Recent news from El Salvador

Here are a collection of short highlights from recent news in El Salvador:

Former president of El Salvador Mauricio Funes is now a Nicaraguan citizen.  Funes, who is wanted in El Salvador on corruption charges, has been in exile in Nicaragua and was granted political asylum there.    Becoming a Nicaraguan citizen gives him more protection because the Nicaraguan constitution prohibits extradition of Nicaraguan nationals to third countries.

The National Assembly elected new magistrates to the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.   The new magistrates will oversee the 2021 national elections for mayors and deputies in the National Assembly.   Although magistrates are supposed to be non-partisan, observers noted numerous party links among the new magistrates who were chosen following back room discussions among the country's major political parties.

El Salvador completed an international bond offering of slightly more than $1 billion.  The proceeds will retire $800 million in debt which comes due later this year, and more than $200 million will be used in the current budget.

The average daily number of homicides in El Salvador has dropped to 5.2 in July, the second full month of Nayib Bukele's administration and the first full month of implementation of his Territorial Control Plan.  This rate is well below rates seen since 2014.  The country hopes this reduction is real and sustainable.

In ceremonies this week in front of the National Palace, Nayib Bukele swore in more than 1000 new soldiers and more than  360 new police agents.    All are dedicated to support of the Territorial Control Plan.

The government of El Salvador will give $100,000 to Scouts in the country.   The money is intended to strengthen scouting in vulnerable areas and to offer options to youth who might otherwise be attracted to gangs.

A strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the country just before midnight Tuesday night.  The quake, located off the Pacific coast near La Libertad did not lead to reports of serious damage.

Outgoing US ambassador Jean Manes has been receiving tributes and recognition this week from the Salvadoran government and other associations.   In recent months, she has been seen regularly at the side of Nayib Bukele as he adopts a more US-friendly foreign policy.

El Salvador is in talks with Australia and the US attempting to obtain seasonal visas for agricultural workers in those countries.   Such legal immigration is seen as one response to the problem of "irregular" migration.

Journalist Nina Lakahani provides a look at the continuing inability of El Salvador to solve its water crisis in her article Living without water: the crisis pushing people out of El Salvador.  "As in just about every aspect of life in El Salvador, the water problem is only exacerbated by corporate interests, corruption and the country’s vicious street gangs."

Comments

Larry Ladutke said…
The homicide rate may officially be down, but, as you previously posted, the government has decided to stop counting any killings by police as homicides. I believe you also reported on the growing number of missing persons and the fact that they are not counted towards homicides even if their bodies are eventually located.
Jefferson said…
Please provide a citation to these claims. I can't find anything that backs up these claims, but I am open to proof. Thanks.
David Amdur said…
https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/el-salvador-omit-key-data-homicides/
Jefferson said…
The Insight Crime article is based on an article by El Mundo. Also, there is a tweet by El Mundo that was re-tweeted by Bukele:

#Ahora l "En el caso del desaparecido casi siempre la gente va a denunciar que su familiar desapareció", dice @nayibbukele Homicidios y desaparecidos "son dos cifras que deben estarse chequeando a la vez", dice el mandatario. #Reporta @ilihissell
https://twitter.com/ElMundoSV/status/1150994945299406848

The El mundo article says:
Sin embargo, la Policía Nacional Civil (PNC) explicó al presidente de la República que las cifras de homicidios solo son de “violencia social”, y no incluyen muertes violentas por enfrentamientos entre pandillas y agentes de la PNC, y tampoco de hallazgos de cuerpos enterrados.

I would actually like to see the government explain its policy. At the same time, the important thing is that the government is taking security seriously, and they are cracking down on abusive cops.