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Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability During Congressional Delegation Visit to El Salvador

August 10, 2019

San Salvador, El Salvador – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a press availability at Central America University during the congressional delegation’s visit to El Salvador.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. McGovern.  Thank you.  Chairman McGovern is the Chairman of the Rules Committee, and he was an aide too with Chairman Moakley, he was the Chair of the Rules Committee, and that’s how we were able to do so much for El Salvador at that time and continued to do so.

It is an honor to be with all of our delegation.  We have serious, as you heard, Chairs of Committees, we have leaders on their own Committees, but we have four Members of the Freshman class with us so, as well as our established Members, we have the future with us in this delegation, and we’re very, very proud of that.

It is an honor to be here with Jim McGovern.  Again, he has been a champion – champion is too meager a word – champion, inspiration, spiritual leader for us in the Congress on the subject of justice for all in El Salvador and indeed, throughout the world, but El Salvador has been a special focus.

I associate myself with the remarks that he made.  All of us have spoken about that in the course of the day, we’ve had an intense schedule.

But I leave here not only inspired by the people we heard from, the displaced persons, the victims of El Mozote, but also to take back with me this gift from Dorila Márquez who survived El Mozote.

I told her that in the middle eighties before I was a Member of Congress, I was a member of a human rights delegation from California, from California – bipartisan, not political — to El Mozote.  And, after we finished that meeting that evening, we went to see President Duarte.  And, we expressed the concern that we had about justice not being done.

That was more than 30 years ago.  More than 30 years ago.  Today, we will deliver that same message to the President when we visit him.

But the comments that Mr. McGovern made about what we will do when we go home are not just something to say here.  They are our commitment.

I want to say a special thank you to El Salvador because, while I was on that trip – again, not as a Member of Congress, but as a human rights activist – I was at an orphanage with little children – little children.  And, it broke my heart to see them alone – well not – without parents there and without family.  And, in my own heart of hearts, I prayed for them constantly and I made a promise to them, which they couldn’t hear because it was in my heart, that I would never forget them.

And, they intensified my commitment to human rights in such a way that coming back here, now, to hear some of the same concerns that are the cause for migration to the United States.

And when we see the President – we’ll probably have a press opportunity then – we’ll talk about security, prosperity and governance.  The three pillars of our cooperation with El Salvador.

And how – as I often quote, Pope Paul VI said, ‘If you want peace, work for justice.’  If you want peace in your society, work for justice.  We’re all here to work for justice, together.

We’re here to pay our respects to the people of El Salvador.  We’re here to listen and learn, to how – solutions they are suggesting, whether a displaced person or a victim of violence in another way.  We’re here to show our cooperation, to go forward to keep people here.

We heard today, ‘Die or leave.’  We want them to live and stay in their own country, contributing to the greatness of El Salvador.  And again, we’re honored to be here on this campus.  I visited here in the nineties as a Member of Congress and Father Andrew and Father Trojeira welcomed us – we were proud to lay a wreath at the burial site of the sixth priest, and to do so in the presence of Chairman Jim McGovern was a great honor.

Thank you so much.