1821 Sep 15, A junta convened
by the captain-general in Guatemala declared independence for its
provinces Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua San Salvador
(AP, 9/15/97)(EWH, 1968, p.843)
1823 Jul 1, The United
Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua and San Salvador) gained independence from Mexico. The
union dissolved by 1840.
(PC, 1992, p.393)(ON, 12/99, p.5)
1839-1840 The Liberals of the United Provinces of
Central America under leader Francisco Morazan were defeated in a
civil war led by Rafael Carrera. The confederation dissolved into
its 4 component states: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa
(EWH, 1968, p.857)
1854 Apr 16, San Salvador was
destroyed by an earthquake.
1930 Oct 13, Shafik Handal,
later head of the Salvadoran left, was born to immigrant Palestinian
parents from Bethlehem in the city of Usulutan, El Salvador.
1932 Jan 23, El Salvador army
killed 4,000 protesting farmers.
1942-1945 Jose Arturo Castellanos (d.1977 at 86),
Salvadoran diplomat in Geneva, gave citizenship certificates to as
many as 40,000 Jews during the Holocaust. In 2010 Israel named him
posthumously as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations."
1960 The Central American
Common Market was set up by a treaty between El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua, and later Costa Rica. It fell apart by the end
of the decade.
1969 Jun 27, Honduras and El
Salvador broke diplomatic relations due to soccer match. El Salvador
and Honduras fought a 4-day "Soccer War" when fans brought out
long-simmering tensions during World cup qualifying matches. Some
3,000 people died in the 4-day conflict.
1972 Feb 20, El Salvador held
presidential elections. The blatancy of fraud employed to maintain
the PCN in power outraged and disillusioned many Salvadorans,
including members of the armed forces. Leftists protested the
(http://countrystudies.us/el-salvador/11.htm)(WSJ, 1/10/05, p.A10)
1972 Mar 25, In El Salvador a
group of young army officers, led by Colonel Benjamin Mejia,
launched a coup. Their immediate goal was the establishment of a
"revolutionary junta." It seemed clear, however, that the officers
favored the installation of Jose Duarte as president.
1972 Shafik Handal (1930-2006)
became leader of the Salvadoran Communist Party.
1975 May 10, In El Salvador
leftist poet and novelist Roque Dalton (b.1937) was executed by a
group of commandos. In 2010 his relatives petitioned prosecutors to
file homicide charges against two ex-rebel commanders, who they
claim participated in the decision to kill the writer. The complaint
named former Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front leader
Joaquin Villalobos and Jorge Melendez, who serves in the current
government as head of the civil defense office. In 2012 a judge
closed the case ruling it's too late for a prosecution.
1977 In El Salvador guerrilla
activities by the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front
(FMLN) intensified amid reports of increased human rights violations
by government troops and right wing death squads.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, p.A7)
1979 In El Salvador guerrilla
warfare broke out in the cities and countryside amid government
(WSJ, 1/10/05, p.A10)
1979-1981 In El Salvador an estimated 30,000
people were killed by army-backed right-wing death squads.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, p.A7)
1980 Mar 24, Archbishop Oscar
Arnulfo Romero, one of El Salvador's most respected Roman Catholic
Church leaders, was shot to death by gunmen as he celebrated Mass in
San Salvador. In 1993 a UN-sponsored truth commission determined
that the assassination was ordered by a former army major and Maj.
Roberto D'Abuisson, founder of the Nationalist Republican Alliance
party (ARENA). D’Abuisson (d.1992) was also credited with founding
the national death squads. In 2004 a California federal judge found
Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a retired Salvadoran air force captain living
in Modesto, Ca., liable in the slaying of archbishop Romero and
ordered him to pay $10 million in damages.
(AP, 3/23/97)(SFC, 1/18/96, p.C1)(SFEM,11/16/97,
p.17)(SFC, 9/4/04, p.B7)
1980 Apr, In El Salvador Army
Major Roberto d’Aubuisson (d.1992) founded the rightist Republican
Nationalist Alliance (ARENA).
1980 Sep 11, In Santa Rosita,
El Salvador, soldiers in search of leftist rebels killed Dolores
Soriano (19) and 16 of her neighbors. Soriano was 6-months pregnant.
(SFC, 2/17/00, p.A12)
1980 Dec 2, Three American nuns
and a lay worker were abducted, raped and shot in San Salvador. Nuns
Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay worker Jean Donovan
were raped and shot by guardsmen. The murders occurred as the US
began a 10-year $7 billion aid effort to prevent left-wing
guerrillas from coming to power. Five national guardsmen were later
convicted in the killings, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
(SFC, 4/3/98, p.B2)(SFC, 4/23/98, p.A16)(AP,
1980 Dec 3, Peasants discovered
the bodies of nuns Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, and lay
worker Jean Donovan and buried them.
1980 Dec 4, In El Salvador the
bodies of four American nuns slain two days earlier were unearthed.
Colonel Edgardo Casanova was the military commander of the area at
the time. Five national guardsmen were later convicted of murder and
sentenced in May 1984 to 30 years in prison. In 1998 the guardsmen
admitted that they were acting on orders from above. In 1993 a UN
Truth Commission report concluded that Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides
Casanova, director of the National Guard and brother of Edgardo, and
Gen’l. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the minister of defense, had organized
an official cover-up. Both men were granted residence in the US. 3
of the 5 convicted guardsmen were released in 1998 due to prison
overcrowding. In 1999 families of the victims filed suit against
Casanova and Garcia who were living in Florida. In 2000 a federal
jury cleared the 2 retired generals. In 2002 a Florida jury found
Casanova and Garcia responsible for torture and ordered payment of
$54.6 million to 3 victims living in Florida.
(AP, 12/4/97)(SFC, 4/3/98, p.B2)(SFC, 4/23/98,
p.A16)(SFC, 6/25/98, p.A10) (SFC, 7/23/98, p.C2)(SFC, 5/13/99,
p.C3)(SFC, 11/3/00, p.A3)(SFC, 7/24/02, p.A12)
1980 Dec 13, Christian Democrat
Jose Napoleon Duarte was named the president of El Salvador’s new
1980 El Salvador instituted
agricultural reform and the Finca El Espina coffee plantation was
confiscated from the Duenas family and given to their workers, who
formed a cooperative. The Duenas received $4 million in
(SFEC, 2/9/97, p.C18)
1980 The Salvadoran Communist
Party, led by Shafik Handal (1930-2006), merged with four other
leftist groups into the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front,
1980-1992 In El Salvador a civil war raged during
which security forces have been blamed for killing 40,000 civilians
with torture commonplace. It was later reported that the US had
pumped $1.5 million a day into the fight "to make El Salvador safe
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-19)(SFEM,11/16/97, p.28)
1981 Jan 7, An operational and
planning assistance team (OPAT) arrived in El Salvador to provide
assistance in protecting the harvest from the guerrillas. By the end
of the Carter Administration, nineteen US military advisors had been
1981 Feb 19, The US State
Department called El Salvador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot.
1981 Mar 2, The United States
planned to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to
1981 Mar 25, The US Embassy in
San Salvador was damaged when gunmen attacked, firing rocket
propelled grenades and machine guns.
1981 Jul 25, In El Salvador 45
farmers were allegedly massacred at the hands of the military in San
Francisco Angulo. In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors
must investigate the massacre.
(SFC, 2/7/14, p.A2)
1981 Dec 11, In El Salvador
hundreds of people were killed over 3 days in the village of El
Mozote by an elite US-trained army battalion. In 1991 the office of
Maria Julia Hernandez (1939-2007) published the first investigation
into El Mozote. In 1992, under a UN sponsored Truth Commission, the
Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team found 143 skeletons, 131 of
which belonged to children under 12. The bullet cartridges showed
manufacture in Lake City, Mo. In Dec, 2012, the Inter-American Court
of Human Rights ruled that El Salvador should reopen its
investigation into the army’s killing of some 1000 civilians.
(SFC, 5/12/96, Z1p.4)(Econ, 4/14/07, p.97)(SFC,
1981 El Salvador’s FMLN was
recognized by France and Mexico recognized in as a legitimate
political force, while the US was criticized for aiding the military
government, whose army backed right-wing death squads.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, p.A7)
1981 A dozen suspected leftist
Salvadorans were thrown from a plane to there deaths, says a former
(V. Sun, 11/3/95, p.A-12)
1982 Mar 28, Voters in El
Salvador went to the polls for a constituent assembly election that
resulted in victory for the Christian Democrats, led by President
Jose Napoleon Duarte.
1982 Apr 29, Alfredo Magana was
elected president of El Salvador.
