Millennium Challenge in El Salvador

During the presidency of Tony Saca, El Salvador qualified for more than $400 million from the US Millennium Challenge Account. The funds are designated for poverty reduction in the northern zone in the country. Probably the most prominent part of the Millennium Account project is a highway improvement project running east-west through that zone:
The overall project will be to rehabilitate, expand, rebuild and maintain 648km of highway, 331km of which correspond to the Longitudinal del Norte highway, which runs from the country's La Virgen border with Guatemala to its La Concepción border with Honduras, plus a total of 317km of intersecting routes.

The works will be funded with US$233mn of a US$461mn donation from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, approved for the country in June 2006 to reduce poverty in the northern zone.

According to an article in the Nica Times, the Millennium project will continue in El Salvador under Funes:
The MCC compact with El Salvador focuses on education, productive development, water and sanitation services and road infrastructure. To date, $25.6 million has been spent and an additional $122 million contracted, leaving the majority of the compact yet to be executed over the next three years.

José Angel Quirós, executive director of FOMILENIO, says the MCC project has been a success in El Salvador because it's viewed as an integral part of the country's national development plan, rather than a political initiative by the U.S. or the Saca administration.

The biggest concern with the project, he said, is “how can we make sure this has the biggest impact possible on the zone?”

Quirós adds that he thinks the government should have an even grander vision of the project, viewing it not only as development for the Northern Zone but as a way of converting the marginalized region into a “motor of development for the rest of the country.”

Though he admits there is some uncertainty involved with the transition to the Funes government, Quirós says “thank God everything that has been said so far indicates there is going to be a continuation of the program.”


Anonymous said…
It's fabulous to know that the "Longitudinal del Norte" highway project of the Millennium Account is alive and well even though there might be some degree of uncertainty with the new change of government in El Salvador. From what I've read and heard about at school regarding this project, President Mauricio Funes is a level headed and intelligent man who would never do something disruptive like perhaps could be expected from a Daniel Ortega type. The Millennium Account will not only open up the entire northern provinces of El Salvador to economic and social development, but the project will commence at the town of Metapan and go through Nueva Concepcion, and along the northern most isolated areas of the country and finally reach all the way to the Cutuco Port city. This will inject a whole new life to the entire area with still unknown and wonderful consequences to come. This would also mean that the port of Cutuco could become the principle gateway to the many imports that the country desperately needs, and these could then be transported either overland or by a rehabilitated national railway system that would move huge quantities of merchandise at reduced cost to areas that are so very important to a country like El Salvador that needs to import almost everything it consumes. Hopefully too, El Salvador can undue past mistakes like the politicized land reform fiasco that was made possible and directed by the now defunct Wisconsin Land Tenure Center and other guinea pig experiments and the creation of so many failed Ag cooperatives, With some effort, the agricultural engine can again be restarted in El Salvador and turn the country 180 degrees back to a net exporter of cotton, fabrics, coffee, sugar and all its derivatives. With the help of Brazilian, American and Chinese expertise, El Salvador could hopefully ween itself off of foreign oil and become self sufficient with it's own bio fuels. Brazil's Lula da Silva could become a huge asset to El Salvador, and I'm simply overjoyed at all the possibilities and the potential that the Millennium Account Project presents in El Salvador. I plan to research and do a study on this program and perhaps even incorporate it into my thesis. I'm glad for El Salvador, it's about time that country got a real break.
Anonymous said…
I hope Tony Saca won't be the Salvadoran version of Dick Cheney, and that he'll simply ride off into the sunset with his booty and let the new administration work and do "their thing." Cheney won't go away and seems to not realize that he was voted out and that we didn't want to hear his lies then, and we certainly don't want to hear them now. El Salvador is facing a world wide recession, and it is an densely populated country without natural resources per se, and a non skilled labor force whose only dream is "El Norte." The Millennium Project is an opportunity, perhaps THE opportunity of the century. Hopefully the new government will be mature enough to handle the responsibility because as they sometimes say, "No es lo mismo verla venir, que tenerla en frente." Here's wishing you lots of luck, Mauricio Funes.
john said…
Return to the ruling elite's iron-fisted rule en el campo en El Salvador? Revert the "politicized land reform fiasco"? Roy Prosterman, the architect of the "Land to the Tiller" Phase III of El Salvador's 1980 agrarian reform remarked at the time, that the reform would "produce capitalists like rabbits." In 1980, 40% of the economically active population lived in the countryside, now updated figures show only 17%.

As the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero said of the Salvadorn junta's agrarian reform: Reformas tenidas de sangre, de nada sirven." Reforms tinged with blood work for nothing.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, you are absolutely right. The politicized land reform only served to destroy El Salvador's only source of foreign currency, breaking up the sugercane, cotton and coffee plantations and replacing these with a bunch of sub subsistance flower pot farmers. Now that the land has been divided up in flower pots, what will happen to those born in latter years. They're just out of luck. And basically this is what has happened, the plots handed out were quickly sold and the money used to pay the coyote for the trip "al Norte." Now, the country only exports its people who go north to work and send money back home. These remittances are the country's main source of hard currency. But with this world recession we're in, even those family remittances have dropped more than eleven percent. Hopefully then, the Millennium Account will open new development in the country, and that the Funes administration will be mature and professional enough to responsibly make the project work for all Salvadorans. Oh, and John, you should get some help. Perhaps you yourself don't realize that you are trapped in a time warp that was news 25 years ago. Will you be one of those funnel eyed individuals chasing ninty year old men around and around the block in their wheel chairs. You definitely need to get a life, John.
john said…
To the above:
Do you have the guts to say that to Francisco Avelar Ramirez, a Salvadoran journalist who worked for the Independent News Agency and who was captured by the National Police and tortured by them? Mr. Avelar Ramirez is still looking for justice, as the "Restorative Justice" post on this blog of April, 25th, points out.

Only the heartless would refuse Mr. Avelar Ramirez justice, not to mention appropriate medical care. I presume that includes you above Mr. Anonymous.

Those who fail to remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.

