#CoDYouthLeads: Lu’s story

Growing up in post-conflict El Salvador, Lu witnessed the challenges of building peace and democracy in her country. As one of the founders of El Salvador’s newest political party, as a teacher of politics at a local university and as an international electoral mission observer, she shares her experience of working to promote democracy and highlights that all citizens, including young people, should be involved in shaping the present and the future of their countries.

 “All citizens must work to building peace and democracy for the future”-  Lu Argueta, El Salvador. 

I was a war-time baby, born during the 12-year Salvadoran civil war. My parents had to send my sisters and me away to a neighboring country until the Final Offensive concluded. I do not have any recollections of this moment in my life, but I know what it’s like to live in a country that traded bombs and guns for peace accords. I grew up alongside democracy, and that taught me valuable lessons of how fragile it is and how important it is to preserve it.

The Warsaw Declaration defines 19 essential principles for the effective establishment and consolidation of democracy. Almost three decades after the civil war, El Salvador is still striving to fulfill some of these principles, sometimes taking steps backward rather than forward. And though it is a slow and complicated process, all citizens must work towards building peace and democracy for the future.

My education and the life lessons that caused me to understand my privileges also meant I should give back to a country mired by poverty and lack of opportunities.   As a professor at a local university, I teach politics to students and encourage them to get involved. As an international electoral mission observer, I have helped democrats and reformers in other countries carry out free and fair elections.  As a human, I believe it’s imperative to aid those most vulnerable in our societies and to give them a voice.

Democracy in Latin America is challenged daily. I decided to get involved in the creation and establishment of El Salvador’s newest political party, Nuestro Tiempo (“Our Time”). Serving on the party’s Directors Committee, I learned the importance of encouraging our government institutions and civil society to undertake freedom, human rights, and the rule of law as core principles. My mission is to contribute to help meet these objectives and to ensure they protect all citizens.