The United States is threatening the small Central American country of El Salvador with financial repercussions for supporting Venezuela's campaign for the repeal of US sanctions against the country. The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) government of Salvador Sanchez Ceren, together with all of countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, has called on US President Barack Obama to repeal his executive order declaring Venezuela to be a “threat” to US national security.
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela began his visit to Panama City for the Summit of the Americas with a visit to the impoverished neighbourhood of El Chorrillo to lay a wreath at the monument to those killed by the US bombing of the community during the 1989 US invasion of Panama. The seventh Summit of the Americas, held in Panama City on April 10 and 11, was widely hailed as a victory for left-leaning and progressive forces in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba.
The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has won 86 of the 262 mayorships of El Salvador in March 1 elections, including the capital San Salvador, according to preliminary reports, TeleSUR English said on March 4. The ruling FMLN also announced it won a legislative majority in the National Assembly and the Central American Parliament. The FMLN said it would now govern areas covering more than 65% of the population, compared to 45% in the past.
Bolivia's fast growing economy fuelled by social spending The Bolivian government said the Andean nation’s gross domestic product grew US$34 billion last year, establishing it as one of the fastest growing economies in the region, TeleSUR English said on February 17. Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera said that the country’s Social Community Productive Economic Model allowed for the economy to grow, despite a fall in prices for raw materials. “In 1996 the Bolivian economy accounted for $5.3 billion and by 2005, $9.5 billion dollars,” Garcia said.
Political parties in El Salvador formally wrapped up their campaigns on February 25 ahead of local and legislative elections schedule for March 1, with polls showing the left-wing Farabundu Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) ahead of right-wing rivals. Electors in Latin America's smallest country will head to the polls to elect mayors as well as representatives to the country's Legislative Assembly.
Australian-based company OceanaGold is suing El Salvador for US$301 million for its “right” to continue operating a gold mine that is destroying the Central American nation's water supply. The El Dorado goldmine was originally owned by Canadian company Pacific Rim, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of OceanaGold last year. The Australian company is continuing Pacific Rim's lawsuit, suing the Salvadoran government over a moratorium on mining permits. In 2008, the right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA) government was forced by public demand to issue the moratorium.
Since the start of the year, many newspapers have dedicated article after article to predictions of a looming demise of South America's so-called “Pink Tide” The term “Pink Tide” is used to refer to the wave of left-of-centre governments elected in South America in recent years. Several such governments have recently been up for re-election. Pollsters and commentators alike argued that for many, their time in government was up. Instead, on October 26, Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration.
The administration of Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren celebrated its 100th day in office last month, taking the chance to report on actions taken to advance towards equality. Among the achievements of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) administration is the opening of 43 new community health clinics, along with the first specialised pharmacy for patients with chronic illnesses.
People gathered outside the World Bank office in Sydney on September 5 to protest the bank’s involvement in an Australian mining company’s attempt to sue the government of El Salvador for US$301 million. Pacific Rim, a Canadian company that was bought by Australian OceanaGold last year, applied to mine gold in northern El Salvador in 2004. The Salvadoran government refused it permission, arguing the company did not own or have rights to the land it proposed to mine, it did not have environmental permissions and it did not submit a final feasibility study for the project.
El Salvador approves progressive tax reforms El Salvador’s National Legislative Assembly passed a package of tax reforms on July 31, CISPES.org said on August 13. The laws aim to shifting the fiscal burden from the nation’s poor majority to the wealthy elite and ease the country’s dependence on international loans to finance important social investment. The bill was approved despite a fierce campaign against it in the nation’s conservative media.
El Salvador joined four other Latin American countries in recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest against Israel’s bloody attack on the Gaza Strip, International Business Times said on July 30. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have all recalled their diplomatic representatives to Israel.
Marta Harnecker, a veteran Chilean-born author and politcal analyst who as an advisor to the government of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez between 2004-11, spoke to Jose P. Gurrero about the new left-wing government in El Salvador.