sq. km. (8,260 sq. mi.); about the size of Massachusetts.
Capital--San Salvador (pop. 1.4 million). Other cities--San
Miguel, Ahuachapan, Santa Ana, Sonsonate.
Terrain: Mountains separate
country into three distinct regions--southern coastal belt; central valleys and
plateaus; and northern mountains.
Climate: Semitropical, distinct wet and
Noun and adjective--Salvadoran(s).
Population (1996): 5.8
Annual growth rate (1996): 2.2%.
Ethnic groups: Mestizo
98%, indigenous 1%, Caucasian 1%.
Religion: Largely Roman Catholic, with
growing Protestant groups throughout the country.
Education: Free through ninth grade. Attendance (grades 1-9)--82%.
Literacy--75% among adults.
Health: Infant mortality rate
(1993)--41/1,000. Life expectancy (1993)--males 64 years, females 65
Work force (approximately 2 million): Agriculture--27%.
Services--21%. Commerce--20%. Manufacturing--19%.
Construction--7%. Transportation and communication--4%
Constitution: December 20, 1983.
Independence: September 15,
Branches: Executive--president and vice president.
Legislative--84-member Legislative Assembly.
Judicial--independent (Supreme Court).
Political parties (represented in the Legislature):
Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), Farabundo Marti National Liberation
Front (FMLN), National Conciliation Party (PCN), Christian Democratic Party
(PDC), Social Christian Renovation Party (PRSC), Democratic Convergence (CD),
Unity Movement (MU), Democratic Party (PD), Democratic Liberation Party
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
Annual growth rate: 4.0%.
Per capita income: $1,974.
Agriculture (14% of GDP): Products--coffee, sugar, livestock, corn,
poultry, sorghum. Arable, cultivated, or pasture land--67%.
Industry (22% of GDP): Types--food and beverage processing,
textiles, footwear and clothing, chemical products, petroleum products,
Trade: Exports--$1.83 billion: coffee, sugar, textiles
and shrimp. Major markets--U.S. 49%, Central American Common Market
(CACM) 26%, European Union (EU) 18%. Imports--$3.27 billion: consumer
goods, foodstuffs, capital goods, raw industrial materials, petroleum. Major
suppliers--U.S. 51%, CACM 15%, EU 10%, Mexico 4.7%, Venezuela 2.7%.
Exchange rate: 8.710 colones=U.S. $1.
population numbers about 5.8 million; almost 90% is of mixed Indian and Spanish
extraction. About 1% is indigenous; very few Indians have retained their
customs and traditions. The country's people are largely Roman Catholic-though
Protestant groups are growing-and Spanish is the language spoken by virtually
all inhabitants. The capital city of San Salvador has about 1.4 million people;
an estimated 49% of El Salvador's population lives in rural areas.
Spanish conquest, the area that is now El Salvador was made up of two large
Indian states and several principalities. The indigenous inhabitants were the
Pipils, a tribe of nomadic Nahua people long established in Central Mexico.
Early in their history, they became one of the few Mesoamerican Indian groups
to abolish human sacrifice. Otherwise, their culture was similar to that of
their Aztec neighbors. Remains of Nahua culture are still found at ruins such
as Tazumal (near Chalchuapa), San Andres (northeast of Armenia), and Joya De
Ceren (north of Colon).
Spanish attempt to subjugate this area failed in 1524, when Pedro de Alvarado
was forced to retreat by Pipil warriors. In 1525, he returned and succeeded in
bringing the district under control of the Captaincy General of Guatemala,
which retained its authority until 1821, despite an abortive revolution in
In 1821, El
Salvador and the other Central American provinces declared their independence
from Spain. When these provinces were joined with Mexico in early 1822, El
Salvador resisted, insisting on autonomy for the Central American countries.
Guatemalan troops sent to enforce the union were driven out of El Salvador in
June 1822. El Salvador, fearing incorporation into Mexico, petitioned the U.S.
Government for statehood.