El Salvador's land issue debate is ongoing.
john said…
On El Salvador's land issue, Mr. Anonymous finally reveals his true retrograde and reaccionary pro-Salvadoran agricultural oligarchy colors. Daddy Gringo will always give you a hand when you rich-landed elites can't quite kill off enough of those pesky immiserated, impoverished, marginalized, muertos de hambre campesinos. Just call on Mr. Anonymous.

Imagine those campesinos with the gall to ask for enough land to grow crops to feed their families. Haven't they heard of Milton Friedman..or John Locke? Land for growing food for internal consumption is so yesterday; what's needed is to sell crops to the highest bidder with hard currency. Don't those pesky campesinos know there's no free luch; and even if there's no lunch, it's there fault too!

Shame on you!
Anonymous said…
WOW, "shame on me, shame on you" oh boy, John, you really are out of touch with reality, aren't you. And you definitely do need to get a life! I can't believe that you don't realize that agriculture has become close to non existent in El Salvador, due in large part to the demagogic land reform you seem to see as the final solution to who knows what. But at least you have me laughing out loud now... ME, a wealth land baron of the tropics. You must be nuts! Anyway, the traditional agrarian financial model went out with Sherman's marched on Atlanta, and with Lee's surrendered at Appomattox Court House. After the land reform fiasco, El Salvador has become a net importer of even the most basic food stuffs like beans, rice, meat, milk, eggs, Etc. Tell me, John, where are the vast cotton fields of the eastern provinces, the sugar cane refineries such as El Triumfo, San Francisco, Sta. Barbara, Colima, La Magdalena, Etc. They're all gone, and gone forever. Finished, finito, no more, DONE. El Salvador's prime agriculture lands have long been slit-up into useless parcels, and the countryside looks more like a checker board of homesteads with booming "lotificaciones" and a bunch of For Sale signs. By you telling me that land reform is an ongoing issue, you are in reality letting me know that you don't know what you're taking about. And what's worse still is that you are wasting my time with all the gibberish and off the cuff BS remarks. Remember that even parrots talk, and in El Salvador they even say stuff in Spanish. We as human beings talk and mules Bray because God in his infinite wisdom gave us vocal cords. But talking and thinking, and rationalizing are not synonymous. Keep that in mind as you chase old men in their wheel chairs around the block. And another thing, John, all those "pesky campesinos" you like to talk about are right up here in the good ole U.S. of A, working to send money back home to their families. And to be even more frank with you, I have a couple of guys right now here at my house, one happens to be Nicaraguan and the other says he is from Usulutan. One is mowing my back yard while the other guy is waxing my daughter's silver grey Mustang GT. You know, John, the money isn't in agriculture anymore, that was nineteenth century thinking. Today's money is in the financial, industrial matrix and old money has left agriculture and dirty fingernails for good. Tell me, John, where in El Salvador do you any longer see any top of the line modern farm machinery like Case, Massey Fergusson, John Deere, McCormick or Caterpillar Special Application brand names moving on the highways or working the fields? Oh well, you know I could go on forever with this limitless topic but reality is what it is and I'm sure you know that the worst blind man is the guy who just doesn't want to see. There definitely is a lot on the line for El Salvador, and hopefully this change of government will be for the better. I'm hoping and praying for Mauricio Funes and God's guidance to him, but also I keep my fingers crossed because we all know he hasn't surrounded himself with alter boys. But like all Latin Americans, he has to learn to accept responsibility for his own actions and conditions.
john said…
I appreciate your kind insight into these matters sir, it has been a pleasure discussing with you.
In our discussion, no offense intended, and thanks for your forbearance.
Anonymous said…
John, the biggest mistake we can make in life is to not have made it at all. Because this only confirms that we didn't have the courage enough in ourselves to even try. Thanks for your most interesting input and insight, no disrespect perceived and none was meant. Mr. Anonymous
Anonymous said…
This is great news, El Salvador definitely needs all the help in development dollars it can get. My only real concern at this point is with the control of the money, the millions of dollars that will be flowing into the country with this Millennium Account. We all know that there's a new government taking power in El Salvador, and although the administration may be new, everyone knows and has seen the scary socially resentful face of FMLN people hiding behind the smiling facade of Democracy. I'm definitely concerned that the money meant for progress and jobs, will find its way into the pockets of so many salivating commies that may see this as their day in the sun. I wouldn't be at all surprised at all to soon be seeing many of these losers and have-nots cruising the avenues in new Porche SUV's. Heck, the President Elect himself already moved from his middle class house up to a luxurious mansion overlooking the capital, and he hasn't even taken office yet. This could very well become a Sandinista style pinata. This reminds me of that old analogy of the smiling crocodile.
Anonymous said…
Neo-con blowhard death-squad supporters thinking of the good old days when they could ride around in San Salvador in Cherokees and Jeeps and murder civilians with impunity are crying because they lost an election.

That might mean their impunity might be stripped and they'll have to sell their fancy wheels to pay civil damages after being found guilty in a court of law for commiting crimes against humanity.

Or, as a criminal matter, they might do jail time, which would be even more fitting.

All those former US military advisors to the Salvadoran FAES are whining because they don't like the outcome of the democratic process. Sorry buddies, the Salvadoran people have learned how to defend themselves against those who defy the people's will by foreign inspired coups or otherwise, and it ain't pretty.

Socially resentful ARENA has tried to privatize the Salvadoran health care system, so as to make it only available to the wealthy and the powerful and their death-squad blowhard henchmen.

