Since the end of the 12 year Salvadoran Civil War between the Salvadoran military government and the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in 1992, El Salvador has been locked in a two party system.
Whenever reports of misogyny hit the front page, it is likely that readers first think of discrimination in the workplace or, in its form that yields the most tragic results, femicide. Of course, Latin America is far from absent of femicide; Guatemala is the country with the third highest rate of femicide on the planet. Between 2014 and 2016, there were 2,264 violent deaths of women in the country, and of those, 611 cases were reported as femicide (Johnson 2018).
On Thursday, January 10 at 10:00 a.m., controversial leftist leader Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second 6-year term as President of Venezuela despite deteriorating economic and political conditions throughout the country. Although Maduro’s inauguration crowd was undeniably more sparse than in the past, a few leaders and foreign dignitaries made a point to make an appearance and show their support for the regime in spite of widespread international criticism.
Whether or not he knew it, just before being assassinated while delivering mass in the Chapel of the Hospital de la Divina Providencia in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero uttered the words that would act as a rallying cry for his supporters: “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. … A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish” (Sandoval 2018).
As Latino people comprise an increasing proportion of the United States population, it is more and more pressing that non-Latino people understand who these people are, where they come from, and what role they play in our modern society. Latinos make up the largest minority group in the U.S. at around 58 million people, or 18% of the country’s population.
January of this year, President Trump enacted a new policy that ended the Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans and 88,000 Hondurans that had been living in the United States for almost twenty years. Both countries originally received TPS following natural disasters at the start of the twenty-first century. Honduras was hit by a devastating hurricane in 1999 and El Salvador suffered from several major earthquakes in 2001.
In 1997, El Salvador’s Congress made a motion to criminalise abortion, with legislators finalizing their decision without opening the case for public debate or consulting any medical professionals. The campaign was headed by a number of anti-choice groups backed by the Catholic church, and the opposition, which took the form of a few women’s rights activists, was literally silenced when their microphones were disconnected during the trial (Lakhani 2017).
Out of the 25 countries in the world with the highest rates of violence against women in the world, 14 of them are in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN Women). Of the top 10 countries considered to be the most dangerous for females, 7 are in Latin America (UN Women). These disturbing statistics have led people to question what exactly it is about Latin America that makes it so prone to this form of violence—and what, if anything, can be done to change this pattern.