Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What Salvadoran bloggers are saying -- death squads and golf courses

The brutal killing on September 25th of Salvadoran Catholic priest, Ricardo Antonio Romero, has prompted much comment in the Salvadoran blogosphere. Fr. Romero's body was found bludgeoned to death on a roadway 40 miles west of San Salvador. The slaying was added to the daily murder tally(es) at 100 Days in the Republic of Death.

The blogger Hunnapuh notes that there are two operative theories(es) about the motives for the slaying of the priest. Either he was killed by gangs operating in the region, or he was killed by a death squad because of his work in solidarity with the poor in the region of his parish. Hunnapuh sounds a note of alarm, admonishing those who would dismiss the possibility that "escuadrones de la muerte", backed by wealthy interests, have returned to El Salvador.

Tepezcuintly, who also blogs with Hunnapuh, has no doubt(es) about the return of death squads and who is backing them. Along with similar blogs, he heaps scorn and hatred on the ARENA government and President Tony Saca. His comments are mirrored on blogs like Chichicaste(es), El Trompudo(es), and Samuel's Blog(es), which are virulently anti-government and anti-American and make their points with satire and parody.

The cutting down of trees at the El Espino estate close to San Salvador has prompted several bloggers to comment. El Espino has one of the largest blocks of forest close to the capital city, and trees are being felled to make way for a highway, a golf course and shopping centers. Aldebarán finds that this situation shows that Salvadoran society lacks a common vision(es) of what is meant by "development." He fears that a consumption-based view of development is driving such projects without any concern for sustainability or environmental impact. Picking up that theme, Ligia at Que Joder writes that development which focuses on road-building(es) does nothing for the vast majority of Salvadorans who have no car to use the highways to get to the shopping centers (much less play golf).

In what appears to be a partial response to the outcry, the government plans to acquire a sizable block of the El Espino forest and dedicate it as a permanent preserve. But El Visitador predicts bad results(es) from the government plan. He scorns the idea that the government could do so in a competent fashion (his regular theme is a preference for private enterprise and free markets to act) and foresees the preserve being overrun with squatters and environmental degradation following.

The Spanish language Salvadoran blogosphere has expanded greatly in the past year. Soy Salvadoreño shows some of the growth in his running commentary on Salvadoran blogs(es). The Hunnapuh collaborative blog(es) has a lengthy list of Salvadoran blogs in its right hand column.

Also posted at Global Voices Online.


Anonymous said...

I am a member of the golf club where they are trying to bild the golf course. What people don't understand is that there will be more trees after the project is finished than the current amount. A good golf course has lush healthy trees, therefore course is designed around old and big trees. Most of the trees being cut down are coffe plants. There can't be much of an environmental issue there. I would have to say that besides leaving the land in its current state, the best thing that can happen there is building the golf course, since it ensures that the area will remain a green area with lots of trees and a place where many animals will live. Animals do live on golf courses. I played a course in Malaysia with hundreds of monkeys.

Salvadoran bloggers are ignorant abot how a golf course is constructed and maintained, and their main objection boils from their contempt of the rich, not because they hate golf courses. I also can't believe bloggers say that death squads are back. We are not at war anymore, and there aren't guerrilla enemies that the priest could be harboring. There are no reasons that ARENA people would kill him. It seems as though yor blog is compltetely biased, and I don't think you should encorage more of a rift between the righ and the left. Just so you know, I am not an ARENA or FMLN supporter, since I feel they are both too extreme. I do think, however, that FMLN is providing funding to those to cause disruptions, such as the shootings at the national university.

Anonymous said...

To the previous comment: I would tend to disagree on a few comments you made, starting with the fact that Salvadoran bloggers are not ignorant, I believe they are not ignorant of the reality surrounding them, a reality that may differ of someone who has the opportunity to play golf in Malaysia and in El Salvador, maybe they do not share the same membership to the club, but why don't you invite them to play a course, they may become interested and understand your point of view. Bottom line, they are aware of a reality and they have education, do not underestimate people.
I have been reading the blogs and there are interesting posts; I concur with you as to some of them may lack a sound research, perhaps some style may be required, but at the end they are informative. Remember the old saying: "cuando el rio suena, es porque piedras trae". Maybe there is indeed a can of worms being opened.
Regarding their comments about death squads and guerrilla, the catch there is to understand that there was a terrible past from which we must learn and prevent it to happen again. Of course, there were crimes on both sides: kidnapping, extortion, destruction of public assets (thus, affecting population), in addition to death squads and repression to freedom of speech. You cannot deny the fact that there was a social problem and the war was the reaction to it.
It seems that BOTH extremes are providing enough funding to the recent disruptions: FMLN for having in their lines people willing to use weapons instead of dialog, and ARENA for not being proactive enough to plan, motivate and educate to serve the population. And, in addition to that, there is a social phenomenon described in the last post of the blog “Altas Horas de La Noche”, where it quotes the analysis of a professional that says “…people (of El Salvador) live in an eternal present, dealing with the day to day to survive…” ...sounds familiar?, well, in business world you may have experience similar situations, everyone focusing on putting off fires and not focusing on planning and preventing, one of the many conclusions there would be that our population needs educations, claims education, to exit the darkness and pave a road to their future, much in the way in which Singapore, Costa Rica, and other countries did it.
Instead of improving, our country is turning into a Frankenstein, patches here and patches there, but at the end of the day you get the same monster.
Enjoy your golf!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

this man IS ignorant
My Dad designed, and built golf courses for 45 years, they ruin the land with the chemicals, but in USA there is lots of land, not in ES

as here on the coast in the Carolinas, the waters are polluted, no more oysters or shrimp and fish, which the small fish hatch in the estuaries l mainly due to the massive amount of chemicals put on these courses. 130 here in Myrtle Beach alone, and the development that comes with the runoff and more chemicals put on manicured and tended lawns
true lots of residual chemicals from cafe, but they[coffee trees] could be cut and this should be a planned park, with better flora and fauna

NOT A GOLF COURSE this close to San Sal, a new course would be good,for some tourism, but in another area