How about a health care policy that would embrace all of the Salvadoran people, not just the privileged few? Of course that wouldn't be like the good ol' USA, so the ARENAs, the death-squad blowhards, and their gringo supporters say no.
Anonymous said…
In response to the above post and although in this posting, Tim is not discussing health care, but rather the focus is on the much needed Millennium Challenge that has been approved for El Salvador. Albeit, the rationalization behind the concept of health care for all is challenge for every nation on earth. President Obama has put health care for the American people high on his list of things to do. It's clear that it is needed here because the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without universal health care for all its citizens. I understand that there are more than 48 million working families here in the U.S., and that is completely unacceptable for us. I have re3ad in medical journals that even a small third world country like El Salvador offers its citizens both in its cities and in the countryside free neighborhood clinics which are attended by doctors and recent medical graduates doing their years of social services. Medicine has become big business and private clinics here and across the world charge exorbitant rates. Here in the U.S. it's sometimes cheaper to travel to India to receive excellent health services at very affordable rate. Depending on the overall prognosis of your condition, it's very likely that if you don't have medical insurance, that it would be cheaper for you to travel and stay in India for your treatment. I hate going off on tangents because the topic of the "Longitudinal del Norte" highway is such an enormously important issue for El Salvador. But if we don't have our health, everything else becomes irrelevant.
Anonymous said…
To the person who wrote, "Neo-con blowhard death-squad supporters thinking of the good old days when they could ride around in San Salvador in Cherokees and Jeeps and murder civilians with impunity are crying because they lost an election," I can only say that you are obviously a very sick individual, and if you can't control your irrational out bursts of pent-up hatred and obvious envy, you will beyond doubt end up with a serious case of ulcers. If these start bleeding, I recommend that you think of taking your immediate problem for treatment in India. They are reputed to have very good doctors and health care facilities at extremely reasonable prices. But in the mean time and while we are here on Tim's Blog, I wish you'd stick to the topic on hand which, by the way, is very interesting and important for the entire country and people of El Salvador. Thank you.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, I think you're right! That "coo coo clock blowhard" definitely is suffering from a chronic case of oral diarrhea.
Anonymous said…
"I'm definitely concerned that the money meant for progress and jobs, will find its way into the pockets of so many salivating commies"

Heck, dude, all these years salivating, greedy nincompoops have been draining every single penny from foreign aid for their own benefit. This isn't anything new. Poor military men post-war became rich "empresarios" after taking the dough out of the barracks, and one ARENA gov. successive of the other got you the same kind of filth. Foreign loans, etc. were subjected of being absorbed by politicians and private (entrepreneurs). So with FMLN, things might not change, but stop being such an ideologue and calling them monkeys, because anyone that is willing to do anything for money is nothing but a capitalist monkey, so if they do steal they'll simply be among the "new rich" of El Salvador.

Personally, I think that the MA should have been frozen over MONTHS ago, and every single penny submitted to review, cuz El Salvador is known for over-pricing everything, especially infrastructure projects, so wouldn't surprise me if someone over the chain of commands and executions on the MA project has been siphoning tax payer dollars out of you yanks.
Anonymous said…
heheh, a correction to the above post: instead of stop calling them monkeys it should've been STOP CALLING THE COMMIES.
Anonymous said…
Here are some facts for the "blowhard" individual who either doesn't know what he's talking about or is consciously misrepresenting the facts regarding health care in El Salvador. There exists an abundant number of hospitals open without charge throughout the country: Hospital Rosales, Hospital de Maternidad, El Hospital San Rafael de Santa Tecla to name a few in or close to the capital city of San Salvador. Then there are a multitude of Social Security Clinics throughout the country that attend the Salvadoran workers and give out medicines at no charge to them. In each and every Salvadoran providence there are hospitals and clinics that attend the poor or anyone without means. The Hospital de San Miguel, El Hospital de Chalatenango, El Hospital de Santa Ana are to mention just a few. Then there are the government sponsored clinics in every city and hamlet, that offer medical services to any and all Salvadorans. If you happen to be a wealthy individual who doesn't want to receive public assistance, there are also many private hospitals and clinics. La Policlinica, El Hospital de la Mujer, Etc. What I'm saying here are simply the plain and irrefutable facts about health care in El Salvador. I'm talking facts here, facts with names and locations that serve as concrete and objective proof. In the name of veracity, I am obliged to answer the pitiful outpouring of lies and babbling dishonest rantings of an obviously mentally infirm individual who is consumed with envy and personal incompetence. I can only feel the deepest pity for this sick person.
Anonymous said…
Reading some of these idiotic comments should be something really embarrassing to anyone of Salvadoran descent. I certainly wouldn't want to share any of this with my friends. There must be some real nut cases in that poor Third World country, El Salvador. But why the hell did these morons decide to come here. Oh well, I guess they are somewhat useful for cutting my lawn, bathing my German Shepard and tending my wife's blooming flower beds.
Anonymous said…
You list a number of hospitals, but have you ever seen the state of the infrastructure (Hospital Maternidad, for example is FALLING apart)? Or are you well aware that severe lack of medicine in hospitals/clinics are a highlight of El Salvador's health care? By the way, you simply list things, which would make anyone believe that healthcare here is perfect, conveniently omitting facts that private hospitals are off-limits to the vast majority of the population that do not have the means to pay for things.