But in 1823, a
revolution in Mexico ousted Emperor Augustin Iturbide, and a new Mexican
congress voted to allow the Central American provinces to decide their own
fate. That year, the United Provinces of Central America was formed of the five
Central American states under Gen. Manuel Jose Arce. When this federation was
dissolved in 1838, El Salvador became an independent republic.
early history as an independent state-as with others in Central America-was
marked by frequent revolutions; not until the period 1900-1930 was relative
stability achieved. The economic elite ruled the country in conjunction with
the military, and the power structure was controlled by a relatively small
number of wealthy landowners, known as the 14 Families. The economy, based on
coffee-growing, prospered or suffered as the world coffee price fluctuated.
year of Gen. Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez's coup following his brutal
suppression of rural resistance-until 1980, all but one Salvadoran President
was an army officer. Periodic presidential elections were seldom free or fair.
Military to Civilian Rule
From the 1930s
to the 1970s, authoritarian governments employed political repression and
limited reform to maintain power, despite the trappings of democracy. During
the 1970s, the political situation began to unravel. In the 1972 presidential
election, the opponents of military rule united under Jose Napoleon Duarte,
leader of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). Amid widespread fraud, Duarte's
broad-based reform movement was defeated. Subsequent protests and an attempted
coup were crushed, and Duarte exiled. These events eroded hope of reform
through democratic means and persuaded those opposed to the government that
armed insurrection was the only way to achieve change. As a consequence,
leftist groups capitalizing upon social discontent gained strength.
leftist guerrilla warfare had broken out in the cities and the countryside,
launching what became a 12-year civil war. A cycle of violence took hold as
rightist vigilante death squads in turn killed thousands. The poorly trained
Salvadoran Armed Forces (ESAF) also engaged in repression and indiscriminate
killings. After the collapse of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua that year, the
new Sandinista government provided large amounts of arms and munitions to five
Salvadoran guerrilla groups.
On October 15,
1979, reform-minded military officers and civilian leaders ousted the
right-wing government of Gen. Carlos Humberto Romero (1977-79) and formed a
revolutionary junta. PDC leader Duarte joined the junta in March 1980, leading
the provisional government until the elections of March 1982. The junta
initiated a land reform program and nationalized the banks and the marketing of
coffee and sugar. Political parties were allowed to function again, and on
March 28, 1982, Salvadorans elected a new constituent assembly. Following that
election, authority was peacefully transferred to Alvaro Magana, the
provisional president selected by the assembly.
constitution, drafted by the assembly, strengthened individual rights;
established safeguards against excessive provisional detention and unreasonable
searches; established a republican, pluralistic form of government;
strengthened the legislative branch; and enhanced judicial independence. It
also codified labor rights, particularly for agricultural workers. The newly
initiated reforms, though, did not satisfy the guerrilla movements, which had
unified under Cuban auspices-while each retained their autonomous status-as the
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).
Duarte won the
1984 presidential election against rightist Roberto D'Aubuisson of the
Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) with 54% of the vote and became the
first freely elected president of El Salvador in more than 50 years.
ARENA's Alfredo Cristiani won the presidential election with 54% of the vote.
His inauguration on June 1, 1989, marked the first time that power had passed
peacefully from one freely elected civilian leader to another.
inauguration in June 1989, President Cristiani called for direct dialogue to
end the decade of conflict between the government and guerrillas. An unmediated
dialogue process involving monthly meetings between the two sides was initiated
in September 1989, lasting until the FMLN launched a bloody, nationwide
offensive in November that year.
In early 1990,
following a request from the Central American presidents, the United Nations
became involved in an effort to mediate direct talks between the two sides.
After a year of little progress, the government and the FMLN accepted an
invitation from the UN Secretary-General to meet in New York City. On September
25, 1991, the two sides signed the New York City Accord. It concentrated the
negotiating process into one phase and created the Committee for the
Consolidation of the Peace (COPAZ), made up of representatives of the
government, FMLN, and political parties, with Catholic Church and UN observers.