1982 In El Salvador 3 police
officers arrested 6 university students, held them in a clandestine
prison and tried to kill them. The officers became fugitives in Oct
1996 when faced with the accusations.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.A14)
1982 In El Salvador 10 police
officers were involved in the killing of a Nicaraguan mechanic and a
Honduran farmer suspected of transporting arms to rebels in El
Salvador. They were charged with the murders in July 1995.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.A14)
1983 Apr 6, Melida Anaya Montes
("Comandante Ana Maria"), Salvadoran FMLN guerrilla leader, was
killed in Nicaragua, where many Salvadoran guerrillas took refuge
under its leftist government. In 2007 her body was exhumed and
buried in her homeland.
1984 Mar 25, Jose Napoleon
Duarte (1925-1990), a Christian Democrat political moderate, was
elected president of El Salvador following 5 years of military rule.
1985 Jun 19, In El Salvador 4
off-duty US Marines and 9 others were killed at sidewalk restaurants
in the Zona Rosa section of San Salvador. Pedro Antonio Andrade
Martinez (aka Mario Gonzalez), a Marxist guerrilla, was one of the
reputed masterminds of the massacre. Andrade later became an
informant for the CIA and sought US asylum. Andrade was deported
from the US in 1997.
(SFC, 11/22/96, p.A21)(SFC,11/6/97, p.C3)
1986 A large earthquake hit El
Salvador. The US provided $60 million in emergency aid and $98
million in reconstruction funds.
(SFC, 3/2/01, p.D4)
1987 Oct 26, Herbert Anaya
Sanabria, the head of Salvadoran Human Rights Commission, was
assassinated by death squads.
1987 Under a conservative El
Salvador government the Supreme Court ruled that the Finca El Espina
coffee plantation had been illegally expropriated from the Duenas
family and should be returned.
(SFEC, 2/9/97, p.C18)
1989 Feb 13, Salvadoran army
attacked Encuentros hospital where they raped and killed patients.
1989 Mar 19, Alfredo Cristiani
of the right-wing ARENA party was elected president of El Salvador,
defeating Fidel Chavez Mena of the Christian Democratic Party.
1989 Oct, In El Salvador the
CIA station in San Salvador began providing the Salvadoran security
forces with money to the resettle Marxist guerilla turned informer,
Pedro Antonio Andrade Martinez (aka Mario Gonzalez), in the US. He
had been recently captured and became a highly paid informer for the
Salvadoran armed forces. Information from Andrade later led to the
capture, torture or disappearance of some 200 guerrillas. In 1996 he
was arrested in the US for failure to renew his visa. In 1997 the
Clinton administration sought to deport him.
(SFC, 11/22/96, p.A21)(SFC, 2/22/96, p.A7)
1989 Nov 16, In El Salvador 6
Jesuit priests and two other people were slain by uniformed gunmen
at the Jose Simeon Canas University in an attack later blamed on
army troops. Later 19 Salvadoran soldiers, trained at the US Army
School of the Americas, were linked to the killing. In 2006 US
police in Los Angeles arrested a Salvadoran ex-lieutenant convicted
of killing the 6 Jesuits. In 2009 a Spanish judge opened an
investigation into 14 ex-Salvadoran military officials and
considered indicting them over the killings. In 2009 the 6 Jesuits
were decorated with the country's highest honor. In 2011 twenty
Salvadorans were indicted in Spain for their alleged roles in the
killings. On Feb 5, 2016, police arrested four former soldiers
wanted in Spain for the murder of the six Jesuit priests.
(AP, 11/16/99)(SFC, 9/21/96, p.A3)(WSJ, 10/27/06,
p.A1)(AP, 1/13/09)(AP, 11/16/09)(SFC, 9/12/12, p.A8)(AP, 2/6/16)
1989 Nov 23, Lucia Barrera de
Cerna, a housekeeper who said she had witnessed the slaying of six
Jesuit priests and two other people at the Jose Simeon Canas
University in El Salvador, was flown to the US under heavy security.
1989 Nov 26, El Salvador broke
relations with Nicaragua after a weapons-loaded plane from that
country was downed in El Salvador.
1989 El Salvador’s right-wing
ARENA party began to be supported by the US government.
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-19)
1989 El Salvador military
officers Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, director of the
National Guard and Gen’l. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the minister of
defense, retired to Florida. In 2002 a Florida jury found Casanova
and Garcia responsible for torture and atrocities committed in 1983
and ordered payment of $54.6 million to 3 victims living in Florida.
[see El Salvador Dec 4, 1980]
(SFC, 7/24/02, p.A12)
1989 Lori Helene Berenson, an
American, began work in El Salvador as the personal secretary to
Leonel Gonzalez, top commander of the FMLN guerrillas. She stayed
for about for about 4 1/2 years and moved to Peru.
1990 Jan 7, The president of El
Salvador, Alfredo Cristiani, said in a nationally broadcast address
that military men two months earlier had massacred six Jesuit
priests, their housekeeper and her daughter.
1990 Feb 23, Former Salvadoran
President Jose Napoleon Duarte died at age 64.
1990 Adam Kufeld published “El
Salvador." He had made 8 trips to the country as a photographer
1990 The US House of
Representatives voted to cut aid to El Salvador by 50%.
(WSJ, 1/10/05, p.A10)
1991 Dec 31, Representatives of
the government of El Salvador and rebels reached agreement at the
United Nations on a peace accord aimed at ending 12 years of civil
1991 An El Salvador government
commission decided to return a swath of the Finca El Espina land to
the Duenas family and that 865 acres be turned into a reserve. The
550 families of the cooperative that acquired the land in 1980 were
to be left with 700 acres of the poorest, driest land.
(SFEC, 2/9/97, p.C18)
1992 Jan 16, Officials of the
government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact at
Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that
had left at least 75,000 people dead.
(AP, 1/16/98)(Econ, 1/21/17, p.25)
1992 Jan 24, A judge in El
Salvador sentenced an army colonel and a lieutenant to 30 years in
prison for their part in the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests,
their housekeeper and her daughter.
1992 Dec, A peace treaty was
signed between leftist rebels and the El Salvador government. The
Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front became legal and described
itself as social democratic. The Peace Accords introduced reforms to
give land to ex-combatants of the FMLN and the military. The
National Civilian Police replaced the National Police.
(SFC, 3/17/97, p.A9)(SFEM,11/16/97, p.22)(SFC,
1992 In El Salvador the new US
Embassy was completed. Plans for the structure had been drawn up in
1992 In El Salvador after the
guerrillas demobilized the Communist Party kept guerrilla
leader Jose Louis Merino’s network of safe houses intact and
continued to kidnap for ransom. In 2008 Merino, a dominant force in
the FMLN, was implicated in helping Colombia’s FARC contact two
Australia arms dealers.
(WSJ, 8/28/08, p.A9)
1992 El Salvador Army Major
Roberto d’Aubuisson, founder of the rightist Republican Nationalist
Alliance (ARENA), died at age 48.
(SFC, 2/25/96, p.a12)(SFC, 3/23/00, p.A1)
1993 Mar 14, An independent
UN-sponsored commission released a report blaming the bulk of
atrocities committed during El Salvador's civil war on the country's
1993 Oct 25, Francisco Velis,
El Salvador guerilla leader (FMLN), was murdered.
1993 Oct 30, Hernan Heleno
Castro, El Salvadorian guerilla leader, was murdered.
1993 Along with the peace
accord El Salvador Pres. Alfredo Cristiani reprivatized the banks
and set himself and a tight circle of friends, secretly called “The
Apostles," in control of the biggest institutions.
(SFC, 8/9/97, p.A1,7)
1993 A broad amnesty was given
to all combatants of the 1980-1992 El Salvador civil war. The
Salvadoran war raged over 12 years and left around 75,000 people
(SFC, 7/24/02, p.A12)(AP, 5/30/11)
1993 In El Salvador a
high-interest pyramid scheme bilked some $35 million from thousands
of middle-class investors. The ARENA government of Pres. Cristiani
did not stop it or prosecute those responsible.
(SFC, 8/9/97, p.A7)
1994 Mar 20, El Salvador held
its first presidential election following the country's 12-year-old
civil war. Armando Calderon Sol of the ARENA party led the vote, but
needed to win a run-off to achieve the presidency.
1994 There were 7,673 people
murdered in this year according to the El Salvador attorney
(SFC, 10/3/97, p.B5)
1995 Aug 9, A Boeing 737
belonging to Guatemala’s Aviateca airline hit the Chichontepec
volcano in El Salvador on a flight from Miami and killed all 65 on
(SFC, 11/1/96, p.A18)
1995 Some 40 El Salvador
citizens banded together to form the Patriotic Movement. Their first
project was the 1996 exchange program Goods for Guns.
(SFEC, 10/6/96, A9)
1995 A pilot CARE program
surveyed El Salvador ranches under joint title to former guerrillas
in order to establish specific ownership to improve development. It
grew to a $26 million program by 1998.
