Polling looks at 2019 presidential election in El Salvador

The recently released poll from the UCA included a section of results concerning Salvadorans'  preferences heading towards the 2019 presidential elections:

As previously noted, the polls don't look good for the FMLN next year.   But this poll provided the first good news for the conservative ARENA party.  Although on the question of "who is the best candidate" ARENA's nominee Carlos Calleja trails Nayib Bukele 50% to 20%,  when voters are asked which party they will vote for, Bukele's Nuevas Ideas leads ARENA by only 8.5%.  For those who may not be familiar with presidential elections in El Salvador, the ballot does not contain the names of candidates, but only the logos of the various political parties.  Voters mark the ballot with an X over the party of their choice for president. 

But there is a long time to go, and Bukele's party is not yet even officially recognized or entitled to be on the ballot.

The failing grades for the FMLN government

This weekend party members of the FMLN in El Salvador will vote in internal elections to choose a candidate for president in 2019.   Their possible choices are Hugo Martinez, the foreign minister, or Gerson Martinez, the minister of public works.   As the party makes its choice, the FMLN may want to reflect on the results of a recent poll by the UCA regarding Salvadorans' perceptions of the current president from the FMLN, Salvador Sánchez Cerén.

Has the government of the FMLN fulfilled its campaign promises?
71.5% -- No.  How does Sánchez Cerén govern the country?
67.5% -- Badly  What is the principal achievement of Sánchez Cerén?
56.7% -- None  How has level of crime changed?
70.9% -- It has increased.  How has economy changed?
69.3% -- It has gotten worse. Obviously these very negative perceptions of the current FMLN administration parallel the FMLN's major defeat in the national elections of last March.   The poll would also indicate that whichever candidate is chosen by the pa…

FMLN government sticks with Venezuela's Maduro

The left wing FMLN government of President Salvador Sánchez Cerén sent its congratulations to president Nicolas Maduro for his reelection Sunday in elections seen by most of the world community as a sham.  A statement from the Salvadoran president's office called the elections in Venezuela a fundamental step in the advance of democracy in the South American nation.
In doing so, El Salvador stood apart from most of its Latin American neighbors.   From al Jazeera:
Condemning Maduro's re-election, the Lima Group (a group of 14 Latin American countries) plus Canada said the members' diplomats in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, would return to their respective countries for consultations.   Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) did not acknowledge the results and in a video posted on his Twitter account, he said: "Yesterday was an infamous day for the democracy of the Americas ... we do not recognise him as the legitimate president …

Romero canonization - October 14 in Rome

The Vatican announced yesterday that the ceremony in the Roman Catholic church to canonize slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero as a saint will take place on October 14 in Rome.   Romero will be canonized in a ceremony which will include five other saints of the church.

The ceremony for Romero's beatification in 2015 drew hundreds of thousands to the streets of San Salvador.  The choice of Rome as the location for his canonization had been pointed to for several months, but Salvadorans were still holding out hope for a ceremony in Romero's home country. 

From Catholic Herald Online
The Salvadoran bishops’ conference and many Salvadorans had hoped Pope Francis would preside over the canonization in San Salvador, particularly because of the difficulty and expense of traveling to Rome. Others, however, argued that holding the ceremony at the Vatican makes it clear that Blessed Romero is a saint for the entire Church, not just for the Church in El Salvador.  Salvado…

The serpent that always bites the feet of the shoeless

For the past four days, El Salvador has watched as families in a marginalized, informal community have been evicted from their dwellings to make room for a luxury commercial and residential development.    The families reside in Comunidad El Espino, on the western edge of San Salvador, and their story is an all too familiar one of the powerlessness of the poor against the plans of the rich and powerful, their lawyers and a compliant judicial system.

Comunidad El Espino is located just south of Monseñor Romero Boulevard in the San Salvador suburb of Antiguo Cuscatlán.   The community is adjacent to the headquarters of El Salvador's Ministry of Foreign Relations and across from a luxury development.

All of this land was originally part of a large coffee finca called "El Espino" on the southeastern slopes of the San Salvador volcano.  For decades, the land was owned by  the Dueñas family, one of El Salvador's so-called  "14 families."  The Dueñas family was pa…

Tony Saca to be tried for money laundering

This article first appeared on the website of InsightCrime .
by Parker Asmann

A former president in El Salvador is set to stand trial for allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the state to personal accounts, which could lead to him becoming the first former president of the Central American nation to face a criminal conviction and jail time on such charges.

Elías Antonio Saca, who was president of El Salvador from 2004 to 2009, and six other members of his administration, will stand trial for allegedly embezzling $300 million from state coffers into personal accounts, La Prensa Gráfica reported.

Saca and his associates were arrested in October 2016 on corruption charges and accused of embezzlement, illicit association and money laundering.

According to Factum, Saca passed a law shortly after taking office in 2004 that approved the “internal regulation of the use of public funds.” This allowed him to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s accounts th…

Renewable energy in El Salvador

El Salvador's electricity is currently generated from a variety of sources, with the largest quantity of installed electrical generating capacity coming from fuel oil burning generators:

Fossil fuels (primarily fuel oil) - 42%Hydro - 30%Biomass - 14%Geothermal - 11%Solar -- 3%
To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which contribute to greenhouse gasses and must be imported from volatile international markets, El Salvador would need to increase the use of renewable energy sources.  El Salvador has numerous renewable energy sources as described in this August 2017 report from the US government:
El Salvador contains vast water reserves and receives large amounts of sunlight. Therefore biomass, wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal energy opportunities exist in the country.  In order to facilitate the projects organizations such as: The Inter-American Development Bank, USAID and OPIC fund major energy projects with in the country.  Solar is the newest source to start contributing t…