What Salvadoran bloggers are saying -- watching the National Assembly

El Salvador has a legislative National Assembly where no party holds absolute sway. While the majority of deputies are from parties which will work with the President Saca's ARENA party, the FMLN continues to have sufficient votes to block much legislation. Recently, even though El Salvador has not suffered from al-Qaeda style terrorism, the National Assembly has been spending much time working on an anti-terrorism bill.

Rocío writes in her blog about a concern that "terrorism" is not well-defined(es) in the law. Because terrorist acts under the law can be any conduct intended to provoke fear, alarm, or insecurity in the population, it may be subject to abuse. Before such a law is adopted, Rocío believes the country needs to adopt measures to improve the judicial system in the country to protect jealously the human rights of its citizens.

Blogger Ixquic also makes several points about the proposed law in her post titled Parliamentary Terrorism(es). First, Ixquic finds the need to point out that combatting terrorism is not inconsistent with international standards of human rights. In fact, the United Nations and varioius international treaties expressly condemn terror. So the creation of an anti-terrorism law is not, by itself, an act designed to impair the human rights of Salvadoran citizens.

Second, Ixquic wonders whether such a law is even needed. The deputies seem to want to have a specialized law for every problem -- but the crimes in the law are already crimes under the existing criminal code. The only difference in the law is to impose higher penalties where the motive of the crime is to cause terror.

Third, Ixquic responds to the FMLN and other organizations which claim that the anti-terrorism law is actually aimed at stopping demonstrations against the government. She reviewed the law's provisions and found nothing to support those statements. The only provision against demonstrations outlaws those where the demonstrators come armed with weapons.

But Ixquic finds a greater incongruity. Even though the country has a thousand laws and a thousand specialized institutions for every problem, none of them will be effective if the government does not put in place other essential measures to prevent, investigate and punish crimes of any type. In her view, what the country needs much more urgently is an institute for forensic sciences and solid programs for the training of police and prosecutors. Instead, she laments that the legislature has spent so much time and resources on a subject (terrorism) which does not touch the Salvadoran people.

And now for the first time, debates over laws like the anti-terrorism bill can be seen on television in El Salvador. Jjmar, at the blog Hunnapuh(es), notes that the sessions of the legislature are being televised on a cable channel. This is only a small step, since most people in El Salvador do not have cable, but Jjmar notes that the people will now have a little more information when they go to elect deputies -- and perhaps that is what those who opposed televising the proceedings feared most.

Also posted at Global Voices.


Anonymous said…
I believe that Ixquic is right. ARENA's government has done everything possible to mantain every state run institute/service to remain incompetent, without the equipment nor funds they need. I believe this is part of their maneuver not to only stablish the Anti-Terror Law ARENA wants, but also create the State of Exception PCN wants to promote. Also, do not forget (those who recently read the LPG about the proposal of PCN), that Tony Saca said that he would be willing to deploy soldiers around the nation. I believe firmly that this is a tactic to militarize the nation.

Because why else is El Salvador's military one of the best funded institutes of the nations? Why is PNC after so many years kept understaffed and ill-equipped, and badly funded (to the point where the police force themselves are victims of extortion on their own houses)? How is the government expecting for the PNC capture villains and prosecute them when 1)bad witness protection program, 2)they don't even have the foresnic tools they need to process crime scenes properly. Hell, the police sometimes don't even have vehicles, thus why I've seen police asking people for rides.

Another proof why the regime wants to make it near impossible for civilians to demonstrate and restrain our movements: ARENA-PCN-the whore PDC (the Axis of Evil) WERE NOT WILLING TO RATIFY THE OIT TREATIES, without ratifying a reform to the Constitution and Secondary Laws.

This Secondary Laws that were unfortunately ratified, thanks to the Axis of Evil and a weakend left, seeks to: forbid the syndicates from state services to protest, forbid the creation of "syndicate unions", forbid the creation of syndicates on "essential services". Also, allow administrators to fire syndicate leaders without judiciary repercucions.

Everyone knows how the Axis of Evil (I feel almost like Bush now... darn, better keep away from the Bushes...) wants to privitize the state services (reason why they've been mediocrily run by em), by doing this legislative combo they eliminate their greatest opposition: the syndicates within the very same state institutes.

Anyways, remember:

Syndicate unfriendly state, regime of State of Exception, Military Deployment, Anti-Terrorism Law: FASCISM. That is ARENA-PCN-whore PDC's purpose.
Anonymous said…
Also remember that if the POLICE is capable of capturing criminals and prosecuting them and effectively bringing security to the people: 1)the private security sector, one of the biggest business in the nation and run mostly by ARENA, would take a heavy toll, 2)there wouldn't be an apparent need to instill a State of Exception nor militarize the country.

Also, by establishing the Anti-Terror Law, the state just justifies any harshness against groups that know about the REGIME's goals and wish to protest against it.

What better way to stifle civil action than by saying that anything they do is a criminal activity?

Add to that that we are talking here about a populance SICK of ARENA's gobernment run ineptitude, and immersed in poverty.