El Salvador. Crime continues to be El Salvador’s biggest social problem by far. According to a report in September, the murder rate was the highest in Central America with 43 per 100,000 population, which was also a 23% increase from the previous year. In March, President Antonio Saca took the initiative for a regional plan to fight the typical Central American youth leagues, “Maras.” At a meeting with Guatemalan President Óscar Berger Perdomo in May, it was decided that a joint border police force should be deployed against organized crime. In September, El Salvador, together with Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Canada and the United States, conducted a successful joint action against the youth leagues in the region, especially the mighty Mara Salvatrucha, and arrested a total of 700 people in the six countries, most of them in El Salvador.
According to countryaah, San Salvador is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of El Salvador. Dismissals and dissident groups in Congress during the year significantly weakened the opposition party FMLN (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional), which had the majority in Congress and effectively countered President Saca. In June, several members jumped off to, together with San Salvador’s popular mayor Carlos Rivas Zamora, forming the dissident group FDR (Frente Democrático Revolucionario), thereby reducing the number of seats for the FMLN to 27. However, voter polls point to a new victory for the FMLN in the March 2006 congressional elections.
In November 2015, the FMLN conducted its first political congress – 35 years after its inception. The main points of the program were the party’s economic and political strategy.
Also in November, the country registered the first cases of Zika virus infection. Up to February 2016, 6,000 cases were registered, and the same month the first case of microcephaly (children born with too little brain) was registered. However, despite the risk of fetal malformations, the country maintained its strict ban on abortion. The government instead urged women to wait to get pregnant until 2017 and initiated a program to bring the epidemic under control.
The number of murders increased rapidly after the ceasefire with the gangs collapsed. Alone in the first 9 months of 2015, 4,253 homicides were recorded against 3,912 throughout 2014. Violence caused many to leave the country, while others became internally displaced when moving from their battered neighborhoods and cities.
In July 2016, MPs from the fascist ARENA party tried to raise the maximum penalty for abortion from 8 to 50 years in prison.
Some progress was made during 2016 in getting the guilty of mass murder on the civilian population in the 1980’s. In July, the Supreme Court declared the 1993 amnesty law was in violation of the Constitution. In February, 4 officers as a Spanish judge in 2011 issued arrest warrants for interference with the murders of 6 university professors and Jesuit priests in November 1989 had been arrested. Still, in August, the Supreme Court refused to allow them to extradite to Spain. In September, a court of El Mozote reopened the case in which nearly 1,000 women, children and old people had been executed by the military in December 1981. During 2016, 2 officers who had been defense ministers during the 1980’s were extradited from the United States to El Salvador and accused of human rights violations committed during their tenure.’Finally, they will pay’: justice beckons for survivors of El Salvador massacre, Guardian 28/11 2018)
During 2017, the requirements for the repeal of the 20-year-old total ban on abortion laws grew. The law has killed dozens of Salvadoran women and sent many others to prison for life imprisonment. But in 2017, the support of doctors, lawyers, human rights groups, and even the church grew into a repeal of the draconian law. However, the process was lengthy. As late as July, a 19-year-old woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison after giving birth to a stillborn child 3 months into her pregnancy. (Support building for landmark move to overturn El Salvador’s anti-abortion law, Guardian 23/3 2017)