring an end to the violence, misery and injustice of his youth. His dream was to be part of a change to create opportunity for all Salvadorans, not just a privileged few. It was that dream and sacrifice that brought his and other families back to Chalatenango to build Guarjila in 1987. Many years later, the poor Salvadoran economy and continued lack of opportunity would make him a refugee again, this time in the United States. Like 3,000,000 Salvadoran refugees, he worked to support his family and his country from afar, always with the hope of returning.

Over the past few years his lifelong search for opportunity and home would bring him back to El Salvador where he ran a local business, and enjoyed his time being a dad and abuelo to his children and grandchildren. I will remember him by his overt smile and warmth of personality (only matched by his son Gio,

shown in the photo to the left. Today I ask you to help us honor Candido and his dream of a better life, by becoming part of the Tamarindo. The Tamarindo you have helped build over the past thirty years provides the space and resources where young men and women can discern their own future, a future for their families, in their community, in their country. Know that your support of education, women's development projects, recreation, health, community organizing, leadership, arts and small business creation is building a future for Salvadorans in El Salvador. May our vocation to the Tamarindo Foundation honor Candido and his generation by together building an El Salvador of hope with opportunity. May our response to all injustice be love. Candido Rivera Presente!

Rest in Peace.

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