31, 1991, the government and the FMLN initialed a peace agreement under the
auspices of then Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar. The final agreement,
called the Accords of Chapultepec, was signed in Mexico City on January 16,
1992. A nine-month cease-fire took effect February 1, 1992, and was never
broken. A ceremony held on December 15, 1992, marked the official end of the
conflict, concurrent with the demobilization of the last elements of the FMLN
military structure and the FMLN's inception as a political party.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL
El Salvador is
a democratic republic governed by a president and an 84-member unicameral
Legislative Assembly. The president is elected by universal suffrage and serves
for a five-year term. Members of the assembly, also elected by universal
suffrage, serve for three-year terms. The country has an independent judiciary
and Supreme Court.
In March 1994,
the first post-civil war elections were held with FMLN participation, featuring
simultaneous presidential, legislative, and municipal races. ARENA won 39 seats
in the Legislative Assembly, the FMLN 21 seats, the PDC 18, the National
Conciliation Party (PCN) four, and the Democractic Convergence (CD) and Unity
Movement (MU) one each. (The FMLN and PDC caucuses subsequently split.) ARENA
presidential candidate Armando Calderon Sol faced FMLN-CD coalition candidate
Ruben Zamora in a runoff in April and won with 68% of the vote. UN observers
declared the elections free and fair. Armando Calderon Sol of the ARENA party
began his five-year term as President on June 1, 1994, and cannot succeed
The March 1997
legislative and municipal elections were conducted in a free and transparent
manner, depite the fact that important electoral reforms agreed to three years
earlier were not in place, and voter turnout barely reached 40%. The FMLN and
opposition coalitions scored impressive gains in both the assembly and
throughout the country's 262 municipalities, capturing the mayoral seats in six
of 14 departmental capitals, including San Salvador. In the 1997-2000 assembly
ARENA will have 28 deputies, the FMLN 27, the PCN 11, and the PDC 7. Several
small centrist parties and coalitions will split the remaining 11 seats.
ARENA is El
Salvador's leading political party. It was created in 1982 by Roberto
D'Aubuisson and other ultra-rightists, including some members of the military.
His electoral fortunes were diminished by credible reports that he was involved
in organized political violence. Following the 1984 presidential election,
ARENA began reaching out to more moderate individuals and groups, particularly
in the private sector.
By 1989, ARENA
had attracted the support of business groups, and Alfredo Cristiani won the
presidency. Despite sincere efforts at reform, Duarte's PDC administration had
failed to either end the insurgency or improve the economy. Allegations of
corruption, poor relations with the private sector, and historically low prices
for the nation's main agricultural exports also contributed to ARENA victories
in the 1988 legislative and 1989 presidential elections.
Cristiani administration's successes in achieving a peace agreement to end the
civil war and in improving the nation's economy helped ARENA, led by
standard-bearer Calderon Sol, keep both the presidency and a working majority
in the Legislative Assembly in the 1994 elections. ARENA's legislative position
was weakened in the 1997 elections, but it remains the country's single largest
and best organized political party.
1992 the FMLN became a political party, composed of the political factions of
the wartime guerrilla movement, and maintained a united front during the 1994
electoral campaign. The FMLN also came in second in the legislative assembly
races. Internal political differences, however, among the FMLN's constituent
parties led to the breakaway of two of the FMLN's original five factions after
the 1994 elections. Despite the defections, the FMLN was able to consolidate
its remaining factions and present itself as a viable option to ARENA. It is
the second-largest block in the new assembly and due to its strategic control
of the mayorships of many departmental cities, over 50% of Salvadorans have an
FMLN or coalition-led municipal government.
The right wing
of the National Conciliation Party (PCN), which ruled the country in alliance
with the military from the 1960s until 1979, maintains a small but steady
electoral base. Its fortunes were recently boosted by the addition of
high-profile ARENA defectors and a reinvigorated electoral showing in the
assembly. Several other smaller parties represented in Legislative Assembly in
El Salvador fight for the political center with limited success. The PDC, which
had won more municipal elections in 1994 than did the FMLN, continued to
splinter. Following the 1994 election, those opposed to the then party
leadership formed the Social Christian Renovation Party (PRSC). Subsequently,
the remaining PDC leadership split into two factions that battled each other in
court and before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for most of 1996. The CD, which
had been the principal party of the left before the peace accords, and the MU,
a party based in the Salvadoran evangelical movement, combined with the FMLN to
elect a coalition candidate as mayor of San Salvador.