And about nut cases in El Salvador, hell yeah, man, we have them. The vast majority of them are the same kind of folks that for the past decades didn't see investing on national education as wise, insisted on keeping El Salvador as a banana republic for a cheap labor force, but NOW, that FMLN won the elections... suddenly become great statesmen, demanding a "state building plan", because El Salvador had been operating without one.
Anonymous said…
El Salvador is undoubtedly a third world nation that lacks just about everything a country needs for its development and prosperity. You can not compare a hospital in El Salvador with a Hospital in the U.S., or if it fair to compare a Rolls Royce and a Yugo. Regarding the crumbling infrastructure that you allude to, it's obvious that El Salvador does what it can within the context of it's limited resources. I just read today that the GNP will drop about 14% and the remitences will be down 8% in the year. I would suggest to you that you stop complaining and whining, and feeling sorry for yourselves and learn to take responsibility for your own well being and future. Clean up your own country, the environmental and ecological systems, the educational systems, health care, trade schools that create skilled technical and professional workers. The big advantage of living in a country like El Salvador is that just about anything you do is an improvement. Consider that you are still dumping your sanitary waste into your rivers and streams. This pollution leads to the condition of actually living in your own waste. Tell me, who do you blame the Acelhuate River water basin on? A river so polluted that it dissolves even the souls of your boots. Who do you blame for the wholesale slaughter of the nations flora and fauna? A super example for you is your neighbor to your south, Costa Rica. A poor country, yes, but a country who believes in education and whose people actually respect themselves, their country and their environment. We are not in an age of plenty, but rather we are in a worldwide recession, and the idea of a free lunch and a handout should be things of the past. "America for Americans" can mean that a united America with a common goal is definitely a reachable goal that can bring prosperity and wealth to all nations. Remember that industrial countries need not only raw materials, but they need markets for their manufactured goods. That's how it works. Let's all do our part and stop hoping and start doing. The first step is taking responsibility and stop the victim mentality that leads no where. El Salvador was at one time a net exporter of consumer products items of first necessity. But now it's principle export are its people who look to "El Norte" with hope of a better life. Are you going to blame the U.S. because El Salvador became a check board of useless parcels and homesteads with "lotificaciones" and for sale signs everywhere you look.
Anonymous said…
President Obama offered a helping hand, but he asks that Latin America have the maturity to assume responsibility for it's own actions too. Favors should never be assumed to be obligations. Countries don't have friends, countries have national interests. All countries in the Americas can contribute to the general well being of the others. Remember some of the logical Marxist teachings, "To each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities." There is no room for sluggards and "woo is me" loser type mentalities in that statement. Let's each do our part and what we can, but please, let's stop the silly whining and the blaming of others. Oh, and get real. When has El Salvador ever been labled a banana republic? That was a term used for countries with extended contracts with the United Fruit Company or United Brands. This might come as news for you, but El Salvador does not nor ever has it ever been an exported of bananas. El Salvador was once an exporter of cotton, textiles, sugar and coffee. Now the principle export are its people who, by the way, are the biggest suppliers of hard currency to the country coffers. El Salvador can't even figure out how to make bio fuels from sugarcane. Perhaps Lula da Silva of Brazil can give you folks some tips. But no, instead of trying to stand up by your own two feet, the President Elect visited with Hugo Chavez trying to get some fuel and oil contracts at bargain prices. I certainly hope that the "change" that Obama offers us here in the U.S. will seep down to Latin America and that "change" creates a sense of pride and a can-do, "si se puede attitude." We are behind you and will always be cheering you on. We are all Americans. Right. And thanks for your insightful comments they are much appreciated. Mr. Anonymous.
Anonymous said…
If you Third World characters think education is expensive, wait till you try ignorance. Oh,I guess you already have.
Anonymous said…
I have some really bad news for all of you, the rapture happened three days ago and you were left behind. "Boo Hoo." But if by chance you happen to see Jesus and his angelic hoards playing their harps and the skies opening up, try to look busy because Jesus is back.
Anonymous said…
Get a life, and while you're at it get over those silly stereotypical leftist notions that are absolutely stupid and meaningless. Tell me, who the hell do you thinks benefits from cheap labor? Cheap labor is a fantacy, just who the hell is going to by our manufactured good if no one is making any dinero. Try and remember that O.50 Cent pupusas de queso con loroco isn't aren't exactly our bag. I'm talking wheels, fancy wheels with big, hot roaring V-8's. So stop belly aching and get off your fat #@$% and get an education, get a job, get real! Remember, you're not as dumb as you feel, "si se puede."
Anonymous said…
To whom it may concern: That was great, thanks, I needed that. Hehehehe
Anonymous said…
Yawn, you sure like to talk crap.

1) I am not blaming any foreign forces for the perils of El Salvador, though only an idiot would deny that foreign intervention has somehow "shaped" El Salvador.

2) I do say that education is paramount to help a country's population advance. What I am telling you, bucko, that up until even NOW 2009, the oligarchs DID NOT see EDUCATION as a necessary/beneficial investment. For all they cared, El Salvador's population was to be a low-skilled cheap workforce. They even tried to shape El Salvador from a coffee exporter, to a SWEATSHOP FACTORY (a blow back, because those asses didn't perceive that sweatshops would jump to Nicaragua/China to get even cheaper labor!). Hopefully with the obstacle of ARENA out of the picture, this point of view WILL change. Suffice to say that without education, you cannot hope to improve your culture-society, I understand that education is the backbone of every self-respecting society.

3)El Salvador moves a lot of money, international aid, loans, etc. But truth is, that one of the reasons why El Salvador is sluggish into developing isn't necessarily because it "makes optimum" use of its resources, are you bucko, seem to imply, but because THERE IS A SEVERE MISMANAGEMENT of those resources, massive tax evasion, etc. things that have direct impact on the nations development. Furthermore, as I told you on my previous post, El Salvador post-war did not function with a "state developing" plan, 30 years UNDER the SAME PARTY, have lead to 4 apparently unrelated gov. terms, each squandering money into separate "projects" rather than one continuing the projects of the other (i.e. Cristiani engaging on education projects, Sol and up continuing said projects).

4) I could really pound your head to the dust, but it isn't worth my time. Suffice to say that: FMLN won, and suddenly the picture of a robust economy shifted back to reality, showing that due to mismanagement, there is a severe deficit encompassing every sphere of Salvadoran society: health, education, public security. An example of such mismanagement, is a 30 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN to BUILD A NEW HOSPITAL DE MATERNIDAD, where HALF of it has already been "spent" without authorities being able to clarify WHERE DID THAT MONEY GO. And dude, while this obviously wouldn't take us from a Yugo to a Rolse Royce, as you seem to imply, it sure as hell would've lead from a Yugo turning into a Toyota.

Btw, Costa Rica has to thank Social Democrat Figueres, who had nation building plans in mind to be what it is. We on the other hand, had to stay with a bunch of retrograde elites that until now have been running the show (which btw, killed any semblance of Figueres El Salvador had, like statesman Enrique Alvarez). Thankfully, we kicked them out of power through the ballots.

On a final note, give my regards to those "Salvadorans" that do those dirty menial tasks that apparently you are either to lazy or incompetent to perform. Surely they'll put that money into good use, like investing on their children's education. Oh, and by the way, you must suffer from multiple-personality disorder, because I am sure that you are the nutcase that was engaging on a dialogue with a "little old church lady" (in other words YOU), on and on for more than 10 posts. You need help, man. Adios.
Anonymous said…
Btw, you have to forgive me for skimming through the stinking pile of nonsense you posted. While doing so did save me wasting much more time in reading your nonsense, I unfortunately missed a couple of points I could've addressed:


El Salvador used to produce alternative oils from sugar cane, called Gasol around the late 80s, early 90s. But no success, I guess we were to ahead of the times.

