Military aid to Bush's staunch ally

The government of El Salvador is perhaps the most loyal ally of the US in Latin America, and the US is rewarding such loyalty with military aid. An article at highlights just how much military aid the country is receiving:

El Salvador tops the list of recipients [in Latin America] of U.S. military aid, with almost $23 million in [Foreign Military Financing] since 2002. Surprising? Not in light of U.S. foreign policy. El Salvador is one of the Bush administration's few remaining allies with troops in Iraq, and six Salvadoran Special Forces soldiers have been awarded the Bronze Star.

Washington has also sought to draw a parallel between El Salvador's transition to democracy and Iraq's rocky progress toward that goal. While in San Salvador last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld praised the country's progress, saying "The sweep of human history is for freedom. We've seen it in [El Salvador], we've seen it in Afghanistan and I believe we'll see it in Iraq."

The country, which emerged from a U.S.-backed civil war in 1992, is also the second largest recipient on military training, and it is 11th on the list of arms sales recipients, purchasing a total of $46.8 million in weaponry between 2000 and 2003. During the civil war, in which 75,000 people were killed over 12 years, Washington contributed $1.5 million a day in military and economic aid to support the dictatorship's fight against guerillas.