Saturday, March 31, 2007

The US Embassy in El Salvador

There is little doubt about the enormous influence which the United States has in El Salvador. Presidents of El Salvador have been regular visitors to the White House. The US is the largest exporter to El Salvador and is El Salvador's largest market. US-based franchises such as Pizza Hut, Sherwin Williams, Coca-Cola and Tony Roma appear in commercial districts. Television shows and movies made in the US dubbed into Spanish are on the airwaves and in the stalls of pirated DVD vendors. Salvadorans in the US, both documented and undocumented, send home more than $2 billion, representing one sixth of the Salvadoran economy. Salvadoran troops fight in the US war in Iraq.

As a consequence, the activities of the US Embassy in El Salvador and its new Ambassador, Charles Glazer have tremendous significance in the country, both real and symbolic. And somewhat to my surprise, I've come to learn that some of the staff at the embassy are among the readers of this blog. So they told me when I met with embassy officials on my recent visit to El Salvador.

Ambassador Glazer joined that meeting part way through. In our conversation, the ambassador expressed the view that his role is to promote economic progress and democracy as part of US foreign policy. In that role his top focus is currently the problem of crime in the country. The Ambassador then asked me for my advice on what he should be doing. I replied that the US must be seen as part of the solution to the major problems of crime and corruption in the country.

Some information about the US Embassy and its activities in El Salvador is available on its website. The section of the website devoted to USAID in El Salvador is new and improved. The US State Department reports relating to drug trafficking, human rights, religious freedom and human trafficking can be found on the front page of the Embassy website.

Today the website highlights the visit to El Salvador US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt. Secretary Leavitt was in El Salvador to promote components of President Bush's new Latin America initiatives:

The Secretary’s overarching strategy for the health diplomacy component of the President’s initiative in the Americas centers on three key objectives:
  • Direct patient care provided in the region by U.S. Government personnel -- Beginning this summer, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps dentists from HHS will join U.S. Southern Command military medical and humanitarian missions to provide preventive dental care to needy citizens of these countries. The U.S.N.S Comfort -- a Navy medical ship – will make port calls in 12 countries, and its doctors, nurses, and health care professionals, including from the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, expect to treat 85,000 patients -- and conduct up to 1,500 surgeries. These missions will be mutually beneficial, as they will serve as an opportunity for U.S. government personnel to hone their skills in providing culturally competent care domestically and abroad.

  • Establishment of a Regional Training Center in Panama to train health care workers – Starting next month, the school will train a broad variety of local health-care workers -- community health workers, sub-physicians, sub-nurses, technicians -- so they can provide basic care. The training will also help them prepare for situations that could require specific skills related to infectious disease, such as pandemic influenza.

  • Harnessing the energies of U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that work in the region to coordinate health assistance -- By better coordinating on-the-ground delivery of health care with U.S. NGOs that are operating in the region, we can do a better job of making the most of the resources we have to devote to this mission.

13 comments:

POLYCARPIO said...

Did you get any inkling on where the Embassy stands on the recent Robert White controversy? I wonder if they would be institutionally inclined to stand by a diplomatic colleague of the same institution, or whether comity would incline them towards the host government. I mean, this could set a precedent for a future FMLN government saying that Barclay was a fascist or somesuch, I would think there would be an institutional interest, especially among career diplomats, to exert the independence of the embassy from political tides. Any off-the-record hints along those lines?

Tim said...

I'm afraid not. My visit to the embassy was the day before the remarks made by Robert White. It certainly would have made an interesting subject for discussion.

gapgirl said...

ES and US :no doubt theirs is a cozy relationship.A real give and take .Where one affirms the other and the other benefits .
Hopefully, both can be nourished in that environment where problems seem to overwhelm more than the amount of solutions available.
It will be interesting to watch how this enormous influence the US has in ES can make El Salvador realize all its potential to be clearly translated into political stability and economic prosperity.

