Showing posts from October, 2022

Arrests made in Dutch journalists case

Forty years have passed since their crimes were committed.   But in the past week, former military figures from El Salvador's civil war have been arrested for their roles in the cold-blooded killing of four Dutch journalists covering that war.   In early 1982, El Salvador was a dangerous place for journalists covering the civil war between FMLN guerrillas and the country's armed forces.   Despite the danger, Dutch journalists, Koos Koster, Jan Kuiper, Joop Willemse and Hans ter Laag, ventured out to the Department of Chalatenango to get an interview with guerrilla fighters.   The Salvadoran army ambushed their group and killed all the journalists.  The ambush was one of the war crimes documented in the 1993 UN Truth Commission Report following the conclusion of El Salvador's civil war: On the afternoon of 17 March 1982, four Dutch journalists accompanied by five or six members of FMLN, some of them armed, were ambushed by a patrol of the Atonal Battalion of the Salvadorian

New government Advocate for the Defense of Human Rights - PDDH

Raquel Caballero de Guevara El Salvador's Legislative Assembly has elected Raquel Caballero de Guevara, as El Salvador's new Procuradora para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos or "PDDH". Into English, this is usually translated as Human Rights Ombudsman, but I think a better translation is Advocate for the Defense of Human Rights.  Caballero previously held this same position from 2016-19. In her interviews with the Legislative Assembly, Caballero, like all other candidates interviewed by the legislature , expressed no concerns over human rights violations as part of the ongoing State of Exception.  Her new appointment had critics who pointed out that she was sanctioned in 2019 by El Salvador's Government Ethics Tribunal for nepotism when she gave a promotion and salary increase to her daughter-in-law who worked in the office of the PDDH.  Caballero is also on record favoring El Salvador's absolute ban on abortions.   The current PDDH, Apolonio Tobar, soug

The aftermath of Tropical Storm Julia

Caserío El Icaco, Usulután It is still wet and muddy in El Salvador two days after the passage of Tropical Storm Julia along the length of this small country.        According to authorities , as of Wednesday night, the death toll stood at 10.  There are 102 open shelters providing refuge to 2837 people -- 947 families, 1580 adults and  1,257 children. The government said that 433 homes were damaged, 190 landslides occurred, and there were 294 locations where roads had been impassable for some portion of time. El Salvador is seeing widespread agricultural losses as small farmers lost crops in their flooded fields.  More than 17,0000 acres were affected, with reductions in rice and bean harvest being forecast, as well as damage to 5% of the coffee crop. Tuesday, the president's office revealed that Nayib Bukele had visited the site in Comasagua where 5 soldiers had perished in a mudslide. The president ordered the country to fly flags at half staff in memory of the 10 Salvadora

Tropical Storm Julia swamps El Salvador

Tropical storm Julia passed along the length of El Salvador's Pacific Coast Sunday night into Monday, bringing with it torrential rains and flooding throughout the entire country.    As the storm approached on Sunday, red alerts were declared in every region of the small Central American country and president Nayib Bukele declared a national day of prayer. As of 12:30 PM local time on Monday, the death toll stood at 9.   The largest single tragedy involved the death of 5 soldiers when they were buried under a mudslide in Comasagua.  The soldiers had been part of an ongoing security operation which has cordoned off the municipality for more than a week. Two people died when a retaining wall collapsed in Morazan, another when a tree fell on a house and a motorcyclist died in an accident when a flooded current caused him to lose control. Rainfall totals through 7 a.m. on Monday Widespread flooding appeared first in the eastern part of the country, but as the storm continued its pa

State of Exception in its 7th month

El Salvador has now lived for more than 6 months under the emergency “State of Exception” which suspends various constitutional guarantees of due process for those detained by authorities, limits the right of association, and authorizes warrantless phone taps under the guise of fighting a war against the gangs. Where does the State of Exception stand today? The Bukele regime proclaims that it has now arrested more than 54,000 persons alleged to have ties to the gangs since March 27.   And daily it continues to announce additional arrests of persons that security forces say are tied to one of the country's street gangs.    Starting Saturday, October 1, police and military  set up a cordon  around the town of Comasagua, searching all who entered or left as security forces searched for gang members allegedly linked to a recent killing. By Monday, police said they had captured  more than 50  linked to the Witmer Locos Salvatruchos cell of MS-13 in the area. The government tweeted ou