This last Sunday April 10th, 14 year old volunteer Erick Beltrán was murdered while on shift at the Quetzaltepeque base of Comandos de Salvamento. Below is a formal response from the CDS Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors and Executive Management of Comandos de Salvamento significantly mourns death of young 14yo volunteer Erick Beltran due to an incident that occurred on Sunday April 10, within the premises of the CDS Quezaltepeque Delegation.
The murder is an attack on the neutral voluntary work of the Comandos de Salvamento whose mission is “to rescue the lives of people, when in danger from causes of nature or of man ”
CDS leadership calls for groups involved with violent activities to respect the humanitarian work of Comandos de Salvamento and other EMS agencies.
CDS work under the principle of being a neutral impartial and independent institution. We have a great commitment to the Salvadoran people suffering from the effects of violence, and we continue working to bring relief to those in need.
We offer our sincere condolences to the family of first responder Erick Beltrán and we join in solidarity with the local branch of Quezaltepeque which has more than 20 years serving the community of northern San Salvador.
CDS would like to take the time and ask all to remember the terrorist attack in Mejicanos two years ago today when a bus from route 47 was taken hostage by gang members and driven to an isolated street where the victims were locked inside, gasolined, and lit on fire. Comando veteran EMS responder Luis Colato recounts that it was, “the most sad scene we had witnessed since the general offensive in 89, the gang members were pointing guns at us not letting us do our work”. While some were able to escape through windows, most later died at the hospital due to smoke inhalation and advanced burns.
In September of 1999, Luis Colato, Efraím Solis, Roberto Cruz, and Mark Hoffman attended the 5th international conference on Disasters and risk management seminar at the Palace of Conventions in Havana Cuba. We were also invited to see the infamous ELAM, Latin American Medical School in Baracoa the year of its founding. In response to Hurricane Mitch, Fidel Castro formed the school giving full ride scholarships to Latin Americans, North Americans, Haitians, and Africans. The only requirement is that the students return to their country of origin and work with the poor. Since 1999, the ELAM has graduated more than seven Salvadoran classes on the Caribbean Island. For more information about the conference, please visit here, and the school here. CDS were grateful for the time spent meeting Cuban friends and getting to know the culture. We welcome any ELAM graduates to colaborate with us.
Luis Colato pictured in the mid 2000’s assisting a female affected by teargas during confrontations between street vendors and riot police.
Regarding the illness that Luis Colato exhibited last week, we are hearing many versions and will release formal information regarding what happened soon, but for now this is what we understand. A week ago Luis started to present with vertigo, incoherent speech. He was complaining of headaches yet attributed them to migraines he had on a regular basis. He then had a convulsion. It is suspected that Luis may have developed a clot from the head injuryand this caused a stroke. He was flown via Helicopter from Santa Ana to San Salvador and admitted to the Social Security Hospital on March 8th. He was intubated due to labored breathing. Doctors operated and drained 60ml of blood from his cranium to relieve pressure. The wound was left open for 72 hours to drain cephalic fluid. Members of Comandos de Salvamento, friends and family did a Vigil March on Tuesday March 13 which stopped in front of the ISSS Hospital at 6pm. Luis has been in a coma for almost a week and will undergo another operation to relieve pressure from swelling on Thursday March 15th. We asked for your prayers during this trying time for the institution. Luis has served the institution since the mid 1980s as EMT, EMS Educator, and Board Member. Luis is not only an integral part of our Medical Services, and Disaster Mitigation, but an important part of our family.
EMS and SAR team members from CDS and the Salvadoran Green Cross Veteran Association commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 Earthquake by placing a floral wreath in the downtown building of Ruben Dario. Many buildings downtown collapsed on victims trapping them and causing many deaths and injuries. Urban Rescue teams endured many nights without sleep recovering victims. Pictured are the mayor of San Salvador, well known professional Héctor Mendez of the infamous “Los Topos” Mexican international SAR team, William Urias of the Salvadoran Green Cross Veterans Association, Edgar Jhony Ramos of Comandos, and “El Piocha” from Salvadoran Green Cross. Foto: CDS/Carlos Fuentes