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Showing posts from June, 2014

Maura's death and preventing more like it

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A beautiful young woman died yesterday in El Salvador.   Maura Ramos was 24 years old and died from injuries she sustained in a traaffic accident.   It was a terrible loss for those who knew her.  Maura was active in service to her community, a teacher of English, a leader in her church who had spoken of being a pastor.  

Unfortunately, Maura's story is all too familiar in El Salvador. A thousand or more people die on El Salvador's roads each year. Through June 25, 454 persons had been killed in traffic accidents in El Salvador in 2014.   That is more than two per day.   Of those deaths, 247 people who died were pedestrians.   More than 3600 people have been injured.

In addition to Maura's death this weekend, another accident injured 28 people and killed a seven year-old when a truck crashed carrying 30 people with an inexperienced, under-aged driver who was speeding.   La Prensa Grafica chronicled other accidents over the weeked as well.

In a 2014 statement, transportati…

Children fleeing the violence of El Salvador

Researcher Elizabeth Kennedy has been conducting interviews in El Salvador to determine why so many children are leaving the country to try and get to the US. The answer lies in the gang violence which impacts so many communities where these children live. Her piece titled No Place for Childrren: Central America's Youth Exodus was published on the InsightCrime website.  Here is an excerpt:
What’s more, after meeting hundreds fleeing areas where their neighbors, family or friends have been threatened or killed, I am convinced the reasons lie in the violence. Among the first 322 interviews I did with Salvadoran child migrants conducted between January and May, the largest percentage (60.1 percent) of boys and girls list crime, gang threats or violence as a reason for their emigration. In the past two years, reports by KIND, UNHCR, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Women’s Refugee Commission have cited similar numbers from interviews with child migrants in …

El Salvador news

All of El Salvador is busy watching the World Cup, although El Salvador's national team could not qualify after 14 members of the team received lifetime bans from the sport for fixing gamges.  Meanwhile, there is a lot of hard news coming out of the country:

The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court ordered that a confidentiality order on the corruption case against former president Francisco Flores be lifted.   Flores is accused of corruption in connection with millions of dollars of aid/gifts received from the government of Taiwan.   He has fled the country and has been reported to be in the Dominican Republic or Panama.

The Constitutional Chamber also ruled on Friday that the election of the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Eugenio Chicas, was invalid.   The Chamber ruled that this position must be non-partisan and that Chicas' ties to the FMLN disqualified him.  Chicas received high marks from most observers earlier this year as he guided th…

Unaccompanied children flooding northwards

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Undocumented children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have been crossing the southern border of the US in record numbers.   The apprehensions of undocumented child migrants has surged in recent months according to several reports in the past two weeks.

According to the Pew Research Center:
A record number of unaccompanied children have been apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border since October, an influx so large that President Obama has called it an “urgent humanitarian situation.” To help house the overflow of children, emergency shelters have opened at military bases in California, Texas and Oklahoma, in addition to a facility in Arizona. And the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday unveiled a new $2 million legal aid program to help children navigate immigration courts.  Between Oct. 1, 2013, and May 31 of this year, 47,017 unaccompanied children under 18 traveling without a parent or guardian were taken into custody, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Tha…

Salvador Sánchez Cerén takes office

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Newly inaugurated president of El Salvador Salvador Sánchez Cerén

Salvador Sánchez Cerén was sworn in today, June 1, as El Salvador's second president from the left wing FMLN party.   From the AP: Rural schoolteacher turned rebel commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren was sworn in as president of El Salvador on Sunday, becoming the first former guerrilla will lead the Central American nation.  The 69-year-old leader began his 5-year term promising "honor, austerity, efficiency and transparency" at the inauguration ceremony attended by 13 heads of state or government....  The new president promised to focus on one of the country's biggest challenges: gang violence that has made El Salvador one of the world's most dangerous countries. He said he personally will head the System of Citizen Security.  Security "requires that we work together against organized crime, drug traffic, extortions and all expressions of violence," he said.  To spur development, Sanchez C…