With the Peace Accords
aspects of the accords have been largely implemented, important components such
as judicial reform remain incomplete. The peace process set up under the
Chapultepec Accords was monitored by the United Nations from 1991 until June
1997 when it closed its special monitoring mission in El Salvador.
12-year civil war, human rights violations by both left- and right-wing forces
were rampant. The accords established a Truth Commission under UN auspices to
investigate the most serious cases. The commission reported its findings in
1993. It recommended that those identified as human rights violators be removed
from all government and military posts, as well as recommendingjudicial
reforms. Thereafter, the Legislative Assembly granted amnesty for political
crimes committed during the war. Among those freed as a result were the ESAF
officers convicted in the November 1989 Jesuit murders and the FMLN
ex-combatants held for the 1991 murders of two U.S. servicemen.
accords also required the establishment of the Ad Hoc Commission to evaluate
the human rights record of the ESAF officer corps. In 1993, the last of the 103
officers identified by this commission as responsible for human rights
violations were retired, and the UN observer mission declared the government in
compliance with the Ad Hoc Commission recommendations.
Also in 1993,
the Government of El Salvador and the UN established the Joint Group to
investigate whether illegal, armed, politically motivated groups continued to
exist after the signing of the peace accords. The group reported its findings
in 1994 stating that death squads were no longer active but that violence was
still being used to obtain political ends. The group recommended a special
National Civilian Police (PNC) unit be created to investigate political and
organized crime and that further reforms be made in the judicial system. The
government created the PNC's Organized Crime Investigation Unit (DICO) and took
other steps in response to the report, although not all the group's
recommendations have been implemented.
accords provided for the establishment of a Human Rights Ombudsman's Office.
Victoria Velasquez de Aviles succeeded Carlos Molina Fonseca as Ombudsman in
with the peace agreements, the constitution was amended to prohibit the
military from playing an internal security role except under extraordinary
circumstances. Demobilization of Salvadoran military forces generally proceeded
on schedule throughout the process. The Treasury Police and National Guard were
abolished, and military intelligence functions were transferred to civilian
control. By 1993-nine months ahead of schedule-the military had cut personnel
from a wartime high of 63,000 to the level of 32,000 required by the peace
accords. By early 1997, ESAF strength stood at less than 17,000 (including
uniformed and non-uniformed personnel). A purge of military officers accused of
human rights abuses and corruption was completed in 1993 in compliance with the
Ad Hoc Commission's recommendations. Clear institutional guidance from the
Minister of Defense proscribing the military from any political involvement in
the electoral process was clearly followed in the March 1997 elections.
civilian police force, created to replace the discredited public security
forces, deployed its first officers in March 1993 and was present throughout
the country by the end of 1994. As of late 1996, the PNC had over 10,500
officers. The United States, through the Department of Justice's International
Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), has led
international support for the PNC and the National Public Security Academy
(ANSP), providing over $28 million in non-lethal equipment and training since
The PNC faces
many challenges in building a completely new police force. With common crime
rising dramatically since the end of the war, over 110 PNC officers had been
killed in the line of duty by late 1996. PNC officers have also arrested a
number of their own in connection with various high-profile crimes.
Both the Truth
Commission and the Joint Group identified weaknesses in the judiciary and
recommended solutions, the most dramatic being the replacement of all the
magistrates on the Supreme Court. This recommendation was fulfilled in 1994
when an entirely new court was elected. The process of replacing incompetent
judges in the lower courts, and of strengthening the attorney general's and
public defender's offices, has moved more slowly. The government continues to
work in all of these areas with the help of international donors, including the
United States. Action on peace-accord driven constitutional reforms designed to
improve the administration of justice was largely completed in 1996 with
legislative approval of several amendments and the revision of the Criminal
Procedure Code-with broad political consensus.
eligible beneficiaries from among the former guerrillas and soliders who fought
the war received land under the Peace Accord-mandated land transfer program
which ended in January 1997. The majority of them have also received
agricultural credits. The international community, the Salvadoran Government,
the former rebels, and the various financial institutions involved in the
process continue to work closely together to deal with follow-on issues
resulting from the program.