(SFEC, 1/11/98, p.A27)
1995 There were 7,877 people
murdered in this year according to the El Salvador attorney
(SFC, 10/3/97, p.B5)
1996 In San Salvador the two
largest street gangs signed a peace accord that ended four years of
vicious street warfare. The Catholic Church mediated between the
members of the MS gang and the M-18 gang.
(SFC, 4/10/96, A-10)
1996 Mar 19, In El Salvador an
Emergency Anti-Crime Law was approved by President Armando Calderon
Sol. Its language called for all Salvadorans charged with crimes
abroad to be locked up and re-educated.
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-18)
1996 Mar 20, In El Salvador 4
teenaged members of a youth gang were summarily executed in the
provincial capital of Santa Ana.
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-18)
1996 Mar 21, In El Salvador a
case against narcotics traffickers was dropped when the judge
learned that the evidence, 46 lbs. of cocaine, had disappeared from
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-18)
1996 Mar 23, In El Salvador 8
police officers opened fire on citizens in a rural hamlet and killed
four people including an 11-year-old boy. The incident began when
the police tried to buy beer from a store after being told that it
was closed for the night.
(SFC, 5/8/96, p.A-18)
1996 Sep, In El Salvador the
Goods for Guns project began and in 2 weeks collected 1,262 weapons
and 14,580 units of ammunition.
(SFEC, 10/6/96, C12)
1996 There were 6,792 people
murdered in this year according to the El Salvador attorney
(SFC, 10/3/97, p.B5)
1997 Feb 9, It was reported
that developers wished to convert part of the Finca El Espino land
in El Salvador to a $100 million luxury development while farmers
wished to maintain coffee growth and the government sought a park.
(SFEC, 2/9/97, p.C18)
1997 Feb 22, It was reported
that the Clinton administration was seeking to have the former El
Salvador rebel, Pedro Antonio Andrade, deported as a terrorist.
(SFC, 2/22/96, p.A7)
1997 Mar 16, Elections for
mayors in 262 El Salvador cities and for the 84-member unicameral
Legislative Assembly was scheduled. The Farabundo Marti National
Liberation Front (FMLN) party was a front-runner. Hector Silva of
the Democratic Convergence Party won the mayoral elections for San
Salvador. He ran under a coalition led by the FMLN.
(SFC, 2/25/97, p.a12)(SFC, 3/17/97, p.A9)
1997 Jun, In El Salvador a
Credi Club bank scandal involved the disappearance of $11 million in
(SFEC, 7/20/97, p.A18)
1997 Jul 14, El Salvador
regulators seized Financiera Insepro, which collapsed and left more
than 1000 account holders demanding justice. The $15 million bank
failure led to a call for US investigators and 5 prominent business
leaders were jailed.
(SFEC, 7/20/97, p.A18)
1997 Jul, In El Salvador
Roberto Mathies Hill was arrested on fraud charges for having bilked
at least $115 million from depositors in a complex financial shell
(SFC, 8/9/97, p.A8)
1997 Sep 4, In Cuba an
explosion shook 3 tourist hotels and one Italian tourist was killed.
Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon (25) of Salvador was arrested and accused of
carrying out a half-dozen hotel attacks. He worked for Luis Posada
Carriles, who was supported by the Cuban-American National
Foundation. Cruz was sentenced to death in 1999. In 2010 Cuba's
Supreme Court commuted the death sentence ruling that he should
serve 30 years in prison instead.
(SFC, 9/5/97, p.A12)(SFEC, 7/12/98, p.A21)(WSJ,
3/24/99, p.A1)(AP, 12/3/10)
1997 Nov 16, It was reported
that 22 murders a day occur in El Salvador. Vehicles in the capital
have increased fivefold in 5 years and the garbage dump in San
Salvador is full. The opposition FNLN now controls 45% of the
1997 Castellanos Moya (b.1957),
Honduras-born Salvadoran writer, authored “"Revulsion: Thomas
Bernhard in San Salvador" (El asco, Thomas Bernhard en El Salvador),
a barbed monologue against everything Salvadoran.
(SSFC, 5/25/08, Books
1998 Jan 16, Israel Job Pineda,
a fisherman in La Herradura, El Salvador, was shot and killed by a
pirate intruder. Pirates had become a growing threat to the local
shrimp fisherman. Police later arrested nine fishermen linked to the
(SFEC, 2/8/98, p.A26)
1998 Jun 1, It was reported
that just 2% of the forest remained in El Salvador, which was once
covered by forest.
(SFC, 6/1/98, p.A8)
1998 Jul 12, Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador agreed to join forces to build a $2
billion railroad network to link Central America with Mexico.
(SFC, 7/13/98, p.A8)
1998 Oct 22-1998 Nov 9,
Hurricane Mitch was one of the Caribbean's deadliest storms ever
causing at least at least 9,000 deaths in Central America. The storm
hit Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama,
Jamaica, and Costa Rica. Later reports put the death toll in
Honduras to 6,076. In Nicaragua the deaths reached 4,000, in
Guatemala it was157, and in El Salvador it was 222. The storm parked
over Honduras and rain poured for 6 days straight. Aid of $66
mil was ordered from the US, $8 mil from the EU, $11.6 mil from
Spain along with pledges from other countries and private
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.A9)(SFC, 11/6/98, p.A14)(AP,
1998 El Salvador banned
abortions in all circumstances.
(Econ, 12/3/16, p.52)
1998 El Salvador police records
indicated that 115 officers were killed during the year.
(SFC, 6/15/99, p.C2)
1999 Mar 6, It was reported
that extermination squads in El Salvador were killing gang members
at the rate of 1-2 a week.
(SFC, 3/6/99, p.A10)
1999 Mar 7, In El Salvador
presidential elections were scheduled. FMLN candidate Facundo
Guardado was expected to lose to ARENA candidate Francisco Flores
(39). Flores and his Republican National Alliance won with about 52%
of the vote.
(SFC, 3/4/99, p.A12)(SFC, 3/8/99, p.A12)(SFC,
1999 Mar, In El Salvador a
deputy police commissioner was killed by a hail of bullets in San
Vicente province as she left a restaurant after dinner with friends.
(SFC, 6/15/99, p.C2)
1999 Jun, In El Salvador
Francisco Flores (39) took office and included in his cabinet
Mauricio Sandoval as the national police commissioner. Sandoval was
implicated in the 1989 murders of 6 Jesuits when he ran a
pro-government radio network which allegedly instigated the murders.
Crime was a national concern with the annual murder rate at 128 per
(SFC, 6/11/99, p.D4)
1999 Sep, Salvadoran
authorities opened the floodgates to save the hydroelectric dam on
the Lempa River. Massive flooding left 13 people dead.
(SFEC, 9/26/99, p.A21)
1999 Oct 3, Flooding in Central
America left 21 dead in Honduras, 10 dead in Nicaragua, and 11 dead
in El Salvador and thousands were forced to flee their homes.
(SFC, 10/4/99, p.A13)
2000 Mar 12, Elections were
held in El Salvador. The FMLN won 31 of the 84 assembly seats in
Congress. ARENA was left with only 29 seats. 78 of 262 city
elections were also won by the FMLN along with 8 of 14 provincial
(SFC, 3/14/00, p.A8)
2000 cApr 1, The US and El
Salvador signed a 10 year agreement for drug surveillance missions
to be flown from Comalapa Int’l. Airport.
(SFC, 4/14/00, p.A21)
2000 May 11, Mexico reached a
free-trade agreement with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
(SFC, 5/12/00, p.D2)
2000 Oct 8-2000 Oct 11, In El
Salvador a week of deaths from sugarcane liquor contaminated with
methyl alcohol increased to 51. Bottles of Thunderbolt were
suspected to have been refilled with a mixture of methanol and
resold to poor farmworkers. Liquor sales were banned after 117
(SFC, 10/9/00, p.A11)(SFC, 10/11/00, p.A14)(WSJ,
2000 Nov 22, In El Salvador
Pres. Francisco Flores proposed to adopt the US dollar as the
(SFC, 11/24/00, p.D8)
2001 Jan 13, In El Salvador a
7.6 earthquake hit near San Salvador. Some 1200 people were not
accounted for in the buried Las Colinas neighborhood. The “slab
earthquake" originated 24-36 miles below the surface. The earthquake
death toll later climbed to over 840. Damages were estimated at $1
(SSFC, 1/14/01, p.A1)(SSFC, 1/21/01, p.D1)(AP,
2001 Jan 14, In El Salvador
aftershocks continued from the Jan 13 earthquake and the death toll
climbed to over 400.
(SFC, 1/15/01, p.A1)
2001 Jan 15, The Jan 13 El
Salvador earthquake death toll climbed to over 707 and damages were
estimated at $1 billion [see Jan 13].
(SFC, 1/16/01, p.A1)(SSFC, 1/21/01, p.D1)
2001 Feb 11, In El Salvador
armed men attacked a bus carrying a local soccer team near
Zacatecoluca. The coach was killed and 3 others injured.
