100th anniversary of Romero's birth

August 15 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero.   Romero was beatified by the Roman Catholic church in 2015, and the country's faithful continue to wait expectantly for news that the church will canonize Romero and officially give him the title of saint.

The pre-eminent blogger about all things Oscar Romero, Carlos Colorado, shared this post today on Romero's birthday:

Happy 100th Birthday, Blessed Romero!
Blessed Oscar Romero, the martyred Salvadoran archbishop beatified by Pope Francis in 2015, was born one hundred years ago this week (August 15) and his centennial was marked by devotees around the world. At a memorial service at St. George’s Cathedral in London on Saturday, August 12, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of Romero’s canonization cause, reminded over 500 attendees gathered there that they joined faithful “in El Salvador and in other parts of the world, to remember this shepherd for his Gospel witness that brings …

FMLN and ARENA paid gangs for votes in 2014 elections according to witness

There is currently a trial going on in El Salvador where the defendants are government officials and mediators charged with improperly granting concessions and benefits to leaders of El Salvador's gangs in connection with the so-called 2012 gang truce or "tregua".   In the course of that trial, a gang leader who cut a deal with prosecutors testified last week that the country's leading political parties delivered a combined $350,000 to the gangs in return for delivering votes in the 2014 presidential elections.

The witness goes by the moniker "Nalo" and his real name is Carlos Eduardo Burgos Nuila.   Nalo was part of the leadership of Barrio 18 Revolucionarios -- one of the two factions of the Barrio 18 gang in El Salvador.   Nalo was one of the gang leaders outside of the prisons who were called on to execute the orders of the imprisoned gang chiefs in connection with the 2012 gang truce.

The ex-leader of the 18 Revolucionarios gang testified that the FML…

Trial reveals government involvement in 2012 gang truce in El Salvador

This article originally appeared on the website of InsightCrime under the title El Salvador Gang Truce Was ‘State Policy’: Trial Testimony
Written by Angelika Albaladejo
Wednesday, 09 August 2017

A trial has begun in El Salvador against several officials for their alleged illegal activity related to a controversial gang truce between 2012 to 2014. The testimony and evidence presented is poised to shed new light on the links between politicians and gangs in the Central American country.

Early testimony and public statements by several officials during the early days of the trial suggested that the truce was a "state policy" endorsed by former President Mauricio Funes. Witnesses also said that the impetus for the gang truce did not come from the gangs or civil society, but from the government itself.

Former truce mediator Bishop Fabio Colindres testified that he and Raúl Mijango, a former mediator and vocal proponent for the truce, were "invited" by Defense Minister Da…

Teen pregnancy in El Salvador

The United Nations Population Fund is reminding us about the high and tragic costs of pregnancies among girls as young as 13 in El Salvador: Pregnancy can be a dangerous time, especially for girls whose bodies are not yet mature enough for childbearing. Globally, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19.  Yet early motherhood is common in El Salvador. Between 2013 and 2015, one out of every three pregnancies was to an adolescent mother, according information from the Ministry of Health....  Adolescent pregnancy is one of the biggest sexual and reproductive health challenges in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Factors contributing to the region’s high rates of teen pregnancy include widespread gender-based violence, lack of comprehensive sexuality education, and barriers to sexual and reproductive health services. In connection with its work, the UNPF has published a new document with the testimonies of 14 child mothers from every…

Perceptions of policing in El Salvador

Last week researchers from the Public Opinion Institute at the University of Central America (IUDOP) and Florida International University released the results of polling concerning the perceptions of the Salvadoran public concerning the police.  The report is titled Legitimacy and Public Confidence in the Police in El Salvador.

The report surveyed persons throughout El Salvador about their interactions with police and their views of police practices.  Although many persons, especially the youth, have been subjected to abuse by police, there is still significant tolerance for such practices.  While 60% of Salvadoran believe that the police should follow the law in combating crime, 40.1% would approve the use of torture in dealing with gang leaders, 34.6% would approve extrajudicial executions and 17.2% are okay with practices of "social cleansing."

These relatively high levels of acceptance for abuses directed at gang members, no doubt lead to respondents reporting high leve…

August parades, festivals and vacations

El Salvador is starting the annual week of August vacations, centered around the festival of Salvador del Mundo for the capital city. The mayor's office in San Salvador has this promotional video:

Rainbow pride crosswalks

Rainbow colored pedestrian crosswalks in San Salvador support the rights of the LGBTQ community according to an article by Melissa Vida at GlobalVoices titled El Salvador’s ‘Rainbow Crosswalk’ Promotes Pedestrian Safety and LGBTQ Rights.  The sidewalks first appeared at the end of June.   Vida writes: In El Salvador, more than 20 artists and LGBTQ rights activists painted crosswalks with the colors of the rainbow LGBTQ pride flag between the Boulevard of Heroes and Andes Avenue. This is the first time that a Central American country has authorized support for the LGBTQ community in this way.  To have a permanent work of art in the center of the country's capital city, the Salvadorian LGBTQ community achieved an important advance in their visibility and their normalization in society, something that goes far beyond the Gay Pride Month which is organized in June. While I have my doubts that the crosswalks will have any impact on pedestrian safety in San Salvador's notoriously da…