Banana Republic, my oh-take-it-so-literally friend, can also be applied to an unstable, corrupt, country that has been largely dependent on a single or few cash crops, and is governed mostly by a select few who shape "policies" to suit their interest: elites/oligarchies. So, using this definition, the term BANANA REPUBLIC does apply to El Salvador. So, please stop typing any more nonsense... Or do start thinking before you do.
Anonymous said…
The reason we have a written language is because we need certain and definite definitions and terms. Once one starts editing meanings at will it all become nonsensical babble. And FYI, foreign intervention formed every country in the world. In the Americas, the first foreign intervention came across the Bering Straits, they came from Europe, and later from individual empire builders, France, Great Britain, United States, Portugal, and to a lessor degree, Holland, even Mexico got into the act. The indigenous people themselves were interventionists. So what's the bid deal, or do you think you've invented the wheel, or perhaps the recipe for Dr. Pepper Diet? Jeez, another idiot.- Perhaps the only thing you got right is that this is a huge waste of time. It's like sitting in a padded cell trying to rationalize with the insane. And it doesn't really matter. El Salvador could simply disappear in a huge tsunami wave and there would be no noticeable effect. Now isn't that sad? I don't know how I would react living my life in a country that was totally irrelevant.
Anonymous said…
Gosh, this afternoon this blog was following some semblance of Tim's topic. Somewhere between then and now this has become nonsense, which makes the Blog useless. I'm sorry that things have gotten so off track. I have better things to do. And contrary to what I see here, I do have a life.
Anonymous said…
hahahah now I've heard it all. Somebody getting all railed up and pissed cause he's not being called a banana republic!!!!
Anonymous said…
Can you blame the dude I cant stand the slimy bnanas try callin him taco bender better
Anonymous said…
"El Salvador moves a lot of money, international aid, loans, etc."

Yes, so I've heard. Money laundering and moving drugs along the smuggle route are the biggies aren't the. Oh, and peddling arms to the Columbian FARC too, I suppose you get your drugs that way. One of the big wigs in your government was all over the computer of some big shot FARC guerrilla they captured or killed, or was it that he turned himself in. But the guy spilled the beans and your big shot was exposed. Now wasn't that just too bad. These guys are nothing but tortilla bandits.
john said…
Following up discussion of El Salvador's health care infratructure:
The Panamerican Health Organization of the World Health Organization, describes in a 2001 report El Salvador's Health Care infrastructure this way:

"Organization of the Health Sector

Institutional Organization

The public subsector is composed of social security, the services of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, and other health sector services. The Ministry has a national network of 427 services, broken down as follows: 16 hospitals, 14 health centers, 313 health units, 32 health posts, 11 community posts, 8 dispensaries, and 33 rural nutrition centers. As far as hospital beds are concerned, the Ministry has 2,964 and ISSS has 1,583.

Eighty percent of the total national population is assigned to the Ministry, although actual coverage is lower than that."

Here is some more data from the United Nations National Development Plan Report for El Salvador--2001:

consultaron a un centro de salud,
según razones por las que no consultaron 1999
(En porcentajes)
de pobreza
No fue
Falta de
lejano, no tiene
medicinas, falta de
No confía, prefiere
curarse con
remedios caseros,
TOTAL 33 47 3 17
Pobre 26 54 4 17
Extremo 23 62 5 11
Relativo 30 44 2 24
No Pobre 46 36 1 17
Fuente: Encuesta de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples, 1999. DIGESTYC,
Ministerio de Economía.
Otro indicador de la baja calidad o falta de acceso a servicios públicos de salud
es la atención en instituciones no públicas, a las cuales acudió el 25 por ciento
de los que demandaron servicios de salud (Cuadro 5.25). Llama la atención que
entre la población en pobreza, el 12 por ciento acudió a centros privados, lo cual
significa que para atender su necesidad de servicios de salud, esas personas
tuvieron que dejar de satisfacer otras necesidades básicas.
Cuadro 5.25
Demanda de servicios de salud: centro que consultaron 1999
(En porcentajes)
Centros del
del ISSS
TOTAL 62 13 22 3
Pobre 80 5 12 3
Extremo 86 3 10 2
Relativo 77 6 14 3
No Pobre 45 21 31 3
Fuente: Encuesta de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples, 1999. DIGESTYC,
Ministerio de Economía.

Apologies for the table's skewed appearance.

What this data from PAHO and the UN's PNUD indicate is that adequate health care is only available through private facilities, not to the public at large, and especially not avaialble to those classifed as living in relative or extreme poverty.

That Millinium Challenge money should be funneled through organizations such as Partner's In Health ( whose commitment is "the preferential option for the poor", to bring El Salvador's inadequate health care system up to the level of say, Costa Rica's--or much better.
john said…
More on Health Care in El Salvador from Health Care Economist, 2006:

"Healthcare in El Salvador IV: Healthcare system
April 6, 2006 in El Salvador, Health Care in Developing Nations

In El Salvador, one finds two parallel health care system. The first uses state-of-the-art technology, qualified doctors, and physician spend ample time with patients. The second employs third world technology, treats severe illnesses superficially, and doctors are overworked. Which of these systems is run by the government? Which of these systems serves the poor?

As you probably guessed, the first healthcare system described above involves doctors in private practice with a fee for service (FFS) provider payment system. Using the private physician and medical facilities is expensive; only the wealthy can afford these procedures. The poor are relegated to using the free government hospitals and clinics. These facilities do an adequate job of providing immunizations, prenatal care and educational material, but do not have the funds or the staffing to perform surgical procedures which in the U.S. would be considered routine. Many Salvadorans I spoke with complained that doctors in the public hospitals treat all serious diseases the same: they give patients an aspirin and tell them to grin and bear it since surgery or other complicated procedures are not available.

Also, one notes a distinct difference between urban and rural clinics serving the poor. Both provide only the most basic of services, however, rural physicians do have more time to spend with patients due to the lower population density. One physician in the village of Isla de Mendez told me he only saw about 25-30 patients per day and about half of these were educational prenatal visits. The residents of Isla de Mendez, however, do not have access to medical care on weekends because the physician returns to his home three hours away in the city of San Miguel. In an urban clinic, patient volume is much higher and wait times of many hours is common, but physicians are available on weekends for emergencies.

