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Assessing the El Salvador Election
The following are in El Salvador and are reachable via Jesse Stewart [email@example.com], who works with the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network.
Carpenter is director of the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Network.
PEDRO JUAN HERNANDEZ
Pedro Juan Hernandez is the leader of El Salvador's MPR-12 Popular Resistance Movement, a coalition of grassroots civil-society organizations including unions, war veterans and rural farmers. He is an economist and former professor at the University of El Salvador in San Salvador and has written and spoken extensively on trade, agriculture and politics.
He said today: "Four consecutive ARENA governments have been applying ... economic policies that do not address the problems that the great majorities of the population are facing, but rather have hit Salvadorans hard. The economic policies applied have favored a small group of the economically powerful that controls the ARENA party. This liberalization of prices, privatizations and of course opening trade to foreign investment has made the rich richer....
"According to studies by international institutions, about 20 percent of the Salvadoran population is living in extreme poverty. Seven percent of the population is unemployed, and another 43 percent of the population is underemployed, or basically working in the informal sector, out in the street, in precarious conditions, trying to figure out how to make money to meet the needs of their families.
"Therefore, many Salvadorans are find themselves forced to leave El Salvador, looking for a better life in other countries, especially in the United States. ... According to data from institutions specialized in immigration, between 500 to 600 Salvadorans leave the country every day looking for better living conditions in other countries, especially in the USA."