News from El Salvador

There's a lot going on in El Salvador this week.

Oscar Romero beatification - May 23.   The announcement was made in El Salvador that the celebration of Oscar Romero's beatification by the Roman Catholic church will take place on May 23 in Plaza Salvador del Mundo in San Salvador.  The announcement was made by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, postulator of the Óscar Romero beatification cause at a press conference on Wednesday morning, sitting alongside the President of El Salvador, the Archbishop of San Salvador, and the Papal Nuncio to El Salvador.   Get all the details here at the Super Martyrio blog.

Rutilio Grande anniversary.   Today is the 38th anniversary of the martyrdom of Father Rutilio Grande, S.J.  Rutilio Grande was a Jesuit priest working with poor campesinos in the area around El Paisnal, El Salvador. On March 12, 1977, while driving on the road between El Paisnal and Aguilares, unknown assassins killed Father Grande, as well as two of his campesino parishioners, Manuel Solorzano, 72, and Nelson Rutilio Lemus, 16.  Rutilio Grande was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and this killing is said to have been one of the key events leading Romero to align his ministry with the cause of the poor and oppressed in El Salvador.   With Romero's beatification, and the presence of Archbishop Paglia in El Salvador, the commemoration of Fr. Rutilio's murder took on special significance, as the church announced that Rutilio Grande was also a possible candidate for sainthood.

The final vote count continues.  As of Wednesday, according to the TSE web site, more than 81% of the vote tally sheets had been reviewed in the election for deputies for the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN),   ARENA and the FMLN were in a virtual tie with 40.07% and 39.99% of the votes respectively.   The next closest party was GANA with 8.92%.  

The scrutiny of votes for the National Assembly has commenced, with 12% of the votes counted.  There the early results are also very similar to the PARLACEN totals with the FMLN with 36% and ARENA with 37.2%.   With only 1/8th of those votes counted, you could not predict the distribution of power in the National Assembly, but most media in El Salvador have forecast that neither the FMLN or ARENA will have a majority and will need to make alliances with the smaller parties as has been true over the past decade.

Former El Salvador Minister of Defense to be deported from US.  From the New York Times:
In a decision setting a significant human rights precedent, an immigration appeals court has ruled that a former defense minister of El Salvador, a close ally of Washington during the civil war there in the 1980s, can be deported from the United States because he participated in or concealed torture and murder by his troops. 
The decision, published Wednesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of the former official, Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, found that he had a direct role in the abuse and killings of civilians because of his “command responsibility” as the top military officer.
Country on alert for forest fires. At the height of the dry season, the country's civil protection authorities have put the country on orange alert for fire. Some 30 fires had been reported across the country in the past week.  A brush fire on the slopes of the San Salvador volcano continues to devour terrain.