The central government also employs promotores, workers who visit villages (such as Ciudad Romero) who do not have a clinic and educate the population about public health risks. Unfortunately, it seems that the promotores are not very effective since the villagers do not hold these workers in as high esteem as physicians. Further, since the promotores travel from village to village, they rarely establish a strong bond with the community to make sure that the educational information they impart is implemented."

One might infer from this account that El Salvador's health care system is inadequate, and ARENA's attempts to further privatize the system would likely have produced even more inadequate care for most Salvadorans than reported from the above source. With the recently elected administration's new appointees to lead the Health Ministry, hopefully steps will be taken immediately to remedy the intolerable situation facing most Salvadorans in receiving adequate health care.
Anonymous said…
El Salvador's health care system should be brought up to the leval of Cuba's. Costa Rica is inferior.

And Cuba might want to send some doctors to staff some of those underresourced rural health clinics and hospitals.

Do you think the good ol' USA would send doctors for any substantial period of time, other than the militarist flourishes of hospital ships parked briefly off the coast of Acajutla?
Anonymous said…
Here's what Great Britain's Foreign Office country profile said about El Salvador's health care system:

In El Salvador the quality of and access to healthcare are directly tied to income levels. Adequate health care is available to those able to pay the high cost. Health care for the urban and rural poor is limited.

Health services are not readily accessible to a majority of the population. In the more isolated regions of El Salvador, there are almost no physicians. Government clinics often lack adequate personnel, equipment and medicines.

Life expectancy: Male: 67.31 years, female 74.7 years (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 25.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)"

Most Salvadorans, those chronically underemployed or unemployed in urban/suburban areas or those who live in the countryside, recieve inadequate medical care, most observers with no ideological ax to grind agree.
Anonymous said…
The United Nations Human Development Index groups these nations accordingly:

Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico at 48, 50, 51 respectively; Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala at 117, 120, 121, respectively;

USA is at # 7 and El Salvador at # 101.

Conclusions, anyone?
Anonymous said…
More UNHDI data by country:

Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, at 61, 70, 80, resepectively.
Anonymous said…
Who can disagree that health care is perhaps the number one issue that needs to be addressed world wide. We have seen the danger signs with the ongoing flu pandemic and the World Health Organization attempts to encourage fast action from every government. Prez. Obama since his campaign, has declared health care as one of his top priority projects. Even we have Forty Eight Million working class families right here in the U.S. who lack proper health care. This is unacceptable especially being the wealthiest country on earth. Cuba with its third world economy could be good model for other third world countries to emulate. I understand that Cuba offers to sent doctors and teachers to countries who need and solicit their assistance. I know for a fact and have often read that Cuba has an open offer to send a team of doctors to Harlem and work with the most disadvantages there. Mr. Castro made good friends and supporters right here, when he spoke before the U.N. and choose to stay at a Harlem hotel. This is the type of social assistance that is needed and hopefully Cuba will respond to the call in El Salvador. I think we need to encourage better economic relations with Cuba and I can see the potential for business there on that captured island. I know for a fact that the McDonald's franchises, KFC, Sherwin Williams and many others are already sold and/or allocated for the future in Cuba with brother Fidel passes. Cuba is a beautiful place, Los Jardines de la Reina, that Columbus mistook for the Garden of Eden. That must have been a marvelous experience, perhaps among the most thrilling moments in modern human history, when one civilization meets another. I'm sorry that then as now, mankind lacks the respect for others, and has not learned to take responsibility for him/her self. El Salvador needs a lot of help in so many areas, and anything anyone does is absolutely an improvement. In my opinion, the country needs good health care, solid environmental policies, technical and trade schools besides general education, organized infrastructure, much better regulations toward fiscal responsibility, economic development and job creation. I'm sure that Prez. Obama would be more than willing to help even if that help would in part be for selfish reasons. We don't want nor can we absorb the entire population of Latin America migrating to the U.S. With Cuba at least there is an ocean that separates us, if not the entire country would be flooded with refugees. I think we'd probably become a third world country because the third world would come to us. So, in the name of plurality and prosperity, let's walk the walk and cut the ideological rhetoric and the useless talk.
Anonymous said…
"Here's what Great Britain's Foreign Office country profile said about El Salvador's health care system"

Jeez, and who can disagree with that. It's a known fact that El Salvador is a poor third world country with huge bugetary limitations. I personally would never allow a third world doctor anywhere near me, much less let him/her treat me. I might be crazy, but I ain't dumb. And what do you expect, a free lunch?

Try to live within your means and take responsibility for yourself. The alternative is the two day hike across the Sonoran Desert. Be sure to bring plenty of water.
Anonymous said…
OMG! Most of these posts and comments are so long and tedious that who has the time or the interest to read all the BS? Granted that some comments make me smile or laugh out loud, but that too has its limits. Blog Comments are supposed to be short and to the point, with good ideas and factual and honest input. Discussions are great and can be constructive as long as the exponents are honest and sincere.

I guess I'll be a patriotic American today and go shopping.
Anonymous said…
"Do you think the good ol' USA would send doctors for any substantial period of time, other than the militarist flourishes of hospital ships parked briefly off the coast of Acajutla?"

I'm sure we would if asked. We've done it before and most likely Obama would gladly do it again. Personally, I know a couple of private doctors and dentists who on their own travel to third world countries to help the people there.

One blaring problem with that and with people like you is, that once someone does you do a favor, you want it to become an obligation. You seem to always be looking for excuses and a free lunch. That attitude gets old very fast.

