18 years later - here's what's in the news
I started writing El Salvador Perspectives (then just called Tim's El Salvador Blog) 18 years ago today. This small country continues to produce a wealth of topics to write about. Here's a sampling of what is going on this week.
- The government has extended for an 8th time the State of Exception with its suspension of constitutional due process guarantees. According to the PNC, more than 57,000 people have been arrested during the course of this war on gangs since March 27.
- The Salvadoran government has warned persons near the Chaparrastique volcano to be on alert as the volcano is currently experiencing ongoing small explosions of gas and ash from the crater area.
- Bitcoin enthusiasts arrived in El Salvador for the Adopting BTC conference at a time when the crypto market is in turmoil, and the price of Bitcoin as sunk below $17,000 USD. Bukele announced on Twitter that the country will start buying 1 BTC per day. At current prices, Bukele's Bitcoin purchases of 2381 Bitcoin have accumulated unrealized losses of $67.5 million USD.
- A Hollywood movie with the title Fireflies at El Mozote is currently filming in the country.
- Asylum seekers, including those from El Salvador, will no longer be immediately expelled from the US after crossing the southern border under Title 42. A federal judge voided the Trump era policy, continued under the Biden administration, which allowed immediate expulsions of border crossers under the pretext of being a public health measure necessitated by the COVID pandemic.
- The UCA awarded the 2022 Segundo Montes prize in Human Rights for organizations to the Collective Movement to Save Valle el Angel. The movement has been fighting a real estate mega-development owned by one of El Salvador's wealthiest families which threatens water resources and the environment in the greater San Salvador area. Winning the prize for individual human rights advocates was Madre Guadalupe Mejia, founder of CODEFAM, for her tireless work on behalf of the families of victims of human rights abuses.
- Lonely Planet listed El Salvador as one of its top travel destinations for 2023. I agree. And it's a reflection of the success of the marketing efforts which the Bukele government excels at.