President--Armando CALDERON Sol
Vice President--Enrique BORGO Bustamante
Minister of Foreign Relations--Ramon GONZALEZ Giner
Ambassador to the
United States--Rene LEON
Representative to the OAS--Mauricio GRANILLO
Representative to the UN--Ricardo Guillermo CASTENEDA Cornejo
maintains an embassy in the United States at 2308 California Street NW,
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-265-9671). There are consulates in Chicago,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco.
economy continues to benefit from a commitment to free markets and careful
fiscal management. The impact of the civil war on El Salvador's economy was
devastating; from 1979 to 1990, losses from damage to infrastructure and means
of production due to guerrilla sabotage as well as from reduced export earnings
totaled about $2.2 billion. But since attacks on economic targets ended in
1992, improved investor confidence has led to increased private investment.
Rich soil, moderate climate, and a hard-working and enterprising labor pool
comprise El Salvador's greatest assets.
Much of the
improvement in El Salvador's economy is due to free market policy initiatives
launched by the Cristiani government in July 1989, including the privatization
of the banking system, reduction of import duties, and elimination of price
controls on virtually all consumer products. The successor government of
President Calderon Sol has continued market liberalization, further reducing
tariffs and enhancing the investment climate through measures such as improved
enforcement of intellectual property rights. Perhaps its most significant
achievement has been the opening of the telecommunications and electrical
sector to competition, a step that establishes the framework for the
privatization of the telephone and electric companies set to begin in 1997.
boom in the Salvadoran economy began to fade in July 1995 after an abrupt shift
in monetary policy was followed by a June increase in the value added tax (VAT)
and price hikes in basic public services. The slowdown lingered into the new
year and the Volume Index of Economic Activity (IVAE) declined throughout the
first half of 1996, led by a dismal performance in the retail sector. Inflation
remained stubbornly higher than expected, reaching a 10% annual rate by July
1996. The slump contributed to a larger-than-expected government deficit. Tax
revenues were down from early projections and expenditures were up, due to an
increase in teachers' salaries and government downsizing at the end of 1995
that required payment of a special severance package. Virtually every sector
lobbied for a sectoral stimulus package, including tariff protection, tax cuts,
and special credit lines. The government took considerable criticism for its
perceived neglect, but steadfastly refused to intervene and spend the economy
back to health.
improved toward the end of 1996. Key indicators, such as industrial electrical
consumption, cement consumption, and air cargo traffic were all up. The IVAE
index began to move up, but more importantly, the retail sector showed improved
performance in the third and fourth quarters. Prices of basic foodstuffs fell
in September and October. Inflation for the year was projected at 9% and real
GDP growth was estimated at 4%.
the government of El Salvador flirted briefly with the idea of switching to a
dollar economy, going a step further than the fixed exchange rate proposed by
the President. The government took a number of administrative steps that
substantially increased the liquidity in the economy and helped fuel 1995's
boom. Following intense pressure from the World Bank, the government made the
political decision to abandon the dollarization idea in early 1996. Subsequent
tightening of the monetary policy by the Central Bank contributed to the onset
of what the government called deceleration.
has been the biggest challenge for the Salvadoran Government. The 1992 peace
accords committed the government to heavy expenditures for transition programs
and social services. Although international aid has been generous, the
government has focused on improving the collection of its current revenues. A
10% value-added tax (VAT), implemented in September 1992, was raised to 13% in
July 1995. The VAT is estimated to have contributed 54% of total tax revenues
in 1996; collections in the first nine months of the year were up 21% over
1995, in part due to the rate increase, but also to improved collection
exchange rate regime that had been used to conserve foreign exchange was phased
out during 1990 and replaced by a free-floating rate. The colon depreciated
from five to the dollar in 1989 to eight in 1991, and in 1993 was informally
pegged at 8.75 colones to the dollar. Large inflows of dollars in the form of
family remittances from Salvadorans working in the United States offset a
substantial trade deficit and support the exchange rate. The monthly average of
remittances reported by the Central Bank is around $85 million, with the total
estimated at more than $1 billion for 1996. As of August 1996, net
international reserves equaled roughly four months of imports.
