Showing posts from April, 2023

A Cardinal echoes Oscar Romero in denouncing abuses of State of Exception

In the 1970's in El Salvador, the government engaged in widespread violations of human rights, with arbitrary detentions, torture and disappearances.  Then archbishop, now Saint, Oscar Romero, denounced such atrocities from the pulpit of San Salvador's Metropolitan Cathedral in his weekly sermons. That courage to speak out against the repressive government would result in slander and vilification of Romero by the ruling oligarchic regime, and would ultimately lead to his assassination. On the 43rd anniversary of Romero's martyrdom this past March 24, another bishop of the Roman Catholic church in El Salvador took to that pulpit to point to abuse of human rights and innocent persons imprisoned.  Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez preached on the abuses of the State of Exception and the timidity of the local church, so far, in responding. Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez addressing “state of exception” here, which has resulted in arbitrary detentions without right to legal counsel

In case you missed it

April has brought much to read in English about El Salvador, especially in the area of US relations in the context of the ongoing suspension of constitutional rights in El Salvador and in the area of government finances and the economy.    The State of Exception and US Relations  After making a visit to El Salvador and meeting with Bukele, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote an editorial in Compact Magazine proclaiming: Bukele is a democratically elected leader who has enacted reforms with the collaboration of legislators and the people who elected him. I would be the first to condemn any tyrannical move from Bukele, but I also think it’s absurd to criticize him for giving Salvadoran people their freedom back.... This isn’t a call to make a celebrity out of Nayib Bukele or to ignore the fragility of his nation’s democratic institutions. It’s simply a call to inject some common sense into our treatment of friendly nations. President Biden seems to think he can lecture and s

The State of Exception pushes out gangs and informal vendors from San Salvador's Historic Center

The Historic Center of El Salvador's capital city, San Salvador is being transformed. Streets which were once crowded and overflowing with an informal economy of street vendors have been emptied.   Historic buildings are being seen once again.  Pedestrians stroll and take selfies as the government seeks to attract tourism and investment into the heart of the City. The overall purpose of the renovation is to encourage tourism in the Historic Center and to create a more “orderly” area of the city.  There is a new  Historic Center website  in Spanish and English which includes maps, virtual tours, and descriptions of available guided tours.  The site even contains links to a new smartphone app to guide visitors through the area. But what of the vendors who formerly earned their subsistence living on those streets? They have been displaced from the center with promises of spots in municipal markets around the City.  The government says they voluntarily dismantled their posts, but many

El Salvador government report on well-being of the population

The government of El Salvador released at the end of March its annual Multi-purpose Household Survey ("EHPM" for its initials in Spanish) for 2022.   Here are some of the statistics contained in this year's report regarding the people of El Salvador.  According to the estimates in the 2022 EHPM, the population of the country is 6.33 million people:   53.3% of the population is female 61.7% of the population lives in urban areas 30.7% of the population is younger than 20 27.4% of the population lives in the department of San Salvador 24.7% of young people between the ages of 15-29 are not in school or employed. The percentage of the population living in poverty in 2022 was 26.6%, while the percentage living in extreme poverty was 8.6%.  This was an increase in poverty rates compared to 2021, and was primarily due to inflation increasing the cost of that basic basket of goods which defines the poverty level in the country while household earnings were not keeping pace. Dat

Semana Santa

This week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in El Salvador.   A week of religious celebrations commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and of vacations and time spent with family.  Although recent polling shows that fewer than 40% of Salvadorans now describe themselves as members of the Roman Catholic church, the cultural flavor of Semana Santa is deeply rooted in centuries of Roman Catholicism.  Here is a collection of videos to share some of the week's events in different parts of the country.  Palm Sunday procession in San Salvador: El #CentroHistóricoSS es la ruta de la fe. La procesión recorre: la iglesia El Rosario, Catedral y puntos emblemáticos. El corazón de El Salvador recibe a miles de feligreses en la primera actividad de la Semana Santa. ✝️⛪️ ¡Sin duda alguna, un día histórico!🌿 — Alcaldía de San Salvador (@alcaldia_ss) April 2, 2023 Monday of Semana Santa in Sonsonate:   In Texistepeque, los Talciguines -- devils -- run thr

More coverage of the State of Exception after One Year

A week ago I shared a large number of articles written about the one year anniversary of the State of Exception highlighting both the evaporation of gang control in territories across the country and the abuses of the security forces and justice system.   Even more has been published on a variety of topics surrounding the security regime, and I gather many pieces in today's post.     RevistaFactum along with ElimTV published a series of video interviews and a collection of the basic facts surrounding the State of Exception in a special section on the Factum website.   The interviews include a vendor from the central of San Salvador who describes how much safer she feels, and an interview with a mother whose son was a victim of an arbitrary detention.   Also included are interviews with an investigative journalist, an academic researcher, and Pastor Mario Vega of Elim Church. El Faro has made its extensive review of the first year of the State of Exception available in English here