In 2015, the population of El Salvador was estimated to be around 6.4 million people. The majority of the population is ethnically Mestizo with a small percentage of other ethnicities such as indigenous peoples and Afro-Salvadorans. The economy of El Salvador is primarily based on agriculture and services, followed by industry and tourism. In terms of foreign relations, El Salvador is a member of several international organizations including the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS) and World Trade Organization (WTO). See ehealthfacts for El Salvador in the year of 2005.
In 2015, politics in El Salvador were dominated by President Salvador Sanchez Ceren who had been in office since 2014. He was re-elected in 2018 with an administration that focused on reducing inequality through social welfare programs and economic reforms. Opposition to Ceren’s government came from both civil society groups who wanted more democratic reforms and opposition parties who wanted less government intervention in economic affairs. In addition, there were tensions between El Salvador and its neighbors over border disputes which led to disputes over access to regional waters.
El Salvador. Crime continued to be El Salvador’s biggest social problem by far, and in one way or another characterized both political and economic conditions. In addition, 2015 seemed to be the most violent year to date in the country’s history, and the number of murders began to take on the same dimensions as during the civil war in the 1980s. During the first nine months of the year, around 5,000 people were murdered throughout the country, which was 72% more than the corresponding figure for the previous year, and even 26% more than the figure for the whole of 2014.
According to COUNTRYAAH, San Salvador is the capital of El Salvador which is located in North America. The majority of the violence accounted for youth gangs (“maras”). During the year, one of the largest, Barrio 18 Revolucionarios, focused on attacks against buses, whose conductors had previously been subject to extortion. As a result, the bus drivers in the metropolitan area around the capital city of San Salvador in July went on strike and public transport was hit by chaos. The government promised permanent police presence on all buses, but only a few days later it turned out that even that was not enough: a group of Mara police officers killed four people and injured another 15 in a bus attack.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for El Salvador country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
President Salvador Sánchez Cerén launched in July his Plan El Salvador Seguro, which means increased military presence on the streets. He also announced that the demands of maras to be left in peace to stop their attacks were unacceptable and that the government did not intend to negotiate with criminals. The Supreme Court also announced a decision that Mara members can be considered terrorists and may fall under the country’s terrorist laws. Critics, however, argued that the court’s finding hardly leads to stopping the country’s spiral of violence but can lead to further violence. Maras was estimated to have more than 60,000 members.
The consequences of the violence were also felt in the economic field. The government was pushing for a new 10 per cent tax on telecommunications to finance the fight against the youth gang. At the same time, the political parties accused each other of having their own interests in the spiral of violence. For example, the FMLN (Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation Front) claimed that the Opposition Party Arena (Republican National Alliance) was running a destabilization campaign against the government.
Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was cold-bloodedly murdered during the 1980 civil war in the midst of ongoing worship, was declared saint at a ceremony on May 23. Ironically, it happened in the country’s most violent month to date, with 482 murders.
In the March 1 congressional elections, the opposition party Arena increased the number of seats and became the largest party with 35 seats but did not get its own majority. The ruling party FMLN retained its 31 seats. In the mayoral elections held simultaneously, Arena managed to win in 15 more municipalities than in the 2012 election, a total of 212, while the FMLN still has 85 mayors, including in the capital, San Salvador.
El Salvador is a presidential republic of Central America. In its recent past, the country went through a civil war (1979-92) between the communist insurgents of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) and the forces of various conservative governments and military juntas. The civil war saw US open involvement, both military and economic, in favor of incumbent governments. This choice was in line with the position taken by Washington, during the Cold War, to fight all the communist guerrillas in its own hemisphere. At the end of an effective process of national reconciliation, in 1992 the FMLN agreed to disarmament and the army accepted a subordinate role to civilian government. The 1983 Constitution, which withstood the war, establishes that the president be elected every five years, without the possibility of re-election, and that the members of the Legislative Assembly remain in office for three years. In 2009, after 17 years of liberal-conservative government, the conventio ad excludendum vis-à-vis the FMln was broken by the election to the presidency of Mauricio Funes, a pragmatic and moderate exponent of the once Marxist party. Funes governed thanks to the unprecedented (considering the strong ideological polarization that has always characterized the political scenario) convergence that he managed to establish with a newly formed party, the Gran Alianza por la Unidad Nacional (Gana), made up of dissidents from the Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARena), the largest conservative party. ARena sided, most recently, against the FMln for the presidential elections of March 2014: it presented the candidate Norman Quijano, defeated by a few thousand votes by the vice-president of Funes, Salvador Sánchez Cerén. For the candidacy of both, an application for unconstitutionality was presented, which was then rejected by the Supreme Court. After the civil war, the United States adopted a lower profile, while remaining the country’s most important political and commercial partner and the primary destination of its emigration. At the international level, San Salvador seeks to maintain close relations, whatever the political orientation in power, both with the other countries of Central America and with the United States. Although the election of Funes helped to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba – a country with which relations had been interrupted since 1961 and which in the 1980s had supported the FMln guerrilla warfare – and the close partnership with Caracaswith the USa it has never failed. The two countries are linked by commercial affairs and cooperate on security and immigration matters. Washington even subsidized the development plans of the Sánchez Cerén administration by providing $ 277 billion to upgrade infrastructure in rural areas. At the regional level, El Salvador has maintained a free movement agreement with Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua since 2006. Countries also collaborate on safety in the fight against narcotics and pursue joint programs aimed at decriminalizing drug use and, probably, its partial legalization.