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Showing posts from June, 2017

The refugees of El Salvador

June 20 has been declared by the United Nations as World Refugee Day. Un Secretary General António Guterres spoke of the need to protect the millions of refugees the world over:


Don't stop the refugees; stop the wars that produce them. #WithRefugeespic.twitter.com/XfrzZiG6fr — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 20, 2017

El Salvador is one of the countries at the center of the global refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of its citizens internally displaced or forced to flee the country for other locations of safety, primarily the US. I have written often here about the crisis of those forced to move by gang violence and persecution in the country, and of the tens of thousands seeking refuge in the US.

On this World Refugee Day, citizens of countries throughout the world must look for ways to advocate for the refugee and for safe places for children to grow and develop free of war and violence.





Centenary of last great eruption of El Boquerón

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June 7 was the 100 year anniversary of the last great eruption of the San Salvador volcano, also known as "El Boquerón."  The eruption occurred on June 7, 1917 at 8:11 p.m.    It was preceded by two killer earthquakes at 6:55 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. which killed approximately 1050 people and left only 200 of the 9000 houses in the city intact.

The 1917 eruption was a flank eruption of the volcano along one fissure. During this eruption, the crater lake inside the Boqueron evaporated and a cinder cone appeared within the crater, christened 'Boqueroncito'.   Lava would continue to flow for five months after the initial eruption.

El Diario de Hoy has a collection of historic images of the 1917 eruption at this link.   There is a special exhibition regarding the eruption going on now at the Guzman national anthropology museum (MUNA).







Salvadorans give their president a failing grade

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The Public Opinion Institute at the University of Central America (IUDOP) released a public opinion poll Tuesday concerning Salvadorans' views of their government and the political parties.  

 The results for president Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the FMLN were not good.    His job approval rating on a scale of 1-10 has fallen to 4.79, the lowest of the past five presidents at the same point in their terms in office.  The results show a Salvadoran public who are very unhappy with the current administration:

61% say Sánchez Cerén is governing poorly.
68% have seen no positive changes since he assumed office.
59% cannot name any achievements during his administration.
57% believe the country is worse off than when Sánchez Cerén started as president.
70% believe the economy has worsened.
62% believe crime has increased.
66% believe that the exceptional measures have done little or nothing to reduce gang-related crime.
68% believe the president is manipulated by others.
81% believe the work of t…

El Salvador's climate risk

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The decision of US president Donald Trump to pull his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement has the potential to stymy global efforts to prevent additional increases in global average temperatures and associated climate changes.

El Salvador and other countries in Central America are particularly at risk from the impact of these climate changes.  El Salvador ranks number 15 out of 180 countries on the 2017 Global Climate Risk Index which is based on the country's exposure to extreme weather events during the twenty year period between 1996 and 2015.   The index takes into account both deaths and injuries as well as property and economic losses.  


Using a different measure, El Salvador ranked number 11 out of 171 countries on the 2016 World Risk Index.   That index ranks both a country's exposure to natural disasters as well as the capacity to respond to such disasters.

El Salvador is a signatory to the Paris agreement and is well aware of the effects, present and future, o…

Three years under Salvador Sánchez Cerén

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On June 1, 2017, president Salvador Sánchez Cerén completed his third year in office.  El Salvador's progress under his administration has been mixed at best.   Here is an overview.

One achievement of the current administration was a significant increase in the minimum wage in the formal sector.   Although the minimum wage still does not cover a minimal cost of living and agricultural workers lag well behind manufacturing jobs, the increase was significant.

The government continues to expand the successful Ciudad Mujer program which focuses on providing social services to women in an integrated fashion at several locations around the country.

Economic growth in the country remains positive but low.   The government reported its most recent annual economic growth rate at 2.4%, below a regional average of 2.8% and below the rate needed to see much improvement in the lives of working Salvadorans.

The government's finances are a mess.   There is a stalemate in the National Assem…