(SFC, 2/13/01, p.D3)
2001 Feb 13, In El Salvador a
6.6 earthquake killed at least 127 people. It was centered between
San Vicente and San Salvador. The death toll soon rose to 402 with
2432 injured. It struck one month to the day after another quake
killed more than 800 people.
(SFC, 2/14/01, p.A1)(SFC, 2/15/01, p.A12)(AP,
2001 Feb 17, In El Salvador
another earthquake hit San Salvador. The 5.3 quake killed at least 1
(SSFC, 2/18/01, p.D6)
2001 May 8-2001 May 9, Some 100
small earthquakes hit El Salvador over a 24-hour period.
(SFC, 5/10/01, p.C5)
2001 May 11, It was reported
that a new Salvadoran government report documented brutal conditions
in its maquiladora factories. The report was suppressed but one copy
made it to the National Labor Committee.
(SFC, 5/11/01, p.A16)
2001 Aug 18, It was reported
that a month-long drought ravaged Central America. Honduras lost 80%
of its basic grains, El Salvador lost 80% of grains in its eastern
provinces, Nicaragua lost 50% and Guatemala lost 80% of its beans in
the eastern provinces. Hundreds of thousands of peasants were
(SFC, 8/18/01, p.A1)
2001 Sep, El Salvador Pres.
Flores was among the heads of state who signed the Inter-American
Democratic Charter that committed all members to refuse to recognize
any government resulting from a military coup.
(SSFC, 4/21/02, p.A24)
2001 Nov 2, Gunmen killed 10
people in San Salvador in a suspected drug trade execution.
(SFC, 11/3/01, p.C2)
2001 Dec 27, In El Salvador
forensic scientists found human bones buried under the national
police headquarters. The were believed to belong to people who
disappeared during the 1980s civil war.
(WSJ, 12/28/01, p.A1)
2001 El Salvador adopted the US
dollar as the official currency.
(WSJ, 3/7/05, p.A18)
2002 Mar 4, El Salvador
declared a state of emergency in the town of Berlin after some 60
horses died from apparent anthrax infections.
(SFC, 3/5/02, p.A7)
2002 Jun 7, Mauricio Gonzalez
(68), retired dental hygienist from San Ramon, Ca., was kidnapped
near Sonsonate, El Salvador. A demand for $500,000 was made. This
was the 4th kidnapping of a US citizen here since Jan 1, 2000.
(SFC, 6/11/02, p.A19)
2002 Sep 9, In El Salvador a
small plane crashed into the slopes of a mountain, killing four
prominent Guatemala businessmen and the pilot.
2003 Feb 28, Fidel
Sanchez Hernandez (85), former El Salvador President (1967-1972),
died. He directed the so-called 100-hour war, when the Salvadoran
army invaded Honduras in 1969 over a territorial dispute.
2003 Mar 27, In Afghanistan
Ricardo Munguia (39), a Red Cross water engineer from El Salvador,
was killed by Taliban gunmen.
(SFC, 4/8/03, p.A5)(Reuters 3/28/03)
2003 Mar 29, In El Salvador a
cargo truck carrying dozens of passengers went out of control and
flipped over, killing at least 12 people and injuring 42.
2003 Aug 12, El Salvador sent
360 peacekeepers to Iraq.
2003 Dec 4, El Salvador's
government ignores and sometimes contributes to widespread labor
abuses, Human Rights watch said in a new report.
2003 Dec 9, In southern Mexico
Salvatrucha gang members attacked illegal immigrants from Central
America on a train, killing three people and wounding four in the
latest in a series of violent incidents in the region. The Mara
Salvatrucha spanned Central America. It was named for its
Salvadorean founders, who claimed to be as wise as trout.
(AP, 12/10/03)(Econ, 5/22/04, p.31)
2003 Dec 17, The Bush
administration reached a free-trade deal with El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua for immediate duty-free access to
half of all US farm exports and 80% of consumer goods.
(WSJ, 12/18/03, p.A1)
2003 El Salvador Pres.
Francisco Flores led 4 other Central American countries to form a
Central American Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
(Econ, 3/27/04, p.38)
2004 Mar 21, Tony Saca, former
sportscaster and Arena Party candidate, easily won El Salvador's
presidential race, promising to continue the direction of one of the
most pro-US governments in the hemisphere.
(AP, 3/22/04)(Econ, 3/27/04, p.38)
2004 Apr 28, Masked
demonstrators stormed the main cathedral in El Salvador's capital
and demanded the country's new president withdraw troops from Iraq
and rehire dozens of fired government employees.
2004 May 28, US officials and 5
Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua) signed a free trade pact (CAFTA), to be
later approved by Congress. The Dominican Republic would be included
(SFC, 5/29/04, p.A4)
2004 Jun 9, Human Rights Watch
said as many as one-third of the workers in El Salvador's sugarcane
fields are under the age of 18, urging companies to boycott
2004 Aug 14, In El Salvador a
bus careened off a mountain highway and toppled into a ravine in
eastern El Salvador, killing 34 people and injuring 24 others.
2004 Aug 18, In El Salvador
rival inmates fought each other with knives and sticks at a San
Salvador prison, leaving at least 31 people dead and two dozen
2004 Sep 3, A California
federal judge found Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a retired Salvadoran air
force captain living in Modesto, liable in the 1980 slaying of
Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero and ordered him to pay $10
million in damages.
(AP, 9/4/04)(SFC, 9/4/04, p.B7)
2004 Sep 24, An uprising by
some 800 gang members at two Salvadoran prisons ended peacefully on
Friday following government promises to study complaints by inmates.
2004 Nov 5, Jose Gilberto Soto
(49), a US citizen of Salvadoran origin from Cliffside Park, N.J.,
was shot in the back outside his family's house in Usulutan, 70
miles southeast of San Salvador. In December Salvadoran police
arrested his mother-in-law, along with five other suspects,
describing the slaying as a contract killing that was the result of
a family dispute.
2004 Nov 12, In El Salvador US
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld awarded bronze stars to six
soldiers who fought in Iraq, and he praised the tiny nation for
being the only Latin American country to have kept its troops there.
2004 The population of El
Salvador at this time was about 6.5 million.
2005 Mar 3, The seven Central
American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) agreed to create a rapid-response
force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and other regional
2005 Apr 8, Former Salvadoran
President Francisco Flores, the US government's choice to lead the
Washington-based Organization of American States, withdrew his
candidacy. His withdrawal means that, for the first time in the
57-year history of the OAS, Washington's candidate will not win.
2005 May 20, Hurricane Adrian
slammed into El Salvador, unleashing torrential rains in an area
prone to devastating floods and forcing some 14,000 people to seek
2005 May 25, A new plaza on San
Salvador's Jerusalem Avenue was inaugurated in honor of the late
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Migrants from Palestine flowed to
El Salvador for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
and several families became prominent in business and politics.
2005 Jun 26, Heavy rains caused
flooding and landslides in El Salvador and Honduras, leaving a total
of 39 dead in both countries, including 21 people killed when a bus
was carried away by flood waters.
2005 Jun 30, In Honduras
Central American leaders agreed to create a regional special forces
unit to fight drug trafficking, gang violence and terrorism within
their borders. The 2-day regional meeting included the presidents of
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico,
Nicaragua, and Panama.
2005 Aug 11, El Salvador sent
its fifth contingent of 380 soldiers to Iraq for humanitarian
missions. President Tony Saca said it was in the same spirit as the
countries that helped El Salvador during its 12-year civil war.
2005 Sep 6, Dominican Republic
legislators overwhelmingly approved a free-trade agreement with the
US and five Central American countries, rejecting arguments that the
pact would devastate the domestic sugar industry. The other five
countries are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and
Nicaragua. Costa Rica and Nicaragua had not yet ratified the pact.
2005 Sep 8, El Salvador said
that “Operation International" simultaneous raids this week in El
Salvador, the US, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico netted 660
dangerous gang members.
2005 Oct 1, A volcano in
western El Salvador erupted, sending a column of ash 50,000 feet
into the air and killing two farmers buried by chunks of earth and
boiling water that tumbled down the slopes.
2005 Oct 3, In El Salvador
heavy rains triggered landslides that killed at least 31 people,
while rising rivers forced the evacuation of dozens of people there
and in neighboring Guatemala.
2005 Oct 5, Hurricane Stan
knocked down trees, ripped roofs off homes and washed out bridges in
southeastern Mexico, but it was the storms it helped spawn that were
far more destructive, killing more than 65 people in Central
America. Officials in El Salvador said 49 people had been killed,
mostly due to two days of mudslides sparked by rains. 9 people died
in Nicaragua, including six migrants believed to be Ecuadorians
killed in a boat accident. Four deaths were reported in Honduras,
three in Guatemala and one in Costa Rica.
