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El Salvador: News & Updates

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. The US-backed civil war, which erupted after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980, lasted 12 years (1980-92), killing 70,000 people and forcing 20% of the nation’s five million people to seek refuge in the US.

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As people from Guatemala and Honduras continue to seek sanctuary in the US for a variety of reasons, including violence and poverty, another factor driving their migration has gotten much less attention: climate disruption.

Many members of the migrant "caravans" that made headlines during the 2018 US midterm elections are fleeing a massive drought that has lasted for five years.

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Campaigners say Honduras suffers from one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the hemisphere, and that half of sexually active young women face obstacles to obtaining modern contraceptives. “We should unmask the myths and unite so that the ministry of health...guarantees the reproductive rights of all women in Honduras and protects them from preventable traumas as victims of a rape.”
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by Maria Benevento

The University of Dayton, a Catholic school in Ohio, plans to present its Romero Human Rights AwardApril 11 to three individuals who have worked to investigate those responsible for the El Mozote Massacre during El Salvador's civil war and ensure that they are prosecuted.

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"We want justice and that these cases are investigated and the reformed penal code procedures to be applied when those who are responsible are found,” Aspidh Arcoiris Trans Projects Coordinator Ambar Alfaro told the Blade, referring to a 2015 amendment to El Salvador’s legal code that enhances penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Although we have begun the year badly, we hope these crimes establish precedents for there to also be a positive legal framework that regulates the situation of trans people, especially the situation of violence and insecurity.”
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The FMLN’s resounding defeat, though painful, was not unforeseen, coming after massive midterm losses in March 2018 and amid a broader left retreat in Latin America. Since the fall of commodity prices in 2014, left and center-left administrations in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil that depended on extractive rents have been swept out of office, with Venezuela and Nicaragua in the crosshairs: president-elect Bukele has called Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega both dictators, and will likely prove an eager ally in the US’s right-wing crusade in the region.
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The dramatic win for Mr. Bukele, age 37 and former mayor of San Salvador--who was running as an outsider--underscores the deep discredit into which the country’s traditional parties have fallen. Voters appeared to be willing to gamble on a relative newcomer to confront the country’s poverty and violence, shutting out the right- and left-wing parties that have dominated Salvadoran politics for three decades.
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As threats to the environment increase across Latin America, new laws and police practices take aim against the front line activists defending their land and resources

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