Two years of Tony Saca

The first two years of the presidency of Tony Saca are complete. He is the third president from the conservative ARENA party since the 1992 peace accords which settled El Salvador's civil war. Here are some of the major themes of his administration to date.

CAFTA adopted. The Central American Free Trade Agreement was ratified and became effective in El Salvador. Saca promotes it as a key force to help El Salvador rise from its economic doldrums, while civil society organizations worry about the impact on small farmers and the belief that El Salvador is ceding its economic sovereignty to multinational corporations.

Violent crime steadily increases. Month by month the murder rate in El Salvador has steadily increased. Saca has primarily pushed law enforcement approaches to the problem, and has added the military to police patrols, but nothing the government tries seems to work.

Close relations with US maintained. Tony Saca prides himself on being one of George Bush's closest allies in Latin America. El Salvador continues to have troops in Iraq, the only Latin American country to do so. Saca managed to persuade the Bush administration to maintain Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans illegally in the US.

Efforts at poverty reduction. Saca's administration is the first ARENA government to actually make cash transfers to families living in extreme poverty. Solidarity Net is the government program which pays poor families 15 to 20 dollars per month so long as their children are attending school and enrolled in health clinics. The program seems to be having some preliminary success, although the FMLN denounces it as simply an attempt to buy votes.

Legislative impasse with FMLN continues. During much of Saca's administration, the FMLN has held sufficient votes in the National Assembly to block passage of the budget or foreign borrowing which require two-thirds approval. Both sides blame the other for an unwillingness to be flexible.

Struggles with natural disasters. The flooding from Hurricane Stan and the eruption of the Ilamatepec volcano were a struggle for the government to respond to. The impact of the flooding showed how little the government had done to mitigate and avoid risks in areas prone to flooding.

The partisan ARENA campaigner. The March 2006 elections for mayors and National Assembly deputies were marked by Saca's ceaseless campaigning for ARENA party candidates. His message that a vote for an ARENA candidate was a vote for Tony Saca was criticized by many as improper.


El-Visitador said…
uh... "to persuade the Bush administration to maintain Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans illegally in the US."

That's a bit... impolite, shall we say?

TPS keeps the government from kicking out those persons who qualify for it and who happen to be in the U.S. at the time the TPS is first declared.

Therefore, there are thousands of Salvadoreans who are legally in the U.S. under TPS because their status was legal when the TPS was first declared, and continue to remain legally in the U.S. because of TPS.

No need to call lawbreakers a lot of people who have broken no laws whatsoever.
Tim said…
I might have been more precise, but TPS applies to protect from deportation Salvadorans who were illegally in the US in 2001 when TPS was applied to them. They did not just "happen to be in the US." Under US law, they were illegally in the country on the day before TPS applied. While TPS is in place, they are free from the risk of deportation as long as they comply with the basic terms of registration and not being arrested for a crime. It is my understanding that if TPS expired, those Salvadorans who did not return to El Salvador immediately would again have "illegal" status.
Hodad said…
that is correct information
in regards TPS
I hope that it is kept in place
El-Visitador said…
I'm afraid I was not clear enough.

When TPS is activated, people who at that moment are in the US and who meet any other requisites can apply for its benefits.

There are a bunch of people who were 100% legally in the US in 2001, who took advantage of TPS. Think students, tourists, legal temporary workers, etc.

Therefore, whereas "TPS applies to protect from deportation Salvadorans who were illegally in the US in 2001" is a correct statement, it is also incomplete (hence the impoliteness of the comment).

it would be better to say that "TPS applies to protect from deportation Salvadorans who were LEGALLY OR illegally in the US in 2001 when TPS was applied to them"

Look, the point is that not all persons under TPS are or were illegals.

Thanks for the effort to clarify, though.
tony rochman said…
Is it purely my imagination or have I actually noticed a real fact that Tony Saca over the last two years has really put on some weight. Dude, hold back on the pupusas. Must be a great life being the head honcho while everyone continues suffering around you. I'm certain that any number of your homeboys can go into any pupusaria, just mention your name and that they work for you, and instantly get an unlimited amount of beans, rice, shrimp, carne, etc. for free, but don't forget how the vast majority of the people in El Salvador are living right now this very second as you read this. Or have you forgotten since, maybe because of your incredibly good life, and multiple dinings throughout the day, all the blood has left your head and gone into your stomach to work overtime in digesting all that food that you've consumed by yourself in let's say the typical presidential week that could have fed at least 400 poor, starving Salvador natives for at least a month. Next time your in the Presidential Suite at the Inter-Continental Hotel, try looking out of your 8th floor window, and try to think of all the great things your country could have been with all of it's potential if you ONLY wanted things to happen... That's right - if you care to take a moment in between bites of food, remember all the gorgeous people in your country living among so many mosquitos thanks to all of the garbage and sewage saturating the air around them, and try to imagine, despite their daily pain and struggles, how they would smile at you if they saw you with with their beatiful tanned faces, and their leftover teeth. (With hundreds of thousands of your people in dire need of at least a nationwide public dental care system that can provide them the desperate emergency dental work they deserve. I know - that's asking for way too much. Just call room service again - the world is your oyster). Think about the way they would greet you passionately and warmly , no matter the reality of which they all realize, which is that deep down you only care about yourself ala Mr. W. Bush, the idiot who can't even put a decent sentence together. I'm sure that your people will undoubtedly continue living the same way as if living a lowly, miserable peasant life isn't a big deal for them at all. They are sadly, and unfortunately, completely used to the horrible existence of a lower class lifestyle, the inhumane conditions and the deplorable surroundings that you've allowed them to get accustomed to over the years as you dine luxuriously with your countless number of third world senoritas at your absolute disposal spreading their seductive and curvy legs 24 hours a day for you as you follow yet another bite of comida with a drink from your 4 dollar bottle of Evian water. Waiter - just keep the 20 year old flesh coming and the 25 dollar plates of buffet while your at it. P.S. What's with all of the 10 and 11 year old kids on the sides of the highway tending to their coconut stands early every morning while waiting for drivers to pull over to buy some nuts in a bag??? And hoping that if they get super lucky and the customers feel sorry for them - these tiny, sweet children sprawled out over miles of the highway's side - and as these customers stare into their precious and adorable little faces (while grimacing and shaking their heads at the tragic, lost potential of these youth), that they'll buy a bunch of coconuts as well as a bag of nuts. Wait a minute - oh, I'm sorry. It must be time for desayuno. I'll let you go.