This is the first in a new series of biweekly articles I am writing for Global Voices and which I will also post here. Every two weeks I'll take a look at what you can find in the Salvadoran "blogosphere."
The universe of Salvadoran blogs is fairly young. One of the best established blogs based in El Salvador is Hunnapuh which just enjoyed its one year anniversary. The Soy Salvadoreno blog celebrates the one year anniversary of Hunnapuh as part of its own ongoing review of the Salvadoran blogosphere. Recently Hunnapuh has had a three part series questioning the safety of school transportation in El Salvador in which private, unregulated micro-buses take children to and from school.
Crime, violence and the National Police (PNC) are an ongoing topic for Salvadoran bloggers. There is a new head of the National Police, who has a very high approval rating as Salvadorans hope he can control crime, but Salvadoran bloggers are not so sure. Salvador Canjura at Tierra de Collares wrties about a police operation in a neighborhood plagued by gangs. The reports of the police operation from the citizens in the community and from the police are markedly different. Hunnapuh points out that a new plan to reassign police to areas with highest crime risks will simply leave other areas in dangers.
El Salvador is in a political season leading up to elections on March 12, with the major parties in a virtual tie in the race for seats in the National Assembly and mayoral seats. Blogger Rebeca complains that mass media is filled with favorable news stories about president Tony Saca, while the country is in a wave of violence. She also points to ARENA efforts to use fear of the ex-guerilla FMLN party as a campaign weapon. ARENA emphasizes the very popular Tony Saca in its ads while the FMLN is using the image of its recently deceased historic leader Schafik Handal.
The rhetoric of the governing party has led to political satire including this quote on the El Salvador o algo por el estilo blog:
The debt that I am leaving the country isn't external debt, it's eternal debt, signed Tony [Saca, president of El Salvador]Former Peace Corps volunteer Marie reflected on differences in ordinary life between Chicago and El Salvador. For example, she notes that it is nice not to have to check your bags at the security desk as you go into every store, or to have to remember to avoid placing toilet paper in the bowl. Soy Salvadoreno picked up Marie's comments and noted it takes the perspective of an outsider to help point out that some things which are undesirable or unhygienic have come to be so commonly accepted in El Salvador.