El Salvador 2001
El Salvador. At just one month’s intervals, El Salvador was hit by two earthquakes at the beginning of the year, which claimed a total of 1,000 casualties, injured 5,500, and destroyed 300,000 homes. Most of the deaths were caused by landslides in the wake of the earthquake, especially in the city of Santa Tecla.
The social and economic consequences became very extensive. One-sixth of El Salvador’s population became homeless and the proportion of poor people increased dramatically. The total value of the material destruction was estimated at $ 1.6 billion, equivalent to half the state budget or 13% of El Salvador’s GDP. The coffee sector was particularly hard hit; the harvest was expected to be 35% less than normal. The economic and social improvements over the past three years have in practice been undone. The drastic consequences of the earthquakes are explained by the combined effects of a wide range of natural disasters that have hit all of Central America in a relatively short time since Hurricane Mitch’s ravages in 1998.
Over the course of the year, another natural disaster has gradually developed; During the otherwise rainy period May-July, large parts of Central America suffered severe drought. In El Salvador, 35,000 families were in need of international aid, and the price of corn, one of El Salvador’s most important staple foods, increased by 60%.
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Ex-colonel convicted of Jesuit murder
Former Salvadoran colonel Inocente Montano has been sentenced to 133 years in prison by a Madrid court for his involvement in the notorious assassination of six Jesuit priests and two others in 1989 (see May 2012). Five of the priests were Spaniards. A man suspected of committing the murders is a witness at the trial. Montano, now 77, was also a deputy minister during the civil war and is suspected of being part of a far-right group that opposed peace talks with the left-wing guerrilla group FMLN. Montano was extradited to Spain in 2017 from the United States, where he moved in 2002 and where he was sentenced to prison for migration crimes and perjury. El Salvador has refused to extradite other suspected officers in the case to Spain.
The government is being investigated for gang negotiations
Information that government representatives have secretly negotiated with the leader of the dominant criminal gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, has caused great consternation and prosecutors are now initiating an investigation. Several prison cells are also being searched, since the online newspaper El Faro reported that the government in 2019 offered gang leaders better conditions in prison against guarantees that the number of murders would decrease. According to El Faro, one purpose was also to secure MS-13 support for President Nayib Bukele’s party New Ideas, ahead of the 2021 parliamentary elections.
According to Countryaah, the population of El Salvador in 2001 was 6,052,012, ranking number 102 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.550% yearly, and the population density was 292.0909 people per km2.