While surfing the web this week, looking for other blogs about El Salvador I came a across the A Different View of a Good Life blog. The author meg has spent some time living in El Salvador and she writes about her accounts there. In this post she talk about the violence in El Salvador.
El Salvador has a culture of violence and trauma reinforced by a history of a brutal civil war; a war that ended with some peace accords that basically lied to the people by saying things were going to change. It is true, things did change. Many say that the poverty rate is worse now than when it was in the war. Imagine that, the people have gotten poorer? The rich politicians have brought in their neoliberal politics and trade agreements (CAFTA) to benefit their friends in corporations. And the people are slowly losing their right to march and protest the injustice going on in their country because as the government likes to say, the protests of the left are terrorist acts, so now there is new terrorist legislation.
Then there are the gangs. The gangs of El Salvador originated in the US, but with the slick deportation process of the US government, El Salvador found a new problem to deal with. The gangs are neither leftist or rightist, but Tony Saca likes to think the gangs are all leftist (even if Arena does pinta y pega with gang members during the elections). And so, with the easy solutions of the Arena government, all the youth of El Salvador are a target. So much for treasuring your future!
So when you couple a history of violence with a people in growing need for food, shelter and jobs, youth who are being targeted, gang members who target everyone (especially busses), and the slow political process that takes human rights away one by one, one might find a breading ground for a whole mess of effects brought on by this culture. One such effect is widespread violence.
A lot goes on in this country every day. Busses are attacked and burned if they didn’t pay the gang fare. Patrons of busses are robbed or killed every day. In the night there are shootings, and we have a homicide rate that is through the roof. Occasionally there are protests, but the last one turned into a police instigated riot with helicopters equipped with gunmen.
A few months ago one of my cousins almost died her when her husband shot her and killed their baby son. This was very hard on my grandmother and it took her a while to get over it. Maybe a year before another cousins on my fathers side died in a car jacking incident.
I wasn’t close to either of them but in a way this is so depressing to me. I mean my family lost so much in this war. My mother gave her life and my father lost his home, his wife and his son for 16 years. For what? so that the country could become even poorer?
He has been through some very hard times in his life and you can see how the war has affected him. I would hate for him to find out it was all for nothing…