El Salvador

A little-known but controversial World Bank tribunal has bucked tradition and ruled against corporate power on October 14.

The tribunal rejected Canadian-Australian gold mining giant OceanaGold’s claim that El Salvador interfered with its profits when the government pulled the plug on a proposed gold mine.

The seven-year, multi-million dollar, largely secretive court battle had pitted mining-affected Salvadoran communities — supported by international human rights groups — against the deep pockets of OceanaGold.

FMLN supporters celebrate election victory. March, 2014.

Thirty-five years after its founding, El Salvador's historic Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) is set to hold its first national congress at the end of October.

FMLN congress, November 6. Photo: FMLN.

El Salvador's governing left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) concluded its first national congress on November 8 with plans to advance its struggles against inequality, exclusion and neoliberalism.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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