2005 Oct 6-2005 Oct 8, In
Guatemala rescue workers searched for victims of a mudslide near
Lake Atitlan, a volcano-ringed lake popular with tourists. Panabaj
and Tzanchaz were entombed by a mudflow half a mile wide. The death
toll in the region from flooding sparked by Hurricane Stan soon
climbed to 617 with 42 dead in Mexico, 72 dead in El Salvador and 11
dead in Nicaragua.
(SFC, 10/7/05, p.A3)(AP, 10/9/05)(Econ, 10/15/05,
2005 Oct 29, Salvadoran
President Tony Saca urged Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to
support his request to President Bush to allow undocumented
Salvadorans to remain in the US while the country recovers from
2005 Nov 18, A federal jury in
Tennessee held that Nicolas Carranza (72), a former Salvadoran
colonel, was responsible for murder and torture during the 1980s
civil war in El Salvador and ordered him to pay $6 million in
damages to his accusers.
(SFC, 11/19/05, p.A5)
2005 Dec 31, El Salvador's 22
penitentiaries, designed to house 7,370 inmates, were packed with
more than 12,500 prisoners.
2006 Jan 4, A US federal
appeals court in Atlanta reinstated a $54.6 million verdict against
two retired Salvadoran generals, Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova (67),
and Jose Guillermo Garcia (72), accused of torture during the civil
war (1980-1992) in their home country.
2006 Jan 24, Shafik Handal
(75), leader of the Salvadoran left, died of a heart attack in San
Salvador. The ex-guerrilla commander had fought US-backed troops
during the country's 12-year civil war.
2006 Feb 6, El Salvador said it
will send another contingent of 380 soldiers to Iraq, making it the
country's sixth group to serve six-month rotations in the war-torn
2006 Feb 28, Thousands of
street vendors, university students and labor unionists marched in
San Salvador against a regional free trade accord with the United
States, which they say will hurt small businesses and organized
2006 Mar 1, El Salvador became
the first Central American nation to join a regional free trade
agreement with the United States.
2006 Mar 12, El Salvador held
elections. The next day the conservative ruling party claimed
several victories over former leftist rebels in elections for
congressional seats and mayorships across the country.
2006 Mar 20, Venezuela agreed
to sell fuel under preferential terms to an El Salvador association
created by a group of leftist mayors.
2006 May 16, Scientists warned
that tropical forests, which house El Salvador's famed coffee
plantations and provide habitat for migrating birds, are being
depleted at an alarming rate.
2006 Jul 5, In El Salvador
violence broke out after police fired tear gas to disperse students
protesting against a hike in electricity rates and public
transportation fees. Two officers were killed and 10 others were
wounded by gunshots. The next day police arrested Luis Antonio
Herrador Funes (37), who allegedly was captured on tape shielding a
man who was shooting an M-16 rifle. Police were still looking for
2006 Jul 11, Central American
presidents agreed on a plan to ease border controls and install a
common customs system on the way to negotiating an eventual
free-trade agreement with the EU. The agreement signed by Panama,
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize
would allow residents to cross borders without passports or visas.
2006 Jul 27, In Iraq a rocket
and mortar barrage followed by a car bomb blasted an upscale, mostly
Shiite district of Baghdad, killing 31 people and wounding 153. A US
Marine was killed in action in western Iraq. A Salvadoran soldier
was killed in Iraq, the 2nd soldier from this Central American
nation to be killed in the conflict in 8 days.
(AP, 7/27/06)(AP, 7/28/06)
2006 Sep 5, Cellular telephones
were found inside four prisoners in El Salvador's maximum-security
prison after suspicious officials took X-rays of each of the
2006 Oct 18, El Salvador’s
Pres. Antonio Saca pledged to support Taiwan's bid to join world
bodies and called for a free trade agreement between the two
countries. El Salvador is one of only 24 countries that affords
Taiwan diplomatic recognition over the island's rival China.
2007 Jan 6, Riots erupted
overnight in a maximum-security prison in western El Salvador,
leaving 21 inmates dead.
2007 Feb 19, Police found the
charred bodies of three Salvadoran representatives to the Central
American Parliament and their driver on a rural road outside
2007 Mar 12, Israel confirmed
that it has recalled Tsuriel Raphael, its ambassador to El
Salvador, after he was found naked, bound and drunk two weeks
2007 Mar 26, Four children and
Pedro Rodriguez (28), their father, were found dead in the family's
suburban Washington, D.C., home. The mother Deysi M. Benitez (25)
was missing. Her sister from El Salvador said she had been beaten by
her husband and wanted to separate.
2007 Mar 30, In El Salvador
Maria Julia Hernandez (b.1939), a renowned human rights activist,
died of a heart attack. She had aided victims of El Salvador's civil
(AP, 3/31/07)(Econ, 4/14/07, p.97)
2008 Jul 3, In El Salvador a
bus carrying members of an evangelical church was swept off a bridge
in San Salvador. 29 bodies were recovered the next day.
(SFC, 7/4/08, p.A3)
2008 Dec 23, El Salvador’s
President Tony Saca announced he will withdraw Salvadoran troops
from Iraq after Dec. 31, pulling out the only remaining soldiers
from Latin America.
2008 El Salvador this year had
the world’s highest murder rate.
(Econ, 3/14/09, p.39)
2009 Jan 18, In El Salvador
polls ahead of six-party elections indicated the Farabundo Marti
National Liberation Front, a former guerrilla group known as the
FMLN, will increase its 32-seat plurality in the 84-member
legislature while winning the capital and most of the 262 mayors
races up for grabs.
2009 Jan 19, El Salvador's
chief leftist party lost its stronghold in the capital but was
winning the most seats in the Legislative Assembly.
2009 Jan 24, In El Salvador
final results showed that the former leftist rebels won more seats
than any other party in legislative elections but fell short of a
2009 Jan 28, El Salvador police
said they found the remains of what they believe to be eight to 10
gang victims at the bottom of a well in Tonacatepeque, located
outside San Salvador.
2009 Mar 15, El Salvador's
entrenched conservatives faced a stiff challenge from the party of
former guerrillas in presidential elections. Mauricio Funes
(b.1959), a leftist television journalist, made history by bringing
the FMLN, a party of former guerrillas, to power for the first time
since the end of a bloody civil war. Funes won 51.3% to 48.7% for
(AP, 3/15/09)(AP, 3/16/09)(Econ, 3/21/09, p.40)
2009 Mar 18, Costa Rica said it
will re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, and El Salvador's new
president-elect, Mauricio Funes, promised to do the same after he
2009 May 31, El Salvador’s
President-elect Mauricio Funes appointed his wife and a former
Marxist guerrilla to Cabinet posts just hours before starting his
2009 Jun 1, In El Salvador
Mauricio Funes, a journalist from a party of former Marxist
guerrillas, became the country's first leftist president,
immediately restoring ties with Cuba while promising to remain
friendly with the United States.
2009 Jul 27, El Salvador
announced a decision to close schools nationwide for two weeks to
combat the spread of swine flu. El Salvador has already confirmed
545 cases of swine flu, including seven deaths.
2009 Sep 2, In El Salvador
Christian Poveda (52), a French filmmaker who recently made a
documentary about the lives of members of El Salvador's street
gangs, was found shot dead in Tonacatepeque, a rural region north of
San Salvador. Earlier this year, Poveda, made the documentary "La
Vida Loca," which follows the lives of members La 18 street gang and
received widespread attention in El Salvador. 4 Mara 18 members and
a policeman were soon detained. On Dec 16 police arrested 10 more
members of the Mara 18 gang. 9 other gang members already in prison
have also been charged in the case. On Mar 9, 2011 a court sentenced
10 gang members and a police officer to prison terms ranging from
four to 30 years. 20 additional defendants were acquitted, but 17 of
them were serving time for other crimes.
(AP, 9/3/09)(AP, 12/17/09)(AP, 3/10/11)
2009 Sep 6, The El Salvador
navy said it has found 76 migrants aboard a boat in the Pacific.
They included 25 Bangladeshis, 25 Nepalese, 21 Eritreans and five
Ecuadoreans. The boat had set sail a week ago from the Ecuadorean
port of Manta.
2009 Sep 9, Salvadoran
authorities said they had arrested 4 alleged Mara 18 gang members
and a police officer in the Sep 2 slaying of French documentary
filmmaker Christian Poveda. The arrested officer was identified as
Jose Napoleon Espinoza, an agent assigned to the 911 emergency phone
system in Soyapango outside the capital, San Salvador.
2009 Nov 4, El Salvador's
defense minister said the army will send an additional 2,500
soldiers to crime-plagued parts of the country to increase security.
In the first 10 months of the year, there were 3,673 homicides in El
Salvador, up from 3,179 in all of 2008. Many killings involved
2009 Nov 8, In El Salvador a
wave of floods and landslides killed at least 192 people following
three days of heavy rains. Dozens of people were missing in a
mudslide that swept down on the town of in Verapaz. Hurricane Ida's
presence in the western Caribbean late last week may have played a
role in drawing the rain-packed Pacific low-pressure system toward
(AP, 11/8/09)(AP, 11/11/09)(AP, 11/15/09)
2009 El Salvador counted 6,587
gang-related killings for the year.
