After the 1992 peace agreement, the defense has been greatly reduced. It is based on selective military duty with an initial service of 18 months and (2009) comprises about 16,000 men, with 9,900 men in reserve. It is organized into 6 independent brigades, 39 patrol boats, 19 fighter planes and 22 armed helicopters. Half-military police forces amount to 17,000 men. The material is semi-modern and of Western origin. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SLV stands for El Salvador.
Defense costs rose from 4.4% to 4.8% of GDP in 1985-2007. El Salvador participates in the UN peacekeeping operations in Iraq (MNF) and with observers in Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Lebanon (UNIFIL), Liberia (UNMIL), Sudan (UNMIS) and Western Sahara (MINURSO). The US has an advanced staff unit of about 20 men in the country.
A riot in the La Esperanza prison in San Salvador in August left 31 killed and dozens injured. The outbreak broke out when members of the gang Mara 18 went on the attack on ordinary criminals in prison with bank, knives and homemade grenades. La Esperanza was built to house 800 prisoners, but now houses 3,000. It is the main cause of the frequent riots in the prison. The government and prison authorities promised to transfer the Mara 18 prisoners to other prisons in the country.
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Hurricane Stan, which hit Guatemala in October 2005, hit hard to reach El Salvador. Still, it had the strength to cost 25 lives and cause damage to millions. President Saca put the country in national emergency, and a larger network both inside and outside the country set in motion to help the victims of the hurricane. Several thousands were evacuated and emergency supplies of food and medicine were set in motion.
FMLN’s chairman, Schafik Handal, died in January 2006 at Ilopango Airport when he returned from a visit to Bolivia. The death was surrounded by mysterious circumstances, and parts of the FMLN demanded an in-depth investigation into the cause of the death.
On March 1, the El Salvador-US Free Trade Agreement entered into force. The agreement became possible only after El Salvador made a number of changes to its legislation and import/export regulation. The day before, street vendors, students and workers staged a giant demonstration in San Salvador against the deal, as per. they were only for the benefit of the nation’s citizens and large corporations.
On March 12, 2006, parliamentary and municipal elections were held, as well as the election of members to the Central American Parliament. The election was historic because for the first time the FMLN became El Salvador’s largest party. It got 784,894 votes in the parliamentary elections against ARENA’s 783,208. Yet, because of the electoral system, it did not provide the largest number of seats in the new parliament. FMLN got 32 and ARENA 34. The remaining 18 seats were distributed on PCN, PDC and CD with 10, 6 and 2 respectively. In the municipal elections, FMLN won the mayor post in 59 out of the country’s 262 municipalities. Due. however, the difference in municipal size will mean that the FMLN will rule in municipalities with a total of 42% of the country’s residents, while in the ARENA-led municipalities only 36% live. The greatest excitement was around the mayor’s post in the capital, San Salvador. ARENA tried here on election night to steal the post by proclaiming himself victorious, but it failed and the post ended up going to FMLN candidate, Violeta Menjívar. The FMLN has been in this position since 1997. The FMLN accused ARENA of having used state funds in its election campaign and to have garnered support in the United States.
A few days after the election, Venezuela signed an agreement with a number of municipalities led by FMLN to supply cheap energy. The agreement established a joint venture between the Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the Asociación Intermunicipal de Energía de El Salvador (ENEPASA). “, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez declared at the signing of the agreement and continued,” but they have not done so because there are governments in this area who still believe in the American dream. ”
Defense and security
With the end of the civil war, the army became a professional force and agreed to leave the civilian government the sole management of political and economic affairs. In twenty years the number of soldiers has undergone a sharp downsizing: it has gone from a peak of 63,000 during the civil war to the current 15,300, and defense spending remains very low to this day.
The previous government’s commitment to the US-led international coalition in Iraq was among the largest in the region, peaking at 380 troops; the withdrawal of the quota was completed in January 2009. The United States aims to use some of the country’s air infrastructure to increase the effectiveness of monitoring illegal drug trafficking across the region, but negotiations have made little progress to date.
The violence of the maras
El Salvador is considered by the US State Department to be one of the ten most violent countries in the world, and is the second in the number of homicides per capita (71 per 100,000 residents in 2011). The main causes of this rampant violence are linked to drug trafficking and maras. These street gangs are the biggest public order problem in the country: according to estimates, more than 28,000 people would be part of them. Over time, these gangs, which mainly belong to young people forcibly repatriated after expulsion from the United States for illegal immigration, have become increasingly violent. Today they are suspected of being connected with the Mexican drug trafficking cartels: some affiliates have found refuge in El Salvador, to escape the Mexican government’s anti-narcotics offensive. Gangs are estimated to be responsible for at least 30% of the murders committed each year. The national civil police, in 2011 alone, registered 4354. The number seems to have decreased in the last two years due to a decrease in criminal activities related to maras. In March 2012, the two main gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18, declared a truce which led to a two-thirds decrease in night killings. The most concrete action of the government took place in September 2010, with the approval of a law that makes it illegal to belong to a gang (providing for up to six years in prison) and that has increased the penalties for those who finance or are at the head of these groups. However, the effectiveness of the anti-crime legislation suffers from some serious structural problems: prisons are overcrowded, the police and the judicial system are inefficient and the application of the new provisions is proceeding slowly, due to the divergence of opinions between government and parliament.