As a real life anecdote, a doctor friend of mine was treating patients in a developing country when someone walks up to him and nonchalantly asks my friend for $25,000.00 dollars, to be a house and a truck. Hard to believe, perhaps. But this is a true story.
Anonymous said…
Not me, not at all. I go through many sites and contribute to many Blogs because I'm interested or because I care.
I try to bypass the filth without giving it a second thought. Filth can be found anywhere, and I suppose that it's something like poverty. I tell my friends here that if they want to see poverty, real poverty that is, to take a ride down the Mississippi River Delta.
In Latin America, from what I have observed on my many trips, poverty has become a buzz word and a misinterpretation because what one perceives as poverty, another perceives as a traditional way of life. I'll never forget the strength of character and pride of an indian man outside of Antigua, Guatemala. He was impressive. Now, if what we all want is to live in the suburbs and have a couple of cars in the garage, and a McDonald's down by the corner, then you must grab your stuff and walk the walk, the walk across the barren border and make your version of the American Dream become reality for you.
I know that's what you want because you are here and because you are a English speaker. Right? Be honest now.
Anonymous said…
"In El Salvador, one finds two parallel health care system. The first uses state-of-the-art technology, qualified doctors, and physician spend ample time with patients. The second employs third world technology, treats severe illnesses superficially, and doctors are overworked. Which of these systems is run by the government? Which of these systems serves the poor?"

Does this mean you are suggesting the privitization of medicine. Medicine for profit? There is no doubt that a privately owned clinic will offer the best health care available. After all, they're in it for the money. It's call "Capitalism." But that's not what is needed, we have enough private hospitals and clinics, what we need is Universal Health Care for every citizen. Barack Obama supports that effort and I understand that he's right now working on the details.

I guess the same thing goes and would be true for any country, including El Salvador. Let's see if Cuba can give us some guidelines and help us get on our own two feet so we can take it from there. Cuba has a renown world class medical health system, and conditions there closely resemble conditions in El Salvador. Let's give it a shot, it sure can't hurt.
Anonymous said…
The difference between a Marxist-Leninist and a Capitalist:

-To a Marxist-Leninist, a Capitalist in simply a "useful fool."

-To a Capitalist, a Marxist-Leninist is simply a "useless fool."

Questions? Mr. Anonymous.
Anonymous said…
Hey there Mister Anonymous, and I'll be heavy on the Mister, OK compadre.
Listen up, I know these gut growling commies from way back in the Nam where we pounded the zips real good. what they want in Mexico and down there is what they wanted in Nam and everywhere else. They want what the guy they envy so much has. I've never seen a commie who actually works, but to the contrary all they do is bitch about other people and about how life has been so unfair to them. Besides being natural born theives, they have no self respect or shame, and they get really pissed off when someone calls them on it. They should all just stay the hell away from us decent folks up here in the good ole U.S.A.
Anonymous said…
Hey buddy, sure your PSTD has been adequately treated? The VA isn't all it's cracked up to be, so get behind Obama's universal health plan, and while your at it, you might inquire if the Cubans can help you out.
Anonymous said…
Cubans helping me out, yeah sure. now we have a freekin commie wetback trying it to made comedian. Cubans are getting out of that place in inner tubes and anyway they can to reach our shores. oN your side we are buldin a wall to try and keep you and your taco bendr types outta here. What part of 'get the hell out of here' don't you desease ridden commie wetbacks comprende. Huh. Your about as welcome here as a trd in a swimin pool.
Anonymous said…
You're definitely right on Sarg, if Cuba were the commie paradise these morons say, then why are they here and not in Cuba. Truth is no one wants to live in that slave state where even the Internet is prohibited because they say it's a "luxury" for the ordinary dumb azz Cuban. Why do your think they call a refrigerator "coconut" in Cuba. Becauses when you open one up all it's got inside is water. Thanks for your service, Sarg you are a real hero.
Anonymous said…
Semper Fi do or die hurrahh!
Anonymous said…
Today I was reading a report on the latest champions of Salvador kool aide drinking leftist looney tunes, Mauricio Funes, and his sidekick, Salvador Sanchez Ceren alias "Machete." Seems this guy Funes likes to beat up on his women and he's already been married three times. I guess that answers the "why" for such a young guy with three ex wives already on his belt. But then, like they say, "Every country and ever people deserve the leaders they get" so I guess El Salvador is way in the red on this one (no pun intended). The problem I see brewing in all this is that "Machete" has been around the block a lot of times and he knows that only that pencil pushing Funes stands between him and his dream of tailor fitted Castro style fatigues and horn rimmed glasses. This should be getting really good! Popcorn anyone?
Anonymous said…
I always said that growth of a country derives on how well transportation is structured. The building of roads, not only brings in tourism, but also engages businesses to want to open shop in convenient location within those highways. The problem in EL is not with the lack of population it is that the right policies are not there to keep and attract businesses. Security is a main concern among many businesses. So if we are talking about building major highways that connect one country to another one, we need to monitor very well that drug traffickers are not getting in. The fact that we have accepted the dollar protects us from corrupted political figures, but at the same time could harm us as a central point for drug dealers.
Anonymous said…
Ditto to the above. Definitely worrisome.
Anonymous said…
Gee whiz, I thought building a highway from Metapan to Perquin was to facilitate access to the countryside to help the "chaferotes" y la "animalada", and their gringo advisors (CIA, etc.) kill off liberation theology oriented nuns, priests, lay workers, cooperative organizers, and rural trade union organizers.

Never thought pickin' coffee or cuttin' sugar cane was a trade, you semper fi's out there?. Think about it, bucko, next time you look at that killem-all-off-and-let-god-sort-em-out image of yourself in that deep black hole of Java. Quick, toss in a teaspoon full of that sweet-ass stuff!
Anonymous said…
Who the hell are you "above post" you sound like someone who's been asleep for the past 30 years and now wake-up to puke the same old stupid rhetoric your that went out with the Remington Typewriters. Where have you been, Mr. Rip van Winkle, you obviously have your head way up where the sun doesn't shine and you need to get a life. Frankly, for anyone to understand what the hell you're talking about, one needs to go to the old history books and read up on all those irrelevant lefty slogans that you obviously carry around like so many nickles and dimes giggling in pocket. Oh, and if you think that sugarcane and coffee production isn't important, I guess you've never visited Cuba. You just pretend you have. And another thing, if you are such an enemy of this wonderful country,, why don't you go to Cuba or back to where ever rat hole you came from. You came here, pal, and I'm sure you've gotten the drift that you're not exactly welcome either. Homeland security should pick all you quasi commies up and send you to clean up after the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. If you had the cojones to go, you'd be a lot closer to your faded loony tune heroes, the Castro boys. Semper Fi!
Anonymous said…
I'm with you, jarhead. AA - Death from above! I loved kickin commie butt. Hurrahhh!
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Tim, anyway to keep the racist speech off the blog? Some might argue that supressing hate speech trumps unrestricted exercise of speech rights (or course this blog convey's no rights).
Anonymous said…
To the above posting: You are in the U.S of A. pal. If you can't stand the heat of varied opinions and want censorship and continued ignorance, then Cuba is always an excellent alternative for you. Check it out it's only ninty miles away and from what I've seen, you can make it there in an innertube.
Anonymous said…
Hey bucko, here's some more of those "irrelevant lefty slogans" for you from a world-wide organization of farmworkers, you know, the ones who pick the coffee, broccoli, cauliflour, tomotoes, potatoes, apples....etc. etc., geez I don't want to make you puke...

