Showing posts from March, 2021

Teachers receiving shots as 1M vaccine doses land in El Salvador

On Sunday 1 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac arrived in El Salvador .   With the arrival of this two dose vaccine, El Salvador will now have the quantity of vaccine necessary to start vaccinating the general public. Prior to the arrival of the shipment from China, El Salvador had received three smaller shipments of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines which have been deployed to inoculate front-line healthcare workers and members of the police and military.  The CoronaVac shipment represents one half of a 2 million dose purchase by El Salvador from SinoVac. The first Salvadorans who will begin to receive the CoronaVac vaccine today are  the country's teachers in advance of schools reopening on April 6. The plans for which group will receive the vaccine in which order are never known until there is some tweet or statement to the press shortly before.  After public school teachers, it appears that the government plans to start

Martyrdom of Oscar Romero remembered

 Wednesday, March 24, was the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero by a death squad in El Salvador.   As was true a year ago, commemorations of the event had to be more limited to adhere to public health measures dictated by the pandemic. Chapel at Divina Providencia Hospital changes its name .  The Vatican announced a change in the name of the chapel where Oscar Romero was murdered.    The chapel will now be known as " Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Bishop and Martyr, Martyrial Chapel."   But it will still also be recognized as the chapel associated with the Divina Providencia cancer hospital where the martyred archbishop chose to live. Archbishop speaks at mass at Romero's tomb . The current archbishop of San Salvador Monsignor José Luis Escobar Alas said that Romero's message today would be focused on continuing to denounce inequality, and a system which oppresses the poor and protects the corrupt.   A gallery of images from the faithful visiting the

New book highlights anti-mining struggle

Once in a while, determined activists, with grit and determination, can defeat a multi-national mining corporation.    Water Defenders  is a new book with the inside story of the successful (but ongoing) struggle to prevent gold and other metallic mining in El Salvador. From the book's publisher : Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about pro

News shorts

Elections .  Final election results were announced by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for the Legislative Assembly which did not change the results announced earlier.   Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party won 46 seats on its own and 10 seats in coalition with GANA.  From the coalition with GANA, 9 of the 10 deputies selected are Nuevas Ideas members, giving Bukele 55 seats in the 84 seat Legislative Assembly from his own party.  The Nuevas Ideas alliance with GANA brings the total to 61, well above the total needed to appoint the attorney general and members of the Supreme Judicial Court. COVID-19 .   El Salvador's Ministry of Health stated that it has vaccinated more than 41,500 medical workers with a first dose of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.   The country plans to schedule second doses at 12 weeks to get more people vaccinated with a first dose.  The government also says it has been negotiating with the majority of vaccine manufacturers to acquire more doses of vaccine.   Meanwhile, m

Justice still delayed in El Mozote case

The world has known about the massacre of children, women, the elderly and others in El Mozote and surrounding communities for more than 39 years.   Yet the world still does not know if anyone will ever be held accountable and whether there will ever be justice for the victims of this atrocity. The InterAmerican Court for Human Rights issued a judgment in October 2012 finding that the Salvadoran state had violated the human rights of the El Mozote victims by failing to meet its obligation to investigate the facts that gave rise to the violations and to identify, prosecute and, as appropriate, punish those responsible.  El Salvador was also told to implement measures of restitution, rehabilitation and satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.    On March 4, the InterAmerican Court held a new  hearing  to determinate how the parties were complying with that judgment.  The day before the hearing, on March 3, the Attorney General's office in El Salvador filed a motion to have an

A year of COVID-19 in El Salvador

On March 11, 2020, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele issued his first emergency decree to respond to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.   This week Thursday, exactly one year later, El Salvador received its second shipment of vaccines and finally plans to partially reopen schools closed by that first decree.  Today we look back at the past year with its lockdowns and quarantines, its conflicts among branches of government, and the ups and downs of a pandemic which still afflicts the country. That first executive decree on March 11 also prohibited the entry into El Salvador of anyone who is not a Salvadoran citizen or permanent resident, effective that same day.   Any Salvadoran or resident who returned to the country following the decree was subject to a thirty day quarantine, which did not depend on the country from which the person came or whether the person was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. The decree suspended classes in all public and private schools and universitie

The demands of the Salvadoran women's movement

 With the celebration of the International Day of the Woman on March 8, this is a good time to review the status of women's rights in El Salvador.   An increasingly vocal women's movement is highlighting the violence and inequality women continue to face in the male-dominated culture of the country. On Sunday, March 7, streets in the center of San Salvador were filled with hundreds of women marching to demand recognition of their rights.    Concerns expressed by the marchers included violence against women, El Salvador’s absolute ban on abortion, lack of equal pay, lack of political representation and more. There is a photogallery filled with other images of the march here . The women's march ended up in the historic center of San Salvador at Plaza Gerardo Barrios bordered by the National Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral.    Certain members of the crowd spray-painted graffiti messages on concrete barriers outside the National Palace and on the base of the statue of Barri

One party rule comes to El Salvador

Five days after the elections in El Salvador, more of the smoke has cleared and the scope of the election victories of Nuevas Ideas, the political party of president Nayib Bukele is more visible.   Although final results will not be declared until next week, the size of the tidal wave which is sweeping through the halls of power is obvious: Legislative Assembly for 2021-24 (and change from current Assembly): Nuevas Ideas 56 deputies (+56) ARENA 14 deputies  (-23) GANA  5  deputies (-5) FMLN 4  deputies (-19) PCN 2 deputies (-7) Nuestro Tiempo 1 deputy (+1) VAMOS 1 deputy (+1) PDC (1) deputy (-2)  Local elections    Candidates from Nuevas Ideas won election as mayor in 149 of the country's 262 municipalities.   This included 13 of the 14 cites which are department seats including the biggest prize, San Salvador.   In San Salvador, Mario Duran, the former Minister of Governance in Nayib Bukele's cabinet won easily over the current mayor Ernesto Muyshondt of ARENA.   Candidates fr

Nayib Bukele consolidates control over El Salvador as Nuevas Ideas dominates election

Preliminary results from Sunday's national elections in El Salvador show that president Nayib Bukele has consolidated power as his Nuevas Ideas party took commanding control of the country's legislature.   The party appears certain to have achieved the 2/3rds majority necessary not only to pass laws, but to appoint the next attorney general and members of the supreme court.   It was a decisive rebuke to the older parties, ARENA and FMLN, which had governed the country for decades. TSE graph of preliminary results as of 6:30 Monday morning      The preliminary election results posted by El Salvador's Supreme Electoral Tribunal can be viewed here . Nuevas Ideas and Bukele swept the Legislative Assembly elections for three main reasons. First, the president has successfully promoted a vision of El Salvador as a leading country in the region with a bright future. Second, the attacks on the incumbent parties in power ring true with the population. Third, the Salvado