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Showing posts from July, 2020

The plagues afflicting El Salvador

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For those living in El Salvador, it can feel like life is being lived in a series of apocalyptic moments, as plagues, natural and man-made, buffet the country.  1 )   The newest plague – voracious locusts.    Swarms of flying locusts, which can devastate fields of crops in a matter of hours, have arrived in Central America.   The hungry insects have already caused damage in the department of Peten in Guatemala and the International Organizationfor Regional Agricultural Health (OIRSA)  has warned El Salvador to be on alert.President Nayib Bukele promptly announced his government is taking immediate measures to confront the threat.   The government circulating images of soldiers walking through corn fields searching for the insects.   The president flew with a squad of military helicopters to hold a press conference in a corn field in San Vicente department to describe the government’s commitment.  Bukele said the government was committed to fighting an outbreak of locusts and would be …

Eyewitness testimony in Jesuit massacre trial

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The Jesuit massacre trial proceeded this week in Spain with three more days of testimony.  The witnesses included former Lieutenant Yusshy Mendoza, who was one of the Salvadoran soldiers at the University of Central America on the night of the assassinations, and Lucia Barrera and her husband Jorge who, unbeknownst to the assassins, heard the gunshots, shouts of the priests, and saw the Salvadoran soldiers as they departed.
 El Faro put together a video with the highlights of some of the testimony:
Video of all the witness testimony is accessible here.
Very good English language summaries of the testimony are being put together by the Guernica Center.  From the summary of Mendoza's testimony:  Lieutenant Mendoza continued his account of the events of the evening of 15 November 1989. Following the orders he had received from the High Command, Colonel Benavides ordered his second in command, Major Camilo Hernández Barahona, to organize the operation. Benavides sent for Lieutenant Espino…

Colapsado

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"Colapsado" -- collapsed -- this is the word currently used to describe the state of the public hospital system in El Salvador.   The system is overwhelmed by suspected cases of novel coronavirus.   The cases are labelled as "suspected" because there are not enough tests to use on most people presenting with symptoms of the pandemic disease.   If the virus kills someone before they receive a test, the death will never be logged in the official COVID-19 death count.
Every indicator in the official statistics of the growing impact of the disease has been rising steadily throughout June until the present.  The "curve" is definitely not flat.  Daily new confirmed cases, persons hospitalized, daily deaths, percentage of positive test results have all climbed.  The official death toll as of July 5 is 223 for persons who received a positive COVID-19 test, but the actual total could be multiples higher according to reports from municipal cemeteries where suspected…

Frustrated expectations

Editorial Central American University, El Salvador Originally published in Spanish June 3, 2020
A year ago, when Nayib Bukele took office as President of the Republic on June 1, many Salvadorans were excited about the new government and had expectations of great and good changes for the country. A year later, whoever follows the government's work with care and realism can only be deeply disappointed: almost all those expectations have been frustrated.
In this first year, the main change has been the drastic decrease in homicides. This cannot be attributed to the administration's Territorial Control Plan, since, as indicated by the upsurge in murders over the weekend of April 25-26, the gangs' power in the territories is intact, and they continue to be able to kill whenever they want to. This is the most obvious sign that the crime problem has not been solved.
The various plans that the President has announced throughout this year, such as the National Health Plan and the Econom…