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.