Showing posts from July, 2018

Two final pronouncements of the Constitutional Chamber

Today El Salvador's National Assembly is choosing new magistrates for the country's Supreme Judicial Court.   Two final decisions by the outgoing magistrates from the Constitutional Chamber of the Court, show why the choice of these magistrates is so important.

One decision has profound implications for the upcoming presidential election.  The Chamber issued a ruling which could lead to the de-registration of Cambio Democratico (CD) as a political party.   The Chamber declared that the Salvadoran election authorities must decide whether to cancel CD's status after it failed to obtain 50,000 votes in 2015 national legislative elections. If the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) now cancels CD's registration as a party it will block a possible route for former San Salvador mayor Nayib Bukele to get on the 2019 presidential ballot.  Bukele had formed an alliance with CD because of concerns that his own political party Nuevas Ideas may not have met the deadlines to be formed…

One family's migration tales

NBC News is sharing a story of two student athlete brothers from El Salvador, who arrived in the US undocumented but went on to success in soccer and school.   Their story illustrates many aspects of the story of migration from El Salvador to the US.   Today these two brothers must live in El Salvador, deported by a Trump administration which did not care about their family ties in the US or the contributions the boys could make to their community. 

NBC's report begins: In just five days, Diego and Lizandro Claros Saravia went from being promising soccer players with college aspirations to deportees sent to one of the most dangerous countries on earth.  On Aug. 2, 2017 — despite a campaign by their family, coaches and teammates in suburban Maryland, where they'd attended high school — the brothers were put on a plane back to El Salvador, saying goodbye to the place they had called home for nearly a decade.  “I felt very sad and devastated because I spent a long time fighting …

Cases of 40 year old crimes by Salvadoran guerrillas revived by high court

As four prominent magistrates of El Salvador's Constitutional Chamber finish off their terms in office, they have directed that two dormant cases of murder by guerrilla fighters be reopened.   
One of the case involves the abduction and murder in 1979 of South Africa's ambassador to El Salvador, Archibald Gardner Dunn.  From a 1979 UPI report of the kidnapping of the ambassador: SAN SALVADOR, Nov. 28 (UPI) — A group of armed men surrounded South Africa's Ambassador to El Salvador today as he left the embassy here, forced him into the back of a truck and drove off, witnesses said.  Embassy employees said there were 14 to 18 men in the group and that they were armed with submachine guns. The employees said the kidnapping occurred as Ambassador Archibald Gardner Dunn, 60 years old, walked out of the embassy with his chauffeur at about noon. From the BBC:
Almost a year later, the left-wing rebel group Popular Liberation Forces said it had killed the diplomat.  President Sánch…

Bukele -- the courts and the gangs

I have written before that Nayib Bukele has to overcome many obstacles between now and February 3, 2019 before Salvadorans can cast any votes for him for president.    He appeared to have overcome one of them in June when he announced an alliance with the small party Cambio Democratico (CD).  That alliance would allow him to be nominated as  a candidate of that party if, as appears likely, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal rules that his own party, Nuevas Ideas, was formed too late to nominate a candidate for the 2019 elections.

Now, just days after Bukele announced his alliance with CD, the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Judicial Court has apparently decided to take up a previously dormant lawsuit which threatens to cancel the existence of CD as a political party. The action claims CD should have lost its legal standing for failure to achieve 50,000 votes in the 2015 legislative elections.  The Constitutional Chamber is expected to render a decision before July 15 w…

God and the gangs

While this is not a new story, NPR did a nice job reporting yesterday on the complicated relationship between the gangs of El Salvador and evangelical churches in the country.   Gang members may identify themselves with the churches, and religious conversion can be one of the only ways to withdraw from life in the gangs.
From the NPR report:
During the service, a pastor talks about the gangs, known in El Salvador as pandillas. He tells the congregation that in prison, God leaves one naked and opens the doors for new beginnings. He says God is always faithful, even when others aren't. He prays for gang members to leave behind a life of violence and join the church.  "The God we preach is one of opportunity," another pastor, the Rev. Nelson Moz, who has led Eben-ezer for 21 years, says after the service. "Our message is that [the gang members] should understand there is a life outside of the gang. That they can make it, with the help of God."  It is this emphasi…