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Bukele's rocky relationship with US

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Ricardo Zúniga Ricardo Zúniga, the Biden administration's special envoy to Central America to address root causes of migration,  arrived in El Salvador today. He arrives at a time in which president Nayib Bukele has been receiving criticism from different actors in the US government. On this trip Zúniga is visiting with officials from Guatemala and El Salvador and has talked to Honduran officials from Washington. The trip comes during a surge in the number of persons from Central America approaching the US southern border with hopes of crossing into the country, despite the insistence of the Biden administration that the border is closed. In addition to discussing root causes of migration, Zúniga has indicated that the Biden administration wants to  fortify legal paths for migration  from Central America. Zúniga's visit to El Salvador is the first visit by a representative of the US government since Joe Biden assumed the presidency in January. In early February, Bukele

Teachers receiving shots as 1M vaccine doses land in El Salvador

On Sunday 1 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac arrived in El Salvador .   With the arrival of this two dose vaccine, El Salvador will now have the quantity of vaccine necessary to start vaccinating the general public. Prior to the arrival of the shipment from China, El Salvador had received three smaller shipments of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines which have been deployed to inoculate front-line healthcare workers and members of the police and military.  The CoronaVac shipment represents one half of a 2 million dose purchase by El Salvador from SinoVac. The first Salvadorans who will begin to receive the CoronaVac vaccine today are  the country's teachers in advance of schools reopening on April 6. The plans for which group will receive the vaccine in which order are never known until there is some tweet or statement to the press shortly before.  After public school teachers, it appears that the government plans to start

Martyrdom of Oscar Romero remembered

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 Wednesday, March 24, was the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero by a death squad in El Salvador.   As was true a year ago, commemorations of the event had to be more limited to adhere to public health measures dictated by the pandemic. Chapel at Divina Providencia Hospital changes its name .  The Vatican announced a change in the name of the chapel where Oscar Romero was murdered.    The chapel will now be known as " Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Bishop and Martyr, Martyrial Chapel."   But it will still also be recognized as the chapel associated with the Divina Providencia cancer hospital where the martyred archbishop chose to live. Archbishop speaks at mass at Romero's tomb . The current archbishop of San Salvador Monsignor José Luis Escobar Alas said that Romero's message today would be focused on continuing to denounce inequality, and a system which oppresses the poor and protects the corrupt.   A gallery of images from the faithful visiting the

New book highlights anti-mining struggle

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Once in a while, determined activists, with grit and determination, can defeat a multi-national mining corporation.    Water Defenders  is a new book with the inside story of the successful (but ongoing) struggle to prevent gold and other metallic mining in El Salvador. From the book's publisher : Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about pro

News shorts

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Elections .  Final election results were announced by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for the Legislative Assembly which did not change the results announced earlier.   Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party won 46 seats on its own and 10 seats in coalition with GANA.  From the coalition with GANA, 9 of the 10 deputies selected are Nuevas Ideas members, giving Bukele 55 seats in the 84 seat Legislative Assembly from his own party.  The Nuevas Ideas alliance with GANA brings the total to 61, well above the total needed to appoint the attorney general and members of the Supreme Judicial Court. COVID-19 .   El Salvador's Ministry of Health stated that it has vaccinated more than 41,500 medical workers with a first dose of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.   The country plans to schedule second doses at 12 weeks to get more people vaccinated with a first dose.  The government also says it has been negotiating with the majority of vaccine manufacturers to acquire more doses of vaccine.   Meanwhile, m

Justice still delayed in El Mozote case

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The world has known about the massacre of children, women, the elderly and others in El Mozote and surrounding communities for more than 39 years.   Yet the world still does not know if anyone will ever be held accountable and whether there will ever be justice for the victims of this atrocity. The InterAmerican Court for Human Rights issued a judgment in October 2012 finding that the Salvadoran state had violated the human rights of the El Mozote victims by failing to meet its obligation to investigate the facts that gave rise to the violations and to identify, prosecute and, as appropriate, punish those responsible.  El Salvador was also told to implement measures of restitution, rehabilitation and satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.    On March 4, the InterAmerican Court held a new  hearing  to determinate how the parties were complying with that judgment.  The day before the hearing, on March 3, the Attorney General's office in El Salvador filed a motion to have an

A year of COVID-19 in El Salvador

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On March 11, 2020, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele issued his first emergency decree to respond to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.   This week Thursday, exactly one year later, El Salvador received its second shipment of vaccines and finally plans to partially reopen schools closed by that first decree.  Today we look back at the past year with its lockdowns and quarantines, its conflicts among branches of government, and the ups and downs of a pandemic which still afflicts the country. That first executive decree on March 11 also prohibited the entry into El Salvador of anyone who is not a Salvadoran citizen or permanent resident, effective that same day.   Any Salvadoran or resident who returned to the country following the decree was subject to a thirty day quarantine, which did not depend on the country from which the person came or whether the person was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. The decree suspended classes in all public and private schools and universitie