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El Salvador

El Salvador

Norwegian People's Aid has supported popular organizations in El Salvador since the mid 80's and has always had close contact with the resistance movement FMLN. In the nineties Norwegian People Aid's work in El Salvador aimed at reconstruction after the civil war, the integration of former guerrilla members and refugees, and support for the democratic development in the country. NPA now supports organizations' participation at the municipal level and political lobbying nationally. The national rescue organization Comandos Salvamento is a partner and NPA’s sister organization.

El Salvador is amongst the most densely populated and smallest countries on the Latin-American continent. It is characterized by a high level of inequality. The country has few natural resources and low industrial production. The economy is strongly linked to the USA and they mainly depend on remittances, the service industries and trade.

High expectations

Since the civil war in the 80s, and the peace agreement in 1992, the former resistance movement FMLN (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional) has gained broad political experience in parliament and on local municipalities. In 2009 they won the election in a center/left coalition and the social organizations had high expectations to the new government, that they would put an end to 17 years of neo-liberal politics during the right-wing party ARENA.

The major changes so far have been a disappointment, but increased investment in social services, health and education especially benefited people in rural areas. FMLN and their presidential candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, was re-elected in 2014 by a small margin.

To obtain revenue for public expenditure, taxes must be increased, something several of the NPA partners are for, while private sector organizations are opposed. Media Institutions in the country generally support private sector and the right-wing opposition.

FMLN has strong support in the social organizations. There are different opinions, both within the party and among social organizations, as to whether the national popular movement should support the government policies or strengthen their demands for political change.