(Econ, 12/18/10, p.56)
2010 Jan 23, In southern Mexico
about 150 migrants were pulled off a train by unidentified
assailants in the state of Oaxaca. On Jan 26 a Salvadoran
official filed a complaint with Mexican officials saying 3 men
were slain and 4 women were raped in the attack.
2010 Mar 24, El Salvador
President Mauricio Funes publicly apologized on behalf of the state
for the 1980 assassination of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar
Arnulfo Romero. Funes said Romero was killed by right-wing death
squads "who unfortunately acted with the protection, collaboration
or participation of state agents."
2010 Apr 14, El Salvador
President Mauricio Funes said Mexico's Zeta drug gang has entered El
Salvador and has made contact with local gangs in what appears to be
an exploration of opportunities.
2010 Apr 23, In El Salvador
gunmen shot and seriously wounded First Secretary Guillermo Medina
Alfaro, a Mexican diplomat who worked with the international police
agency Interpol. Police said the diplomat's wife was killed.
2010 May 5, The US federal
government said it will allow people from Nicaragua, El Salvador and
Honduras to stay another 18 months in the US with temporary legal
status. A new expiration date was set for Jan 5, 2012. The temporary
legal status has been extended repeatedly since Hurricane Mitch
devastated the region in 1998.
2010 May 30, Authorities in
Central America struggled to clear roads of debris and reach cut-off
communities due to landslides and flooding triggered by Tropical
Storm Agatha. The death toll rose to include 165 people in
Guatemala; in Honduras at least 18 deaths were linked to the storm;
El Salvador President Mauricio Funes warned that the danger had not
yet passed and reported 10 deaths.
(AP, 5/30/10)(AP, 5/31/10)(AP, 6/1/10)(AP,
6/2/10)(AP, 6/6/10)(AP, 6/16/10)
2010 Jun 20, In El Salvador
gang members set a bus afire near the capital, killing at least 14
of the people aboard.
2010 Jul 6, Venezuela announced
plans to extradite a Salvadoran man wanted by Cuba as a suspect in a
series of bombings. Cuba believes Chavez Abarca placed an explosive
that damaged a hotel disco on April 2, 1997, and another bomb later
that month that failed to explode on the 15th floor of the same
hotel. Cuban officials also suspect him in a 1997 bombing of a Cuban
2010 Sep 2, El Salvador
lawmakers approved a new law making gang membership punishable by
four to six years in prison. Gang leaders would face up to 10 years.
Police found an oil drum filled with money on a ranch in the town of
Penitente Abajo, about 40 miles (62 km) from the capital. After
three days counting the bundles of $100, $50 and $20 bills,
authorities announced that it contained about $9 million in U.S.
dollars. Another plastic drum was uncovered Sep 4 about 5 yards
away, also crammed with money. A 3rd barrel was found on Sep 10
containing packets of $100 bills adding up to $4.2 million.
(AP, 9/2/10)(AP, 9/4/10)(AP, 9/11/10)
2010 Oct 21, In El Salvador
Benitez Canales, one of the owners of the Deportivo Vista Hermosa
football club, was among a group making a deal over 2 kg (4.4
pounds) of cocaine when they were arrested.
2010 Nov 10, In El Salvador a
fire tore through a prison north of the capital. The death toll soon
rose to 19 following the deaths of some of the injured.
(AP, 11/10/10)(AP, 11/12/10)
2010 Dec 1, A Guatemalan
ex-congressman, Manuel Castillo, was sentenced to 203 years in
prison after being found guilty of ordering the assassination of
three Salvadoran representatives to the Central American Parliament
and their driver in 2007. Two former police officers and four others
were also sentenced to between 99 and 210 years.
2010 Dec 21, In Cuba Francisco
Chavez Abarca of El Salvador was handed a 30-year prison sentence
for his role in a string of bombings at tourist hotels in the 1990s.
The bombings killed an Italian tourist in 1997.
2011 Mar 22, US President
Barack Obama wrapped up a visit to Chile and departed for El
Salvador, the third and final stop of his Latin America tour. In El
Salvador Obama promised increasing trade and economic growth,
fighting drug trafficking and creating work opportunities. In 2012
it was reported that Secret Service employees took prostitutes to
their hotel rooms ahead of Obama’s visit to El Salvador.
(AFP, 3/22/11)(SFC, 3/23/11, p.A3)(SFC, 4/27/12,
2011 Mar 23, President Barack
Obama left El Salvador earlier than scheduled, cutting short a
Central American tour dominated by the US-led military action in
2011 Mar 25, El Salvador police
arrested Carlos Ernesto Teos Parada, a man accused of running a
human smuggling ring that transported some of the victims in the
massacre of 72 migrants in northern Mexico last August.
2011 Apr 11, In San Francisco
the annual Goldman Environmental prize was awarded 6 people from
around the world. The winners included Hilton Kelly for his efforts
to cut pollution in Port Arthur, Texas; Francisco Pineda for
resisting mining in El Salvador; Ursula Sladek of Germany for
creating for reducing her community’s reliance on nuclear power;
Prigi Arisandi for her efforts to protect Indonesia’s Surabaya
River; Dmitry Lisitsyn for his efforts to protect the Russia’s
Sakhalin island; and Raoul du Toit for defending wildlife in
(SFC, 4/11/11, p.A12)
2011 Apr 25, In El Salvador 3
suspected gang members climbed aboard a bus and shot television
cameraman Alfredo Hurtado (41) to death as he rode to work.
2011 May 2, In El Salvador Rene
Emilio Ponce (64), an army general and former defense minister
accused of ordering the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests and two
others during the country's civil war, died.
2011 May 27, The Salvadoran
army said it has arrested two officers and four soldiers for trying
to steal 1,812 hand grenades to sell to drug traffickers.
2011 May 30, A Spanish judge
indicted 20 Salvadorans for the November 16, 1989, slaying of six
Jesuit priests and two other people during the Central American
country's civil war.
2011 Jun 1, Salvadoran
President Mauricio Funes says his Central American country will
allow citizens living abroad to vote in the 2014 presidential
2011 Jun 22, In Guatemala the
World Bank unveiled a billion-dollar plan to fund security measures
in Central America, amid other hundred-million-dollar pledges from
donors bidding to cut a wave of drug gang-related violence sweeping
the region. The announcement came as leaders of Belize, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama attended the
Central American Security Conference aiming to curb crime fueled by
a spillover from Mexico's war on drug cartels.
2011 Jun 23, The Mexican army
discovered 117 migrants, mainly from Guatemala and El Salvador,
hidden inside a trailer truck in the southern state of Oaxaca.
2011 Jul 21, El Salvador’s
congress approved a ban on smoking in public places overriding a
veto by Pres. Mauricio Funes.
(SFC, 7/23/11, p.A2)
2011 Aug 8, In El Salvador 9
former soldiers and officials turned themselves over to a court
after being indicted in Spain in the 1989 killings of six Jesuit
priests and two other people during the Central American country's
civil war. A tenth suspect in the Spanish case has since died, and
10 other suspects have not been located.
2011 Aug 24, El Salvador's
Supreme Court refused to order the detention of nine former military
officers indicted in Spain for the 1989 slayings of six Jesuit
priests during the Central American country's 1980-1992 civil war.
Another ex-Salvadoran military officer charged in the case was freed
on bail while facing an immigration charge in Boston.
2011 Sep 15, The US White House
added Belize and El Salvador to its list of drug producing and
transit countries, placing for the first time all seven Central
American countries on the list.
(SFC, 9/16/11, p.A2)
2011 Oct 6, A United Nations
report said Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates
in the world. Honduras had 6,200 killings in 2010 out of a
population of 7.7 million people, while El Salvador with 6.1 million
people had 4,000 homicides.
2011 Oct 8, Palestinian leader
Mahmud Abbas arrived in El Salvador from the Dominican Republic on
the latest stop of a Latin American tour to round up support for UN
recognition of a Palestinian state. He was to meet with the local
Palestinian community later in the day ahead of a meeting the next
day with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes.
2011 Oct 20, Heavy rains
generated by a low-pressure system hammered Central America for 10
days. Mudslides and swollen rivers killed at least 105 people
including 38 in Guatemala, 34 in El Salvador, 15 in Honduras, 13 in
Nicaragua and 5 in Costa Rica.
2011 Dec 8, In El Salvador
Hector Silva (64), a Boston-born Salvadoran physician, died of a
heart attack. He had helped the Central American nation
recover from its 12-year civil war. In 1997 he became the first
leftist mayor of the capital following the civil war, earning a
reputation for moderation during six years in office.
