What Salvadoran bloggers are saying -- about the armed forces

Salvadoran bloggers on the left are writing posts questioning El Salvador's level of military spending, particularly where there are pressing social problems in the country including crime, sanitation, and poverty. This small Central American country of six million people had a military budget in 2005 of $162 million (source: CIA World Fact Book).

The blogger Hunnapuh looks at the level of spending(es) on the armed forces. He performs some basic math to show that persons in the armed forces above the lowest ranks are earning more per month than a teacher or a doctor. This disparity has lead Hunnapuh to campaign on his blog for the abolition of the army.

El Visitador disagrees, calling the army a necessary insurance policy(es). Without an army, he posits that El Salvador would look like Cuba and Mexico would be ruled by Commandante Marcos, as armed rebel movements take control of Latin American countries.

On the Hunnapuh blog, a poll (es) is being conducted asking readers if they favor abolishing the army. 70% in the poll favor abolishing the army, but this may have more to do with who reads blogs in El Salvador than it does with actual popular sentiment.

Meanwhile, Tim's El Salvador Blog describes the war of words between Honduras and El Salvador over the deserted island of Conejo in the Gulf of Fonseca, and wonders whether the army is maintained for just such a dispute. Hunnapuh believes it is no coincidence(es) that, just when voices are starting to be raised about the abolition of the army, a border dispute and an affront to Salvadoran sovereignty appears.

Also posted at Global Voices.


Anonymous said…
It should be pointed out, that if in any given occassion El Salvador is invade were we neutral and armyless, I am sure USA would intervene as it did on Costa Rica's behalf in 1955 when Somoza invaded Costa Rica.

Also it surprise me that people in the right that are all about money don't see the benefits of being able to count with 106 million dollars to invest elsewhere. And perhaps FINALLY BE ABLE TO ATTRACT all the iternatinoal investment they want. Look at Costa Rica, it has done WONDERS without an army and since 1940s hasn't endured a civil war as opposed to our nation, that civil wars may occur every 20 years?

Besides, if you take a look at CA history you'd find out that our glorious military more than defenders have played the role of usurpers of power, traitors, massacring their respective populations. More than protecting their respective nations, they've only helped to desastibilize them.
Anonymous said…
Tim: No es solamente una guerra de palabras, como lo tratas de hacer ver.
Honduras ha sido el que ha hablado de ultimas consecuencias.
El Salvador le ha dicho claramente, que cualquier desacuerdo lo arregle ante las cortes internacionales.
A tal punto que se ha retractado, diciendo que "no le conviene una guerra en estos momentos".

Por favor, si no entinedes el problema, entonces no digas medias verdades.

Una roca puede ser la que está en disputa. Pero tu no sabes, o no alcanzas a dimensionar el sentimiento de los salvadoreños ante las injusticias de Honduras sobre El Salvador.

Que es risible para tí, y para muchos, el presupuesto del ejercito, pero eso no invalida que estamos nuevamente ante las pretensiones expansionistas de Honduras.

Lástima, vienes a ayudar a este país, y en lugar de ello te ries de él.

Green-go home
Carlos X. said…
I'd have to agree with Hunnapuh about abolishing the Salvadoran army. Costa Rica proves that it's a good riddance. Petty border disputes between Central American neighbors will always be there -- look at Costa Rica and Nicaragua with respect to Rio San Juan. I mean, did the Soccer War really solve anything? On the other hand, Costa Rica has invested the money it used to blow on an army in education and infrastructure and as a result its economy has gone beyond agriculture and cheap labor to real growth production. Even from a free market standpoint, an army is "command economy" largesse on steroids. What's the globalized world rationale for twentieth century militarism in the global village?? What can an army get us? Isla Conejo?? El Salvador needs to stop chasing rabbits and get its eyes on the prize.
Mariocopinol said…
Let's see, without an army we would be able to achieve a lot of promises made by the president while he was in campaign in an effort to try to get the nod on the votation, however what if we never get rid of the gangs? I rather control the gangs and then I think about an abolition of the army.
Anonymous said…
It is either the gangs or the army. As simple as that.

You want investor confidence? Build up your armed forces.
More investors generate more jobs.
More jobs make more happy people.
More happy people leads to more stability.
More stability creates more peace and order.
More peace and order bring in more investors.


What may work best in another country may not work for the other.One can't be representative of the other .Each has unique goals, hopes and dreams and problems too.One business model applies specifically to a certain environment and you cant troubleshoot problems using a model intended for another business. Costa Rica is Costa Rica, El Salvador is El Salvador.Like in the Miss Universe beauty contest? Like it cant get any more obvious than that?

Put it this way , whats wrong with building up the armed forces if El Salvador intended to play it big time in the global market.So be it!
Anonymous said…
To gap-girl:

You are observing the situation from a U.S.A. perspective, where raising a big army denotes power.

But in the scenario discussed in many blogs the main issue is that El Salvador does not need a big army, it only drains money from the countries budget and it is innecesary. Why not beef up the civil security forces instead, train them (..do not choose DynCorp and its failed approach to train Iraq police, please!), arm them and use them to fight criminals.

Is the army fighting criminals ..no, it is not, they are not trained and will not do it, it requires a different approach. Therefore I do not see how your statement fits here: "Put it this way , whats wrong with building up the armed forces if El Salvador intended to play it big time in the global market.So be it!"
What does an army have to do to play in the global market?, to bend others' arms?.

Why in the U.S.A. your government is not effective in fighting the gangs?, why are they not using the national guard, or lastly, the army?.

Put it this way: if the gringos in U.S.A. stop consuming cocaine, then it would be "trendy" (hate this word) for the rest of the world, and thus, South America would not be producing it. Simple economics: no demand, no offer.

Reducing the army obeys to common sense in this discussion: a cost effective solution.
Anonymous said…
The army in this country is a parasite, right now, during, and before the Civil War. Why bother financing/protecting the same coupist pariah that desastibilized the country for decades? Why funnel so many precious resources into this entity that is dormant, has no reason for existing and has actually betrayed the very foundations it was supposed to uphold? As a developing nation, we should concentrate every of our resources into leaving our underdevelopement. Instead of wasting cash on the army, we could be training/equipping our public security organizations, investing into education and social reforms to make a more stable country.

Look at the maras, even they are byproduct of the ARMY LICH of this nation. One of MS-13's founders was an ex-soldier, and many ex-combatants, that slaughtered people protecting a system that now has them by the balls, are now gang members. And what makes the gangs so appealing to the youth in the first place? Lack of opportunities, lack of housing, lack of jobs, etc. See why it is a good idea from every standpoint to abolish the army in favor of investing in our nations progress?
Anonymous said…
Look, take Liechenstein as an example... Abolished its army in 1868, why? Because of cost issues. So why can't El Salvador do the same?

By the way, I'd rather have El Salvador as a participant in the global market as a biotechnology center, a chemical weapons manufacturer, an electronics powerhouse, etc. Something that NEEDS an educated and capable population, but the army with its 106 million dollar budget clearly prevents this goal of being a real global market participant.
Anonymous said…
More investors generate more jobs.
More jobs make more happy people.
More happy people leads to more stability.
More stability creates more peace and order.
More peace and order bring in more investors.


That´s not true.
More Money is equal more evil.