The following is from La Via Campesina (Campesina translates as farmworker or farmer, bucko) wetsite:

Read it and start wretching:

"La Via Campesina's struggle for the rights of peasants

Almost half of the people in the world are peasants and small farmers and the food they produce is the backbone of people's life. Agriculture is not just an economic activity, but it also means life, culture and dignity for all of us.

Nonetheless, peasants all over the world have to struggle to defend their right to feed themselves and their communities. Every year, thousands of peasant leaders are being arrested in their effort to maintain land, water and natural resources—the effort to preserve life. Incidents of massacres, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, and political persecution and harassment are common.

Poor rural families, represent 75 % of the people suffering from structural hunger. Illiteracy rates increase in rural areas, health care and public services are vanishing and poverty is raging. Women and children are the most affected and discrimination towards women has put double burden on their shoulders.

The violations of the rights of peasants have risen dramatically with the liberalisation of agriculture that forced farmers to produce for export and to engage in industrial modes of production. International institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) compel peasants and small farmers to follow that path. Over the past decades, peasants have disappeared massively all over the world, and a handful of large transnational corporations (TNCs) have taken control over food production and trade (from seeds producers to supermarket chains). Governments and international institutions have developed policies to support agribusiness and to dismantle peasant's agriculture. Food has been left in the hands of speculators, leading to the current food crisis."
Anonymous said…
Sorry that I just skimmed over your posting. It's simply too long, too banal, and way too simplistic to actually dedicate times and effort to. If you are content stuck in your time warp of 30+ years ago, good for you. What you haven't realized is that there is simply not enough land on this planet the happiness and dignity that you make reference to. Once you parcel all the land, e.i. El Salvador's land reform fiasco, what you are left with is a checker board country of poverty without hope. And just think, once it's all parceled up and gone, what happens to the future generations? Let's say each of your rural families has, let's say, 3 or 4 kids. Now where's their land going to come from. Those who espouse your limited don't realize that what they are asking for is a whole lot of Haiti's or Bangladeshes. I'm not going continue because you aren't worth my effor, but get real! You are a silly man. smiling
Anonymous said…
What's going on, most of the postings don't address the topic. bye bye... If I wanted to see a circus and a bunch of leftist loonies, I'd go to Cuba.
Anonymous said…
Most of the "POOR RURAL FAMILIES" in Cuba are already here in this wonderful country of ours. Those that haven't made it yet are still rummaging through dumps trying to find that last viable innertube.
john said…
i.e "El Salvadors land reform fiasco.."

Ever heard of the word justice, those in favor of mass murder in order to continue an exploitative system of agroexport agriculture?

Justice: That's what Salvadorns in their social revolution of the 1970s-1990s, were trying to bring about: justice for those living in El Salvador's countryside in inhuman, immiserated, and impoverished life conditions, under an unsupportable land tenancy system.

Slain Archbishop Oscar Romero recognized this, and he cried out for change--including agrarian reform not stained with blood--but he was gunned down under orders of ARENA party founder Roberto D'Aubuisson.
Apologists for D'Aubuisson, Orlando de Sola, Hans Crist, and top-officers in the FAES hide with great difficulty the moral bankruptcy of their position.

Or perhaps their moral bankruptcy is what they would care to display, content with the view that might makes right?
Anonymous said…
Heck, you're probably right on a lot of what you say, but that's old and past history of 30 or 40 years ago. History is fluid and ongoing change, and we all need to keep-up evolve with it.
Hey, ...I think I remember you from a past post, you're that same "John" that to dedicate his life to chasing old military types in their wheel chairs around and around the block. Yeah, I remember now. One question, if all these loony lestist love Cuba and the Castro Bros. so much, why are they here? My guess is that they're masochists or just here looking for handouts or public assistance. We are, after all, a generous and good decent people.
Anonymous said…
I really could care less that some silly commie wanna bee enjoys rattling on about what he/she perceives as poverty in poor little ole Salvador and everywhere else except Cuba.

The inherent contradiction in all that clap trap ranting is that these leftist loonys are here, and not in Cuba! Just try to imagine the thriving business they could have on that tortured island just by selling used innertubes for a couple of bucks each. Innovative thinking and personal motivation, that's what you commies need.

Now the, quoting our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, "The poor will always be with you." So get used to it. I did, I listened to the boss, then went out and got a job. Perhaps it's easier to moan and grown, but with a job comes self esteem.

Poverty and/or the state of being poor is all in your mind. When you're really feeling sorry for your victimized self and you haven't got a dime to your name, just take a walk down the isle of the terminal ward of any major city hospital. Grasp and sick person's hand and gently squeeze.

It's not that you're a victim of society, but rather you're the victim of yourslef. A victim of your own laziness, and simply stated you just find it easier to sit on your porch, passing gas and blaming everybody but yourself.

OK, that's my good deed for the day. Now it's your turn to turn it around.
Anonymous said…
Holy Rollers keep their gaseous blovations to themselves so you blow your inner tubes out and not ours....comprende camarada y compadre....cuate...
Anonymous said…
What an interesting commentary!!!

You must be one of those types of individual referred to as "chusma" in El Salvador, right...

Please understand that someone like you is a curiosity to me, because here in the U.S.A. persons so obviously lacking are uncommon.