2011 Dec 21, The US government
said it is suspending training for new Peace Corps volunteers in the
Central American nations of Guatemala and El Salvador while it
assesses security concerns. El Salvador has 113 volunteers, and
Guatemala, 222. It was also decided to pull all volunteers from
(AP, 12/21/11)(AP, 1/18/12)
2012 Jan 12, El Salvador's
government said it has received a formal request from Spain for the
extradition of 13 former military officers accused in the 1989
slayings of six Jesuit priests and two other people. Two other
officers were in the United States.
2012 Jan 13, El Salvador
President Mauricio Funes said an estimated 22,000 former rebel
combatants, now living in poverty, will finally get long-overdue
health care, pensions and other benefits. About 25,000 rebel
fighters are still alive and 87 percent live in poverty.
2012 Jan 16, El Salvador Pres.
Mauricio Funes apologized for the 1981 El Mozote massacre of 936
civilians in an army counterinsurgency operation. Funes also
commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1992 peace accords that put
an end to the country's 12-year civil war.
2012 Feb 2, El Salvador police
said they have found the bodies of four people inside black plastic
bags dumped separately in the town of Sonsonate. Among the victims
was former professional soccer player Ladislao Nerio, who had been
2012 Feb 11, It was reported
that a mysterious epidemic is devastating the Pacific coast of
Central America, killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and
Nicaragua since 2000 and striking thousands of others with chronic
kidney disease at rates unseen virtually anywhere else. Scientists
say they have received reports of the phenomenon as far north as
southern Mexico and as far south as Panama. Researchers suspected
chronic dehydration. Elsy Brizuela, a doctor who works with an El
Salvadoran project to treat workers and research the epidemic,
discounts the dehydration theory and insists "the common factor is
exposure to herbicides and poisons." In Nicaragua, the number of
annual deaths from chronic kidney disease more than doubled in a
decade, from 466 in 2000 to 1,047 in 2010. In El Salvador there was
a similar jump, from 1,282 in 2000 to 2,181 in 2010.
2012 Mar 11, El Salvador held
mid-term elections. The leftist party led by Pres. Mauricio Funes
lost four seats, leaving the conservatives as the biggest bloc in
2012 Mar 16, El Salvador's
government said it will be giving $50-per-month pensions to
thousands of elderly former leftist rebels who fought in the
country's 1980-1992 civil war.
2012 Mar 23, El Salvador’s El
Diario de Hoy newspaper reported that leaders of the Mara 18 and
Mara Salvatrucha gangs have reached a truce to reduce the country’s
homicide rate. The government of Pres. Mauricio Funes brokered the
truce between the Barrio18, led by Carlos Mojica Lechuga, and the
Mara Salvatrucha streets gangs.
(SFC, 3/24/12, p.A2)(Econ, 2/8/14, p.16)
2012 Apr 19, The US military
said 2 ethnic Uighur men from western China, held for almost a
decade without charge at Guantanamo Bay, have been resettled in El
(SFC, 4/20/12, p.A2)
2012 Jul 11, In El Salvador a
police investigator, wearing a ski mask to hide his identity, dug up
5 dead boys dead, the youngest 15, killed about 3 weeks earlier.
Police said an MS-13 recruiter had probably tried to persuade the
youths to join the group using the usual method: a big meal with
cake and soft drinks. When they resisted they were stabbed to death.
2013 Apr 17, US immigration
officials returned Wilber Alfredo Valle-Guerra (aka Santos
Lopez-Claudio) to El Salvador. Valle-Guerra (36), was arrested last
November in Sunnyvale, Ca., for taking part in shootings that killed
2 people in Ilobasco, El Salvador, in Nov., 2006.
(SSFC, 4/21/13, p.C12)
2013 May 30, El Salvador's
Health Minister approved the C-section for a 22-year-old woman
suffering from kidney failure and lupus, a day after the Supreme
Court ruled that she could not have an abortion despite her lawyers'
appeal that the pregnancy was life-threatening. Ultrasound images
indicated that her fetus was developing with only a brain stem and
was given no chance of surviving. The C-section was performed on
June 3. Her baby girl, born without a brain, died within hours.
(AP, 5/30/13)(AP, 6/3/13)(AP, 6/4/13)
2013 Jun 3, It was reported
that coffee leaf rust has devastated coffee plantations across
Central America and knocked half a million people out of work. Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were all severely
(SFC, 6/4/13, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/alqvfoc)
2013 Nov 14, In El Salvador
armed men broke into the offices of the Probusqueda Association for
Missing Children, a nonprofit agency that works to locate children
missing from the country’s civil war, and set fire to the group's
archives. Probusqueda said earlier this year that it had documented
at least a dozen cases of children stolen by members the military
during the 1980-92 war between the Salvadoran government and leftist
2013 Dec 29, El Salvador
authorities evacuated an area around the Chaparrastique volcano
after the peak shot a cloud of gas and ash about 3 miles (5 km) into
2014 Feb 2, El Salvador held
presidential elections. With 58% of the votes counted VP Salvador
Sanchez had a 49% lead over San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano of
ARENA with nearly 39%. A 2nd round was scheduled for March 9.
2/2/14)(SFC, 2/3/14, p.A3)
2014 Mar 9, El Salvador held a
2nd round of presidential elections. Former Marxist guerrilla leader
Salvador Sanchez Ceren (FMLN) was expected to win the presidency
after promising to expand social programs for the poor and fending
off his opponent's claims that he will impose radical policies. Mr.
Sanchez won by just 6,634 votes. In 2017 a gangster named Nalo
testified that politicians from the two main parties had paid
gangsters for votes. The FMLN allegedly paid $250,000 and Arena
$100,000, which the gangs spent on M-16s and AK-47s.
(Reuters, 3/9/14)(AP, 3/10/14)(Econ, 1/26/17,
2014 Mar 13, El Salvador’s
electoral court said Sanchez Ceren (69), the leftist candidate of
the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), won the
March 9 presidential election with 50.1% of the votes.
2014 Apr 25, A top El Salvador
official said Mara street gangs are arming themselves with
high-powered rifles and some gang members have tried to join the
army to get military training.
2014 Jun 1, In El Salvador
Sanchez Ceren (69) was sworn in as president.
(SFC, 6/2/14, p.A4)
2014 Jun 7, Arizona officials
said the US government has asked them to rush medical supplies to a
makeshift holding center housing hundreds of migrant children who
were sent to the state after crossing into the US from Mexico alone.
Jimena Díaz, consul general of Guatemala in Phoenix, visited the
center a day earlier and said about 250 children are from Guatemala,
with the rest coming from El Salvador and Honduras.
2014 Jul 2, The US government
launched a $1 million international media campaign warning families
in Central America that it's best to stay at home, following a surge
in illegal immigration. The message was aimed primarily at Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador.
2014 Jul 18, More than 40
Central American children were expelled from the United States on
flights to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as the US government
stepped up its deportation of illegal child migrants.
2014 Sep 5, Francisco Flores,
former president of El Salvador (1999-2004), surrendered to
authorities to face charges of embezzling and illicit enrichment
related to a donation by the government of Taiwan.
(SFC, 9/6/14, p.A2)
2014 Sep 19, Former El
Salvadoran president Francisco Flores, accused of embezzling $15
million donated by Taiwan while in office, was sent to prison after
the court revoked his house arrest.
2014 Oct 13, A magnitude 7.4
earthquake off the Pacific coast of El Salvador disrupted power to
several communities and claimed the life of one man who had been
sleeping on a street. The quake was part of a series of strong
temblors that rattled much of Central America.
2014 Nov 29, The Dallas Morning
News reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials
took Margarita Del Carmen Orellana Rivas (25) to El Salvador this
week where she's wanted on suspicion of aggravated murder and has
warrants accusing her of solicitation or conspiracy in other
2014 Dec 8, Poland said it has
decided to refuse a toxic waste shipment from a pesticide plant in
El Salvador that was to be destroyed at an incineration plant in a
southern town, after the local community in Dabrowa Gornicza raised
2014 In El Salvador the
homicide number for the year rose 57% to 3,912 as gangs fought over
territories to extort businesses and traffic drugs.
(SSFC, 1/4/15, p.A2)
2015 Feb 3, Pope Francis
approved a decree declaring slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero
a martyr for the church. The cleric, a defender of the poor and
vocal critic of the military, was shot dead in 1980 while
celebrating mass. Pope Francis said Romero was killed out of hatred
for his Catholic faith.
(AFP, 2/3/15)(SFC, 2/4/15, p.A5)
2015 Jan 17, In El Salvador
leaders of the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs agreed from their jail
cells to halt killing without any mediation.
(Econ, 1/31/15, p.29)
2015 Mar 11, The US Board of
Immigration Appeals in Washington, DC, found that Gen. Carlos
Eugenio Vides Casanova, a former defense minister of El Salvador,
can be deported for his role in the abuse and killing of civilians
during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s.
