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Fourth month under the State of Exception

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Today is the National Day of the Journalist in El Salvador and so I salute all those Salvadoran journalists who are doing their work to hold the powerful accountable despite being disparaged, threatened, spied on, and denied access to information.  Today’s post is made possible by their journalistic work. Since March 27, El Salvador has lived under a "State of Exception" declared by the Legislative Assembly at the request of president Nayib Bukele.   The emergency decrees suspend various due process protections for those arrested as part of a declared "War on Gangs" in the country.  For months the government has been locking up persons alleged to be gang members, a crime which now carries a penalty of 20-30 years in prison. The number of persons detained under allegations that they are gang members has risen to 48,207 , with more than 43,000 already having been ordered imprisoned for the duration of their criminal cases. This includes gang members who had been in p

A Sunday without soccer in El Salvador

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Fans of the teams in El Salvador's top national league, the First Division, were left without soccer matches to watch on Sunday.  A dispute between the government and the federation which oversees soccer in El Salvador had resulted in no referees willing to officiate at the scheduled games in the second round of the current season of Salvadoran professional soccer.   The players in this drama are (1) FESFUT -- the Salvadoran Soccer Federation; (2)  the First Division of Salvadoran professional soccer and its twelve competing teams; (3) FIFA -- the world governing body for soccer, (4) INDES -- the National Insitute of Sport for El Salvador which is an agency of the Salvadoran government and its associated Tribunal of Discipline, Ethics and Sports Appeals (the "Tribunal"); and (5) ASAPROF -- the Association of Professional Referees of El Salvador. The events of the weekend began with a  raid on the offices of FESFUT , the home of its Secretary General and the offices of i

A Human Rights Advocate now at the service of the Bukele regime

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One high profile governmental office in El Salvador has no power and no ability to make or enforce laws.  The Procurador Para La Defensa de Los Derechos Humanos ("Human Rights Advocate" or "PDDH" for its initials in Spanish) is the country's leading human rights monitor, placed as an official position within the government. The post of PDDH was created in the constitution following the 1992 peace accords. The PDDH is to monitor and report on human rights issues in the country, but their power is limited to the power of persuasion and publicity. The PDDH can neither prosecute violators nor pass laws. They can only denounce the human rights violations which they observe.  The person holding the office of Procurador in El Salvador today is Apolonio Tobar.  The current State of Exception has led many domestic and international human rights orgnaizations to denounce what they have seen as serious and ongoing violations of basic human rights standards in Bukele'

El Salvador's harsh anti-abortion regime

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As abortion and reproductive rights issues roil the legal landscape in the US, El Salvador is a county where abortion rights are nonexistent.  El Salvador outlaws abortion in all situations and punishes not just abortion providers, but pregnant women, with some of the most draconian penalties in the world. As Human Rigts Watch reported: Abortion is a crime in El Salvador, with no exceptions – even in cases of rape or incest, where the pregnancy endangers the pregnant woman’s life or health, or in cases of severe fetal impairment. Anyone who has an abortion, and the medical providers who perform or induce them, can face drastic prison sentences. Women have been convicted of murder after being accused of having had an abortion, sometimes with prison terms for up to 40 years. For some of these women, having a miscarriage or stillbirth was used as evidence to convict them.  A too common scenario involves a mother who suffers a late term miscarriage.  At the hospital, rather than treatin

News from El Salvador

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After  few weeks away from regular posts on El Salvador Perspectives, here is an update on the news out of El Salvador. Intense rains cause localized flooding Flooding  rains  passed through El Salvador this weekend as Hurricane Bonnie passed off the Pacific coast. At least  two people were killed  and 90 left in shelters, with school classes suspended nationwide on Monday. Videos circulated on social media of water flooding public hospitals including the country’s largest public hospital, Rosales. Although the government has had the funds on hand to replace or modernize Rosales since the beginning of the Bukele administration in 2019, no work has commenced on that project.   Sinkholes appeared in streets throughout the metropolitan area of San Salvador illustrating the ongoing infrastructure needs and the impact of urban development which has paid little attention to risk management.    The State of Exception continues The State of Exception, which suspends constitutional due process

The church, the sex predator, and a real estate project with powerful friends

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LDM church San Salvador Throughout El Salvador one will find churches of Luz del Mundo ("LDM" -- Light of the World). That faith group, which has its origins in Mexico has started to build a major religious campus and residential development in El Salvador. It is a church which has made a practice of being close to persons in power throughout the world. In El Salvador, that has meant being close to Nayib Bukele, the FMLN, Nuevas Ideas and other political figures. But the high leader of LDM has now been sentenced to 16 years in prison in the US for sexual assaults on minor girls, and whether LDM's plans in El Salvador will come to fruition is yet to be seen. Luz Del Mundo is an unaffiliated Christian church, centered around the figure of a single man, the “Apostle of Jesus Christ”. The first Apostle in LDM was its founder Aarón Joaquín, and he was succeeded by his son Samuel Joaquín Flores, and then by grandson Naasón Joaquín García, the current Apostle. The he

El Salvador's environmental movement

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Earlier this week, El Salvador's environmental groups came together for the 22nd annual Caminata Ecológica or "Environment March".   They walked through the streets of the capital San Salvador under the theme Exigimos justicia ambiental para el cuido de nuestra casa común --  "We demand environmental justice for the care of our common home."  The march began at Cuscatlan Park in the center of San Salvador and proceeded towards the presidential palace, although barricades and riot police stopped the march short of the palace.  March leaders were not greeted by anyone from the executive branch, but could only deliver their letter at the correspondence window. ¡Exigimos Justicia Ambiental para el cuidado de nuestra casa común! @SomosAguaES fue parte de la XXII Caminata Ecológica, en el marco del Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente, para exigir el respeto de los derechos ambientales, nuestros bienes naturales y territorios. pic.twitter.com/r1p9jmDwQb — Alianza Nacion