The situation in El Salvador
Although I don't usually think much of the Washington Times, the paper this week had a fairly good summary of the economic situation in the country last week. Here is an excerpt:
Analysts contend that much of the reluctance of foreign companies to invest in El Salvador stems from concern that the country has yet to overcome the atrocities of its violent past and lacks a strong judiciary to protect foreign investors.
"The level of corruption and impunity in doing business here remains high," noted Alvaro Trigueros Arguello, an economic analyst for Fusades, the leading think tank in El Salvador.
"Legal security" for foreign investment remains a "major concern," conceded Mrs. Mayora. The continuing inefficacy of the country's courts to prosecute criminals in a timely manner has soured public opinion at home about the attitude the Arena government has toward the Salvadoran people and frightened foreign firms regarding the judicial bureaucracy of doing day-to-day business in the country.
"It's best not to deal with the justice system here," said Tim Bovensiepen, an executive in San Salvador with German printing-press manufacturer Heidelberg, who noted that when debts incurred by domestic clients go unpaid, the legal wrangling and red tape involved make it unprofitable to seek payment by taking a client to court.
El Salvador's judiciary has also earned a reputation for being soft on organized crime, which is said to traffic billions of dollars worth of cocaine each year from Colombia and elsewhere in South America to the United States and Europe.