El Salvador

The Failure of the Summit of the Americas VI

Dilma Rousseff interrupted the speech of Barack Obama. The President of the United States was speaking about the advances of various countries in Latin America, commenting that now there exists “a prosperous middle class” that represents a business opportunity for companies from his country. “Suddenly, they are interested in buying iPads, interested in buying planes from Boeing.” “Or Embraer,” interjected Dilma, yielding applause.

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El Salvador’s Gold Fight

As El Salvador transitions from decades of conservative rule to the administration of leftist President Mauricio Funes, the country faces an international showdown triggered by a restrictive free-trade agreement between the United States and Central America. Canada’s Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government for its refusal to allow it to mine gold in El Salvador’s rural north. If Pacific Rim succeeds in securing the $100 million settlement it seeks, that would set a troubling precedent. At stake is a question that affects all nations: Can private interests trump national sovereignty under international law?

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Will the Winds of Change Reach El Salvador?

A desire for change isn’t a sentiment unique to voters in the United States, and it’s not something that our country should fear when embraced by our Southern neighbors. El Salvador, a country that will hold presidential elections on March 15, is a case in point. It’s a place where a single party has been in power for two decades. It has long been mired in poverty, crime, and corruption. And its own Cheneys and Rumsfelds remain in power. A victory by the progressive frontrunner in the electoral contest — the first Latin American presidential elections since President Barack Obama’s inauguration — would give the new White House an opportunity to reject fear-mongering about the rise of left-leaning governments in Latin America and instead praise the regional wave of democratic transformation. 

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