Showing posts from December, 2015

US plans round-ups and deportations of Central Americans

The Washington Post broke the story two days before Christmas -- US immigration authorities are planning raids in coming months to round up Central American families and deport them: The Department of Homeland Security has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year, according to people familiar with the operation.  The nationwide campaign, to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as soon as early January, would be the first large-scale effort to deport families who have fled violence in Central America, those familiar with the plan said. More than 100,000 families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border since last year, though this migration has largely been overshadowed by a related surge of unaccompanied minors.  The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have already been

Where Are We Going?

Last week, the blog of Ernesto Rivas published an essay by veteran respected politician  Héctor Dada Hirezi.  The essay is titled Hacia Adonde Vamos?   (Where Are We Going? )  He is a long time figure in Salvadoran politics and perhaps one of the most respected.  Most recently Dada Hirezi  was Minister of the Economy from 2009-2012 during the administration of Mauricio Funes. The essay is a clear eyed look at the problems confronting El Salvador, but also of positive developments in the country starting with the peaceful transfer of power to the country's first leftist president in 2009.   Equally important is the development of an independent Supreme Court in the country.   And the changes are resisted by old guards on the right and the left who hold onto the power within party leadership. The essay is well worth reading (sorry, Spanish only).  (Tip of the hat to Gene for pointing me to the essay).  

El Salvador corruption round-up

A major theme in the 2015 news from El Salvador was corruption, or more specifically, the actual investigation of corruption. The corruption case against former president Francisco Flores continues, despite a recent setback delivered by an El Salvador appeals court.   Public integrity and civil society advocates were initially cheering when the trial court ruled that Flores would stand trial on charges of money laundering as well as corruption and illicit enrichment charges.   The court also ruled that private complainants could participate in the case.   Last week, the an appeals court threw out the money laundering charge .   The appellate judges also ruled that Flores could return home under house arrest rather than being imprisoned while awaiting trial.    The trial itself will take place in January 2016. Another ex-president was arrested last week.   The former president of El Salvador's national soccer federation, Reynaldo Vasquez, was arrested as part of the global

35th anniversary of murder of the four US churchwomen

Today is another of those sad anniversaries that mark the passage of the years since the end of El Salvador's civil war.   Thirty-five years ago today, armed soldiers of the Salvadoran military stopped the van carrying four US churchwomen, took the women to a remote place, raped and murdered them. Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, lay missionary Jean Donovan and Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford had been devoting themselves to caring for the poor in a country spiraling into armed conflict. Their deaths became a symbol of the savage lengths to which the Salvadoran state would go to preserve its privileges of power. They joined the ranks of the martyrs of the struggle for justice in El Salvador. The UN Truth Commission Report following the war describes the basic facts: Shortly after 7 p.m. on 2 December 1980, members of the National Guard of El Salvador arrested four churchwomen as they were leaving Comalapa International Airport. Churchwomen Ita Ford, Maura Clark