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El Salvador Government: Responsible for Clean Water, Decent Hospitals

El Salvador Asserts Government Responsibility for Clean Water, Decent Hospitals

June 23, 2021 (EIRNS)—Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele sent a draft Water Bill to the National Assembly on June 19, which declares affordable access to clean water to be a human right, which it is the government’s responsibility to secure. Given the fact that the government’s “New Ideas” party has a majority in the Assembly, the bill could pass within 90 days. The bill’s Article I asserts the crucial principle:

“Article 1. The human right to water and sanitation is the right of all people to have sufficient, healthy, safe, acceptable, clean water available to them, accessible in amount, quality, continuity and coverage at an affordable price.

“The State, in all its basic authorities and institutions of Government has the obligation and paramount responsibility to guarantee, without any discrimination whatsoever among persons, the effective enjoyment of the human right to potable water and sanitation for its population, for which purpose it must adopt all policies, legislation and measures which lead to the full realization of this right.”

It is no wonder that most Salvadorans are now more optimistic about their future than they have been for decades. The Bukele government at the same time is celebrating the arrival of enough new, modern hospital beds to replace 50% of the existing beds in the country’s public hospitals. Those new beds are already being distributed around the country. The other 50% of old beds will be replaced in the second phase. Pictures of the existing decrepit beds, many dating back to the 1950’s, are sickening. As President Bukele pointed out: these beds have been used during 10 governments—not counting the coups d’etat.


Honduran Mayors Explain Success in Appeal to El Salvador for Vaccines

Honduran Mayors Explain Their Successful Appeal to Neighboring El Salvador for Vaccines

Honduran Mayors Explain Their Successful Appeal to Neighboring El Salvador for Vaccines

May 27, 2021 (EIRNS) – A group of seven Honduran mayors from the poorest municipalities of that most impoverished of nations, recently requested of the President of neighboring El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, that he help them with anti-COVID vaccines. Bukele has made a point of obtaining at least some vaccines internationally, including from China, with whose government El Salvador signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018. Honduras, on the other hand, remains one of the few nations in the world that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and not with China, and has predictably not gotten any vaccines from the United States either.

President Bukele responded favorably to the request, met with the Honduran mayors, and donated 34,000 vaccines to their municipalities in mid-May. This was especially significant because El Salvador and Honduras have a long history of hostility, with territorial disputes, and even fought a short but bloody war in 1969, today known as the “Soccer War.” Bukele’s gesture in fact falls in the domain of the kind of solutions to problems proposed by the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites. The Schiller Institute’s José Vega interviewed two of the seven mayors about the situation in Honduras and their successful appeal to Salvadoran President Bukele. We present here excerpts from a May 16 conversation with Amable de Jesús Hernández, Mayor of San José Colinas, and a May 24 discussion with David Castro, mayor of Cedros. (A video of the interview with Mayor de Jesús can be found here.)

Mayor Amable de Jesús Hernández:

“I think that only with solidarity, with humanitarian actions, with exchanges and mutual cooperation among countries, peoples, neighbors, families, institutions, among all of us, will we be able to defeat this pandemic. There’s no other way to be able to do it. This has overwhelmed human capabilities, it has exceeded the capabilities of even the most formidable health systems of the world, and it has collapsed them.

“The only way to deal with this is with solidarity. And I think that’s what Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele has done with us, from the poor, C-category municipalities of Honduras. Because it was an act of humanity, of solidarity, of brotherhood, of altruism and comradery, which doubtless strengthens the relationship of our peoples, and it promotes solidarity. There’s no question that this has to be an example for other countries to do the same, to share vaccines, which is what is needed right away to be able to vaccinate the population and defeat this pandemic. It’s the only way…

“Because governments should have an agenda which allows for the development of the people. And as you said, all of the policies of the International Monetary Fund are out to make sure there are no investments in health: the more collapsed the health system in the country is, the better.

“And that’s exactly what the pandemic has laid bare: the humanitarian catastrophe that is reflected in the hundreds of children, men, women, elderly and adults who leave, every single day, on route to the American dream. This is caused precisely by this same model that has been imposed on us.

“So many conditionalities have been imposed on our states, that they’ve pretty much wanted to direct the entire policy of these governments from Washington, or from the offices of the IMF. And logically that has led to the entire institutional collapse that has now sunk those countries in the worst misery…

“We have to globalize solidarity; we have to globalize humanism; we have to globalize brotherhood. This gesture with us by President Bukele created what has to be seen as a gesture to be imitated by many governments in the world, so that we can come out on top of the pandemic.”

Mayor David Castro:

“The vaccine situation has infuriated all of the municipal governments… We’re watching how people have been dying in our municipalities, and we couldn’t bear to sit by and do nothing. We saw the reports that El Salvador is leading the vaccination drive in Latin America. One day I was in my office, and I told my secretary, let’s write an official letter to send it to El Salvador to request a meeting with President Bukele. The government of El Salvador answered us: `We’re going to help you.’

Mayor Castro recounted that the seven mayors were received by President Bukele. “He began by saying the following: Dear mayors, make yourselves at home. I’m not speaking with you as President, but as a mayor, since I was a mayor as well. I’d like to talk as friends… I don’t know why borders exist; borders should be imaginary, but they should never exist in our hearts.”

Mayor Castro told President Bukele that what he was doing was helping to save Honduras, to which Bukele responded: “Look, David, sometimes we plant trees and we don’t know who is going to enjoy their shade. Today we are planting a tree, which is the tree of brotherhood in Central America and hopefully tomorrow that tree will provide shade to all five countries of Central America.”