(SFC, 3/13/15, p.A5)
2015 Mar, El Salvador recorded
481 homicides this month, more than any other single month in a
2015 Apr 8, The US deported
former El Salvador defense minister Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides
Casanova after immigration courts found that he had participated in
torture and killings by troops under his command in the 1980s.
(SFC, 4/9/15, p.A2)
2015 Apr 18, In El Salvador at
least 9 members of the gang Barrio 18 were killed in a confrontation
with the army.
2015 May 15, In El Salvador say
14 people were killed dead and 10 others injured when a cargo truck
loaded with heavy machinery crashed into a pickup full of people
returning from a funeral.
2015 May 23, Salvadoran
archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 and whose
defense of the poor divided his nation and the Church, was beatified
at a ceremony attended by vast crowds in San Salvador.
2015 Jul 27, In El Salvador
street gangs called for a public transport boycott, ordering bus
drivers to stay off the roads. They killed five defiant drivers that
day and another a day earlier. A 7th driver was killed July 29 for
defying their campaign and force the government to recognize the
feared gangs. On July 28 police captured a suspected leader of a
gang called Barrio 18.
2015 Aug 2, In El Salvador six
incarcerated gang members escaped from jail after prying open the
bars of their cell.
2015 Aug 22, In El Salvador at
least 14 gang members held at a prison were killed in violence
authorities blamed on a conflict within a faction of the Barrio 18
2015 Sep 13, El Salvador police
discovered the bodies of Marcela Vargas (21) and her friend Liset on
the banks of a stream in the center of San Salvador. They had
disappeared nine days earlier and both were found tied up and
stabbed repeatedly. Murders in the country totaled some 4,930 for
the first nine on this of this year.
(Econ, 10/10/15, p.35)
2015 Nov 26, El Salvador's
Roman Catholic Church announced it has suspended a well-known
priest, saying he acknowledged sexually abusing a young girl.
Monsignor Jesus Delgado (77) was the vicar general of the
Archdiocese of San Salvador and was considered a close associate of
assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero.
2015 In El Salvador the number
of homicides reached an estimated 6,650 this year, from 3,912 the
year before. The killing of police officers nearly doubled to more
(Reuters, 1/21/16)(SFC, 4/14/16, p.A3)
2016 Jan 1, In El Salvador at
least 29 people were slain on the first day of the year. Local news
media estimated the number of killings in 2015 at well above 6,000.
2016 Jan 31, Francisco Flores
(56), El Salvador's former president (1999-2004), died following a
stroke and coma from which he never recovered. He faced a corruption
trial on charges of stealing $15 million donated by Taiwan for
victims of a 2001 earthquake.
2016 Feb 10, El Salvador's
Supreme Court ordered a lower tribunal to open a civil prosecution
against former Pres. Mauricio Funes (2009-2014) for possible illicit
2016 Feb 16, US authorities
said they have frozen the assets of two leaders of the notorious
MS-13 street gang based in Central America. The order freezes the US
assets of gang leaders Jose Roberto Orellana and Dany Balmore Romero
Garcia, and prohibits Americans from engaging in transactions with
2016 Apr 8, Authorities in El
Salvador raided the local offices of Panamanian law firm Mossack
Fonseca, seizing documents and equipment.
2016 Apr 12, In El Salvador 2
more police officers were slain as gangs continued to war with
police in response to a government crackdown that began last year.
15 officers have been killed so far this year.
(SFC, 4/14/16, p.A3)
2016 Apr 14, In El Salvador the
body of Julio Torres, the mayor of San Dionisio, was found a day
after he was reported missing in an area controlled by gangs.
(SFC, 4/15/16, p.A2)
2016 Apr 22, El Salvador’s
legislature approved a new law that would impose up to 15 years in
prison on anyone who negotiates with or offers benefits to street
(SFC, 4/23/16, p.A2)
2016 May 6, Prosecutors in El
Salvador announced they have arrested five police officers, 16
gunmen and a police administrative employee for allegedly killing
street gang member and others.
2016 May 27, The UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) said around 2.8 million people in
Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras need food aid after two
consecutive years of severe drought decimated crops and exacerbated
hunger among the poor due to prolonged dry spells since mid-2014,
linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon.
2016 Jun 9, El Salvador’s
Justice and Security Minister Mauricio Ramirez said that the
"extraordinary measures" El Salvador has employed "have managed to
reduce the crime rate by more than 50 percent."
2016 Jul 8, El Salvador
authorities said they have arrested five police officers and five
civilians for alleged ties to a death squad that killed as many as
40 gang members in the eastern part of the country. According to
prosecutors, a group of businesspeople, whose identities were not
released, had brought together national police in some towns to
offer them money in exchange for killing gang members.
2016 Jul 13, El Salvador’s
Supreme Court overturned a 1993 amnesty law that had protected
military, paramilitary and guerrilla fighters from facing justice
for abuses during the country’s 12-year civil war.
(SFC, 7/16/16, p.A4)
2016 Jul 23, In El Salvador
four inmates at a prison were murdered amid a fight between inmates,
members of the Barrio 18 gang, at a facility in the city of
2016 Jul 23, El Salvador's
president says he has begun talks with political parties on a new
"national reconciliation" law. Earlier this month, the country's
Supreme Court overturned an amnesty law enacted in 1993 covering
crimes committed during the country's 1980-1992 civil war.
2016 Oct 29, In El Salvador
Tony Saca, former president (2004-2009), was arrested on charges
ranging from money laundering to illicit enrichment. Six other
government officials from his time in office were also arrested as
part of the corruption probe.
(CSM, 10/31/16)(Econ, 1/21/17, p.26)
2016 Nov, El Salvador’s
government and right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena)
averted disaster by allowing the government to issue $550 million of
new debt in exchange for agreeing to a “fiscal responsibility law".
(Econ, 1/21/17, p.26)
2016 Oscar Martinez,
Salvadorean journalist, authored “A History of Violence: Living and
Dying in Central America."
(Econ, 4/23/16, p.72)
2016 In El Salvador murders
dropped more than 20 percent in 2016, though the rate of 81.2 for
every 100,000 residents kept the country among the world's
deadliest. There were at least 5,278 murders in 2016, down from
6,665 in 2015, when its murder rate hit 104 per 100,000 residents.
Security forces killed 591 gang members in confrontations that left
8 police officers and two soldiers dead.
(AP, 1/3/17)(Econ, 1/26/17, p.28)
2017 May 12, The UN called for
an investigation into crimes against sexual minorities following an
uptick in deadly violence against transgender women in El Salvador.
2017 Jun 22, A magnitude 6.8
earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala, damaging buildings and
downing trees as well as causing powerful tremors in neighboring El
Salvador. There were no reports of casualties.
2017 Jul 1, In Costa Rica a
5-hour power blackout affected some five million people. The power
outage plunged millions of people across Central America into
darkness, as authorities from Panama to Costa Rica to El Salvador
scrambled to restore electrical service. Authorities pinned blame
for the power outages on a downed Panamanian transmission line that
adversely affected the power supply for much of the region.
2017 Jul 27, Attorney General
Jeff Sessions flew to El Salvador seeking ways to stamp out the
brutal street gang MS-13. This trip was planned before Pres. Trump's
broadsides against his attorney general, and it remained to be seen
whether his work in El Salvador will help mend their fractured
2017 Aug 17, El Salvador and
Guatemala passed legislation that would outlaw marriage with minor
even in cases of parental consent or pregnancy.
(AP, 8/18/17)(SFC, 8/19/17, p.A2)
2017 Oct 5, Tropical Storm Nate
was blamed for at least 22 deaths in Central America as it dumped
rain across the region. The death toll soon climbed to at least 16
in Nicaragua, 10 in Costa Rica, two in Honduras and two in El
(SFC, 10/6/17, p.A4)(AFP, 10/7/17)(Reuters,
2017 Oct 28, Tropical Storm
Selma made landfall on the coast of El Salvador near the Central
American nation's capital, bringing strong winds, heavy rains and
dangerous ocean swells.
2017 Nov 29, Inocente Orlando
Montano Morales (76) arrived in Madrid following extradition from
the US to face charges that he helped plot the 1989 massacre of six
Jesuit priests and two others in El Salvador.
(SFC, 11/30/17, p.A2)
2017 Dec 13, In El Salvador the
Second Court of Appeal of San Salvador upheld a 30-year sentence for
Teodora Vasquez, who was convicted in 2008 of aggravated homicide in
the death of her child the previous year. Prosecutors said Vasquez
strangled the baby after birth. Her lawyers said she suffered health
complications and the baby was stillborn.
2018 Jan 8, US Homeland
Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the US has
determined that the effects of 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador are
no longer a hurdle to returning home, ending the temporary protected
status for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans in the US.