Debt and Assistance
external debt decreased sharply in 1993, chiefly as a result of an agreement
under which the United States forgave about $461 million of official debt. As a
result, total debt service decreased by 16% over 1992. Total external debt went
down from $2.245 billion in 1994 to approximately $2.2 billion in 1995 and did
not rise significantly in 1996. Debt service fell correspondingly from 3.3% of
GDP in 1994 to 3.0% in 1996. El Salvador has eliminated all payment arrears,
and its debt burden is considered moderate.
of El Salvador has been successful in obtaining significant new credits from
the international financial institutions. Among the most significant loans are
a second structural adjustment loan from the World Bank for $52.5 million,
another World Bank loan of $40 million for agricultural reform, a $20 million
loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to be used to
repair roads, and a $60 million Inter-American Development Bank loan for
poverty alleviation projects. Although official figures show relatively small
and diminishing aid flows, the total is probably larger. Significant amounts
come in through non-governmental organizations and are channeled to groups not
generally included in official statistics, such as political parties, unions,
and churches. Total non-United States Government aid reached $800 million in
1995 and 1996.
historically has been the most industrialized nation in Central America, though
a decade of war eroded this position. In 1995, manufacturing accounted for 22%
of GDP. The industrial sector has shifted since 1993 from a primarily domestic
orientation to include free zone (maquiladora) manufacturing for export.
Maquila exports have led the growth in the export sector and in the last three
years have made an important contribution to the Salvadoran economy.
balance of payments continued to show a net surplus. Exports in 1996 grew 11%
while imports declined, narrowing El Salvador's almost 2-to-1 trade deficit. As
in the previous year, the large trade deficit ($1.5 billion) was offset by
foreign aid and family remittances. Private foreign capital continued to flow
in, though mostly as short-term import financing and not at the levels of
previous years. The Central American Common Market (CACM) continued its dynamic
reactivation process, now with most regional commerce duty-free. In September
1996, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras opened free trade talks with Mexico.
Although tariff cuts that were expected in July 1996 were delayed until 1997,
the Government of El Salvador is committed to a free and open economy.
President Calderon Sol has indicated that he expects to implement a tariff
regime between 0 and 6% for all traded goods by 1999.
exports to El Salvador reached $1.7 billion in 1995, while El Salvador exported
$844 million to the U.S. Salvadoran exports to the U.S. grew in 1996 to $895
million. U.S. exports are projected at $1.68 million. U.S. support for El
Salvador's privatization of the electrical and telecommunications markets has
markedly expanded opportunities for U.S. investment in the country. Over 300
U.S. companies have established either a permanent commercial presence in El
Salvador or work through representative offices in the country. The Department
of State maintains a Country Commercial Guide for U.S. businesses seeking
detailed information on business opportunities in El Salvador.
and Land Reform
Before 1980, a
small economic elite owned most of the land in El Salvador and controlled a
highly successful agricultural industry. About 70% of farmers were
sharecroppers or laborers on large plantations. Many farm workers were under-
or unemployed and impoverished.
civilian-military junta which came to power in 1979 instituted an ambitious
land reform program to redress the inequities of the past, respond to the
legitimate grievances of the rural poor, and promote more broadly based growth
in the agricultural sector. The ultimate goal was to develop a rural middle
class with a stake in a peaceful and prosperous future for El Salvador.
525,000 people-more than 12% of El Salvador's population at the time and
perhaps 25% of the rural poor-benefited from agrarian reform, and more than 22%
of El Salvador's total farmland was transferred to those who previously worked
the land but did not own it. But when agrarian reform ended in 1990, about
150,000 landless families still had not benefited from the reform actions.
The 1992 peace
accords made provisions for land transfers to all qualified ex-combatants of
both the FMLN and ESAF, as well as to landless peasants living in former
conflict areas. The United States undertook to provide $300 million for a
national reconstruction plan. This included $60 million for land purchases and
$17 million for agricultural credits. USAID remains actively involved in
providing technical training, access to credit, and other financial services
for many of the land beneficiaries.