Asked by the interviewer if his constituents backed his efforts, Castro stated: “Not only my constituents. The entire nation turned out to support us. The whole country. Not just the seven municipalities, but all 290 municipalities… they backed us 100%.”

“The population of Cedros is 28,500; they gave us 4,760 doses. My dream is to vaccinate 50% of the population; that’s about another 14,000 doses. That would be a lesson for all the municipalities, that it can be done…

“Regarding the youth: like El Salvador, we have the problem of the Maras gang, which is a well-known scourge… There are also a lot of migrants who go from our country to the U.S. If we were to help those people directly in their communities, they wouldn’t have to emigrate.”


Facing U.S. Sanctions Threat, El Salvador Turns to China and Russia for Support For Its Sovereign Development

May 20, 2021—All over the world, nations are beginning to recognize that an alternative to the dying Old Order of geopolitics, colonialism, and usury is coming into being, with sovereign nations joining together for mutual development. Central America is no exception to this process.

“We are very enthusiastic about strengthening the relationship with Russia, we are facing a world with new challenges and opportunities, and we want to take advantage of those opportunities,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele told Russian Ambassador Alexander Khokholikov yesterday, in receiving the new Ambassador’s credentials. Bukele noted that El Salvador recognizes “the importance of Russia in the world.” Khokholikov responded in the same spirit, assuring him that the Russian government also wishes to increase cooperation. “We are going to work bilaterally and multilaterally,” he said, “because that is how it should be to maximize mutual benefit, both of Russia and El Salvador.”

Today China’s Embassy in El Salvador issued an important communiqué, reiterating that the agreement signed with El Salvador for China to oversee the construction of four development projects requested by the Salvadoran government spells out that China is covering the costs of the projects. President Bukele immediately posted the communiqué to his Twitter, much followed by others in the region, as well as Salvadorans at home and abroad.  

The Biden administration, which has supplied neither vaccines nor economic development aid to the region, is publicly threatening to overthrow the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras if they break with the old order.

This is being done in the name of “fighting corruption” in Central America. The State Department included in its list of corrupt officials in those countries which it released on Tuesday, for example, two top Bukele administration officials: the President’s Chief of Cabinet, Carolina Recinos, and Minister of Security and Justice Rogelio Rivas. The charges are preposterous: Recinos is accused of engaging in “significant acts of corruption during her term in office” (no further details), while Rivas’s alleged “significant acts of corruption” were supposedly that he “awarded his own private construction company several noncompetitive and unadvertised contracts to build police stations and other buildings that fall under his official capacity and inflated the cost of materials.”

American Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres, head of the Central American Caucus in the House of Representatives and a close ally of Vice President Kamala Harris, proclaimed on Tuesday as she released the list: “I will be relentless in demanding accountability from our government – if we know someone is corrupt, I expect our government to use all levers at our disposal, including sanctions, visa restrictions, withholding support to deter future acts of corruption, and dismantling the systems that allow corruption to occur.”


Brotherhood Over Geopolitics: El Salvador and Honduras Set an Example

Brotherhood Over Geopolitics: El Salvador and Honduras Set an Example –

May 14, 2021 (EIRNS)–Last weekend, seven Honduran Mayors petitioned the president of neighboring El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, to send anti-Covid-19 vaccines to their municipalities, because their people are dying. El Salvador has the highest rate of vaccination in Central America (10%), because President Bukele made getting vaccines a priority early, including from China, which donated 150,000 doses on top of two million doses contracted. Honduras, however, has been able to vaccinate 0.56% of its 10 million people, most with only one shot, and whether needed second doses will arrive in time is in still in doubt.

The Honduran mayors were immediately invited to El Salvador to meet with Bukele, the Health Minister and others. Less than two days after their visit, early on Thursday morning, seven, big, blue trucks marked “COVID-19 Vaccine” left San Salvador and headed to Honduras, carrying 34,000 vaccine doses—donated. Salvadoran officials decided that despite their own needs, because they have doses contracted in their pipeline, they should help out their neighbors.

From the moment the convoy of trucks and police escort crossed into Honduras, to when each truck arrived in its designated municipality, crowds were gathered along their route. People cheered, waved the flags of both countries and signs saying “Thank you President Bukele!,” as passing vehicles honked approval. When one truck arrived after dark at its final destination, it was met by people lining the street, waiting to shake the hand of the drivers; visibly moved, the Salvadoran drivers slowed way down to shake as many as they could. In another town, a Honduran doctor videotaped a message of thanks to President Bukele in front of a hospital. One mayor gave a lovely speech hailing this act of friendship as a step towards restoring the single Central American nation which had existed for a short time after Independence.

The Honduran Foreign Ministry tweeted when the decision was announced on May 11:
“The donation of 34,000 vaccines doses announced today in San Salvador shows that it is possible to put health before geopolitics, and that there is no deadlock where there is brotherhood. In the name of Honduras: many thanks to our brothers. We appreciate the support and reciprocity which we have received from El Salvador and other countries to help obtain vaccines which otherwise have been denied to Honduras because of the politicization of the pandemic.” 

Honduras is now taking steps at various levels of government to establish some ties with China. Honduras still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which–like its protector, the United States–has not made any vaccines available. The Association of Honduran Mayors (AMHON) sent a letter this week to President Bukele in the name of all the country’s 298 municipalities, requesting that El Salvador help them with contacts and procedures so that Honduras can purchase vaccines from China. The Honduran National Congress passed a motion yesterday calling on the Executive Branch to secure anti-COVID vaccines from vaccine-producing nations such as Russia, China, India, Cuba “and even [!] the United States,” specifying that a trade office be established in China, “among other countries,” in order to facilitate this work.