Author Archive for: Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: November 2013 / Informe mensual noviembre 2013
It is not yet known who was responsible for the November 14th assault on the office of the human rights institution Pro-Búsqueda. But, coming in the context of last month’s shut-down of the Catholic human rights office Tutela Legal, and a much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling that could nullify or repeal the country’s 1993 amnesty law, thereby opening the door to prosecutions of war crimes, there are reasons to be concerned about the human rights climate in El Salvador.
El Salvador Update: October 2013 / Informe mensual octubre 2013
Human Rights: The sudden shutdown of Tutela Legal, El Salvador’s well-respected Catholic human rights office, on orders from the Archbishop of San Salvador, stunned the national and international human rights community. Several weeks later, the motivations for the closing and the future of the archives remain obscure.
News Update: San Salvador Archbishop shuts down historic human rights office, Tutela Legal
Yesterday morning El Faro reported that Tutela Legal is closed. On Monday morning, September 30th, Tutela Legal employees arrived at their office to find the doors locked, armed guards outside. Without any warning, the 12 employees were told one by one to collect their personal belongings and leave. The only… read more »
El Salvador Update: September 2013 / Informe mensual septiembre 2013
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact:
El Salvador is on the verge of becoming the first country to receive a second MCC development grant. The MCC Board approved the proposal on September 12th, but Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) raised objections, charging “inaction” by President Funes on sensitive issues including organized crime and corruption. The ensuing contretemps between the President and the Senator could delay or even derail the process.
El Salvador Update: August 2013 / Informe mensual agosto 2013
This summer’s end finds Salvadorans more scandalized by news of alleged game fixing by their beloved soccer team than by the report that two of the country’s best-known – and as yet publicly unnamed – businesses have failed to pay $50 million each in taxes. Still, there is good news for the nation’s coffers as well as for anti-mining activists and the environment: The lawsuit for $100 million brought against the government by the Commerce Group Corporation was tossed out by the World Banks’s arbitration center, ICSID (International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.)
El Salvador Update: July 2013 / Informe mensual julio 2013
As a number of challenging weeks for El Salvador’s 17-month gang truce wrapped up, President Mauricio Funes indicated that his government is pushing ahead on the peace process “with determination” and, he emphasized, “The mediators have our support.” The explosion of gang violence that occurred during the first days of July was either the result of a “dirty war” to undermine the truce, according to truce mediators, or, as others insist, a strategy by the gangs to assert political power over the government and push for more privileges.
El Salvador Update: June 2013 / Informe mensual junio 2013
After El Salvador’s gang truce and peace process reached its 15th month, the process experienced a period of intense upheaval. The ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court that President Funes’ security appointments were unconstitutional led to a sudden spate of firings and resignations. The appointment of a new security team and replacements in key leadership positions could be positive in the long run if the changes include more transparency and clarity. However, the rules of the game appear all the more ambiguous, and the abrupt transition caused confusion and unease.
The First Year: A Chronology of the Gang Truce and Peace Process in El Salvador
Since March of 2012, El Salvador has experienced an unprecedented drop in violence due to a truce between the country’s two largest street gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. Exceeding many early expectations, the truce has lasted over a year, and evolved to encompass a broader peace process within Salvadoran society. The extent to which the Salvadoran government has been involved in the process, even the nature of its involvement, remains uncertain and is a source of contention. But, the ongoing truce and peace process presents real lessons and serious public policy implications and now, with many communities signing on to the “violence-free municipality” initiative and thousands of lives saved by an over 50% reduction in homicides, much is at stake.
El Salvador Update: May 2013 / Informe mensual mayo 2013
President Mauricio Funes ended the fourth year of his five-year term with a rousing address to the National Assembly on June 1st. He lauded the achievements of his administration, lambasted ARENA, and interestingly gave only passing mention to his controversial public security policy, which has been under fire for the past month. By the end of May, the future of El Salvador’s gang truce – which has resulted in a dramatic and continual reduction in homicides for the last fourteen months – seemed uncertain, after a series of seemingly unrelated events unfolded that could derail the peace process. For their part however, El Salvador’s Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gang leaders remain committed.
El Salvador: Give Peace a Chance – Again
Twenty-one years ago, the international community mediated a settlement to El Salvador’s bitterly fought civil war. After months of hard negotiations, the 12-year-long military conflict ended. But, a gang war would soon take its place, in which 50,000 Salvadorans were murdered, and it continued without relent until last year, when El Salvador embarked on a risky path that just might lead to a second peace. The results have been dramatic but the strategy faces strong opposition in El Salvador and the U.S.