In May 1997,
President Calderon Sol met with President Clinton and his counterparts from
Central America, Belize, and the Dominican Republic at the Costa Rica summit to
celebrate the remarkable democratic transformation in the region and reaffirm
support for strengthening democracy, good governance, and promoting prosperity
through economic integration, free trade, and investment. The leaders also
expressed their commitment to the continued development of just and equitable
societies and responsible environmental policies as integral elements of
El Salvador is
a member of the United Nations and several of its specialized agencies; the
Organization of American States (OAS); the Central American Common Market
(CACM); the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN); and the Central American
Integration System (SICA). It actively participates in the Central American
Security Commission (CASC), which seeks to promote regional arms control. El
Salvador also is a member of the World Trade Organization and is pursuing
regional free trade agreements. An active participant in the Summit of the
Americas process, El Salvador chairs a working group on market access under the
Free Trade Area of the Americas initiative. El Salvador has joined its six
Central American neighbors in signing the Alliance for Sustainable Development,
known as the Conjunta Centroamerica-USA or CONCAUSA to promote sustainable
economic development in the region.
In July 1969,
El Salvador and Honduras fought the 100-hour Soccer War over disputed border
areas and friction resulting from the 300,000 Salvadorans who had emigrated to
Honduras in search of land and employment. The catalyst was nationalistic
feelings aroused by a series of soccer matches between the two countries. The
two countries formally signed a peace treaty on October 30, 1980, which put the
border dispute before the International Court of Justice.
1992, the court issued a 400-page ruling, awarding much of the disputed land to
Honduras. Although there have been tensions between citizens on both sides of
the border, the two countries have worked to maintain stability, and signed an
agreement in November 1996 to establish a framework for negotiating the final
disposition of citizens and property in the affected areas. El Salvador and
Honduras share normal diplomatic and trade relations.
U.S.-Salvadoran relations remain close and cordial. U.S. policy toward El
Salvador seeks to promote:
- The complete
implementation of the peace accords;
strengthening of El Salvador's democratic institutions, rule of law, judicial
reform, and civilian police; and,
reconciliation and reconstruction, economic opportunity, and growth.
U.S. Government assistance to El Salvador was about $60 million, including $10
million of PL-480 (food assistance). Bilateral aid in general has declined
since the end of the war with 1997 total economic assistance projected at $32
million. The Salvadoran government relies increasingly on loans from
international lending institutions to finance special projects.
1996, Secretary of State Warren Christopher visited El Salvador to sign an
agreement providing $10 million to complete the Land Transfer Program. In his
address to the Legislative Assembly the Secretary reiterated U.S. support for
hemispheric commitments to sustainable development and free trade. Continued
U.S. and international engagement has been instrumental in keeping the
Salvadoran peace process on track.
U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Anne W. Patterson
Deputy Chief of Mission--John C. Dawson
USAID Mission Chief--Kenneth Ellis
Political Counselor--Gregory Sprow
Economic Counselor--Bruce Williamson
Public Affairs Officer--Cynthia
embassy in El Salvador is located at Final Blvd. Santa Elena, Antiguo
Cuscatlan, La Libertad (tel.: 503-278-4444; fax: 503-278-6011).
U.S. ties to
El Salvador are dynamic and growing. Approximately 9,000 American citizens live
and work full-time in El Salvador. Most are private business persons and their
families, but a small number of American citizen retirees have been drawn to El
Salvador by favorable tax conditions. The embassy's consular section provides
the full range of visa, passport, federal benefit, absentee voting, and related
citizenship services to this community.
Chamber of Commerce in El Salvador is located at 87 Avenida Norte No. 720,
Apto. A, Colonia Escalon, San Salvador, El Salvador (tel.: 503-223-3292; fax:
Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Latin America and the Caribbean
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: (202) 482-1658;(800) USA-TRADE
Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7464 Fax: (202) 822-0075
This information is courtesy of the
U.S. Department of State,