Monday, February 16, 2015

El Salvador

Shrine of Divine Mercy, El Salvador
The land of Jesus Christ (the name means “The Saviour”, but it does not refer to any political leader of the last hundred years, though every one of them declared he was); a land of earthquakes too, and endless, but endless civil war. The most densely populated country in the Americas, it is run by an oligarchy of the elite rich, and serviced by 98% of the population living in the direst poverty. Violent street-gangs don’t help, but how else does a young man earn a living in a collapsed economy? The gangs are called “maras”, and El Salvador has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

Has anything changed since 2009 when Mauricio Funes restored the Left to power after a 20-year hiatus which happened also to be the same period since the civil war finally ended? Well, he made a good start – his first act, within an hour of taking the oath of office, was to restore full diplomatic, cultural and economic ties with Cuba. His second was to remind people that he never fought in the civil war, that he was just a journalist who covered it, but yes, his party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, was funded by the Marxist guerrillas who were one of the two sides in the war he never fought in but only - did I mention this? - only covered as a journalist. Strangely he admires Barack Obama, which many did, though after seven years few do any longer. Or perhaps that is why he admires President Obama, the man who got elected on “Yes we can” but served in office as “No we won’t”.

Beyond the President (in countries like El Salvador this may actually lead to nowhere at all; though perversely "nowhere at all" translates into Greek as "utopia")...beyond the President the freedom of the press is guaranteed constitutionally, and it takes full advantage, criticising regularly and advocating for the opposition as it pleases; and it mostly pleases, because the opposition, who are the wealthy elite, own most of the TV networks and the dozens of radio stations. A democracy then, in theory. Maybe Mauricio Funes will prove to be El Salvador after all, though only after his resurrection, in another lifetime, in another realm. Wannabe saviours have to be reminded that you don't get the resurrection until you first endure the crucifixion.

I haven't gone into detail, and shan't because the article linked here tells it so much better than I could, but El Salvador may be the only country on Earth that gives out life sentences, the full thirty years, for women who commit the crime of having an abortion. Honestly. It must be true. The article is from that right wing broadsheet The Telegraph, not some wishy-washy left wing blog. The woman in question, incidentally, got pregnant as a consequence of being raped. I thought the point about El Salvador was that he was a Christian, a priest of mercy and compassion. Maybe I read the wrong gospel.

Marks For: don't be silly

Marks Against: 8

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment