Back for 2020

El Salvador Perspectives has been gone for a few weeks to start the year, but luckily there were many others in the English language press covering events in El Salvador.   A recent series of articles has a common thread of looking at the impact of violence in El Salvador which forces people to be flee their homes. 

We’re deporting people back to gangs. What about offering refuge and aid?   In an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mark Fazlollah writes   "I found that the economic forces and violence driving people to leave are so strong that I don’t see how we can address our immigration problems without helping El Salvador tackle those issues. Short-term solutions are not going to work for problems that have been decades in the making, sometimes resulting from problematic U.S. policies."

El Salvador's Top Anglican Bishop Urges U.S. to Not Deport Son. Reuters reports that "The top Anglican bishop of El Salvador has urged the United States not to deport his son back to the troubled Central American nation, fearing brutal gangs who have threatened to murder the 34-year-old for refusing to work for them."

A new study suggests that street gangs inflict broad economic harm. The Economist reports on a new economic study which finds that neighborhoods located at the boundaries of gang territories become more impoverished as a result.  "Once transnational gangs arrived in El Salvador, large gaps in living standards emerged at the borders between their turfs."

A New Law on Forcible Displacement Gives Thousands of Salvadorans a New Lease on Life.  From VOA News: "El Salvador has passed a new law on internally displaced people that the U.N. refugee agency says will offer a new lease on life for tens of thousands of victims forcibly displaced by gang violence and organized crime."

A civil war in El Salvador tore them apart. Their high school reunion brought them back together.  This article in the LA Times reports on the reunion of the 1978 graduating class from a high school in Usulutan, El Salvador.   The classmates talk about how El Salvador's bloody civil war, which commenced soon after their graduation, forced many to flee to the US and disrupted the plans they had made on graduation.

How the US helped create El Salvador’s bloody gang war by William Wheeler in the Guardian.  An overview of how the history of El Salvador's major street gangs started with deportations of gang members from southern California in the 1990s leading to a crescendo of murderous violence peaking in 2015.  Wheeler points to responses of the Trump administration which make it almost impossible for victims of gang violence to seek asylum and policies which send asylum seekers back to Guatemala.  This article in the Guardian is an excerpt from Wheeler's book published this month, MS-13 and El Salvador’s World of Violence, The Story of MS-13 and Its American Roots