The limited good news from El Salvador

A recent article in Americas Quarterly is  titled "The Good News About El Salvador,"  and was written by researchers Robert Muggah and Katherine Aguirre.   Muggah is the co-founder of a Brazilian think tank named the  the Igarapé Institute which is hosting a conference on urban security and violence prevention in San Salvador next week. 

The researchers described the "good news" they found in El Salvador:
But today, 26 years since the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords, El Salvador has reason to be hopeful: After years of sustained investment in security and violence prevention, the country's murder rate is on its way down. The same is true of violence-plagued neighbors Honduras and Guatemala, where murder rates have fallen dramatically in recent years. This regional turnaround can offer lessons to policymakers from Brasília to Mexico City.   That’s not to say that all is well; violence in the so-called Northern Triangle is still tragically commonplace. …

Lost TPS? Go to Qatar

One of the stranger developments in the story of increasing deportations of Salvadorans from the US are the efforts of El Salvador's government to find them a home in Qatar.  One year ago, a Qatar emissary was in El Salvador for the 25th anniversary of the Peace Accords, and the office of El Salvador's president reported that they discussed the possibility of greater investment by Qatar in El Salvador.  Exactly a year later,  the Salvadoran government reported that it was now discussing sending migrant workers to Qatar.
According to Reuters: El Salvador is discussing a deal with Qatar under which Salvadoran migrants facing the loss of their right to stay in the United States could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country, the government of the Central American nation said on Tuesday....  Presidential communications chief Eugenio Chicas said El Salvador was in talks to see how Salvadorans could be employed in Qatar, a wealthy country of some 2.6 million people t…

26th anniversary of Peace Accords

Tuesday, January 16, is the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords which ended El Salvador's civil war.   To commemorate the date, here are some images from the Monument to Peace and Reconciliation in San Salvador which was unveiled last year.   For a full description of the Monument, visit Linda's El Salvador Blog.

With few local English speakers, call centers need deportees

Education First recently published the seventh edition of its world English Proficiency Index.    The Index ranks countries by the English language skills of their population.  In that index, El Salvador finished last among all the Latin American countries and finished 69th out of the 80 countries worldwide included in the Index.  El Salvador's English proficiency was classified as "very low."
Spending a great deal of time in El Salvador, this was not particularly surprising to me.   Although Salvadoran public schools purport to teach English, I have met very few high school students who have achieved much more than being able to ask my name and to count in English.   

This lack of locally produced English language skills explains why call centers, which are a major industry in El Salvador, are looking forward to growing numbers of deportations under the Trump administration, especially with the cancellation of TPS.  Reuters recently reported:
The [call center] industry…

The race for mayor of San Salvador

The mayor's office of San Salvador is one of the most prominent political positions in El Salvador after the position of president.   It is a position which has gone back and forth between the major political parties over the past 25 years.    The current holder of the post, the popular Nayib Bukele, is not running for re-election after he was expelled from his former party, the FMLN.

The candidates proposed by the major political parties are:

Ernesto Muyshondt -- ARENAJackeline Rivera -- FMLN
Both candidates are currently deputies in the National Assembly.  Opinion polls released in November and December of 2017 gave a fairly substantial lead to Muyshondt, but there are still large groups of undecided voters.    It could be that voters are undecided because they do not know who the candidates for mayor are.   The recent UCA poll showed that more than 80% of those polled did not know the names of the two major party candidates.

The announced proposals of both Muyshondt and Rivera a…

Trump's words

President Trump's use of the term "shithole" to describe El Salvador along with Haiti and African nations was immediately and widely reported in El Salvador. 

El Salvador's government issued a statement lamenting the expressions and demanding respect for the "noble and valiant" Salvadoran people and reminding the White House that Salvadorans had helped rebuild the Pentagon after 9-11 and had helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

US Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes needed to tweet last night:
Estados Unidos valora la amistad y la relación con el pueblo Salvadoreño. He tenido el privilegio de viajar alrededor de este hermoso país y conocer a miles de Salvadoreños. Es un honor vivir y trabajar aquí. Seguiremos 100% comprometidos. — Jean Manes (@USAmbSV) January 12, 2018 The United State values the friendship and the relationship with the Salvadoran people.  I have had the privilege to travel around this beautiful country and to meet thousa…

Salvadorans pessimistic about the country

Every year at this time, the Institute for Public Opinion at the University of Central America releases poll results concerning Salvadorans evaluations of the state of their country and intentions to vote if it is a voting year.    This year's poll results show a population which is unhappy with the current situation and does not see a government which is improving matters.    The results do not bode well for the governing FMLN in upcoming elections.

Here are some of the polling results.

62.4% believe crime has increased compared to the prior year.54.6% believe that poverty increased in 2017.59.9% are not interested or only slightly interested in voting in national elections on March 4.Only 22.7% have any confidence in the upcoming electoral process.77.2% believe government security policies are having little or no effect on crime67.1% believe President Salvador Sánchez Cerén is governing badly, a number which has steadily increased during his administration.
In the upcoming electi…