Anonymous said...

"US has in ES can make El Salvador realize all its potential to be clearly translated into political stability and economic prosperity."

What a jest. The last time US helped ES realize all its potential, the country ended up dragging a 12 year civil war. Me I'd rather have USA and embassy play a role akin to Marvel's the Watchers will all their "observe the entire universe but don't interfere", at least not on the hostile, destructive, menacing way it is more prone to doing (USA embassies and bases all over the world already "watch"/spy). Just look at the legacy, Latin American a narcotraffic cesspool with Colombia fighting a 30 year old war, and just about every other LAcountry remaining in the feudal period )thanks to the destruction of popular revolts in favor of US transnationals, US interest of keeping the region like a warehouse to extract any resource it can). I really hope this new embassador doesn't interfere with the national politics, and why not? I hope he takes one step further and reprimands those officials that do. But one can only hope, US mo is to give 100% support to the mafia governments (protect the conmen, drugdealers,money launderers, etc., like Francisco Flores and Alfredo Cristiani). So hey, I'm pretty sure Glazer won't change a thing mantaining my belief that Robert White will always be about the best US representation we will ever had (even when he was involved in Operation Condor, at least with him I am sure he was sincere when he "changed" when the six nuns were killed, it became personal).

El-Visitador said...

"The last time US helped ES realize all its potential, the country ended up dragging a 12 year civil war. "

Well, that's your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

Some of us think the lifeline we got is what saved us from Nicaragua's destiny, or worse.

Anonymous said...

Nicaraguas destiny? Which one? Of having all those useful fools Contras destroy any possible change financed by USA and the narcotrafficking network it helped set up? And where are those ex-Contras now anyway? Forgotten by the same folks they served, just like it appeared in the national media about our own civil war veterans... they were used "mal paga el diablo a quien bien le sirve".

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N14328805.htm

Hahaha, them Contras (death squads, terrorists, rightist useful fools), were completely fooled and discarded. And now Nicaragua is as poor as ever, and look Ortega was reelected president... if his term was the suck, then why the blazes was he ever reelected? Too bad he was reelected to late when the rightist pigs like Arnoldo Aleman have gone ahead with their Somozismo sin Somoza and pillaged that country (with Nicaraguans just like Salvadorans migrating just about anywhere to send remesas, from Costa Rica to USA).

by the way, seeing how our useful fools... sorry our "troops" during the civil war DID the dirty work for the oligarchy but most importantly to USA whom funneled millions upon millions in military aid (which the oligarchy and generals decided to steal lots of),to the useful fools so they could keep on the killing... I'd like to extend Ortega's invitation to Bush. Please Mr. Bush, aid our troops those that served your country reeeeeally well back in the 80s (I'm sure the Pentagon is proud with the job, with the Salvador Option and all), your henchmen from ARENA always preffer to neglect folks so please take their place in helping our veterans out.

Btw, really. Tell me, the Nicaraguan people, the ex-contras where that "lifeline" is cause we just don't see it... or is it just that Arnoldo Aleman and those like him needed it more than the majority of the population and have it stashed in the fincas?

Now if you'll excuse me... I gotta go snort me some CIA approved, Cuban Mafia-oligarchy smuggled, 100% Colombian grown co-... coffee.

*SNORT*

Anonymous said...

Btw, visitador... do you really want to know what the lifeline of this country is?

R-E-M-E-S-A-S.

Without those 2 billion a year (and only God, the CIA, FBI, and all those devils of the same kind, how many billions are laundered yearly passing as remittances), there would be plenty empty stomachs, and this country would be seeing an another uprising more sooner than later. Now THAT is the lifeline, being able to support the country FROM OUTSIDE preventing the country from imploding (specially considering how many youths migrate or turn to gangs instead of going "hey I'll be an anarcho-communist nihilist and unleash a revolution upon the system").

HODAD26 said...

i LOVE THE REPLIES BY THE 'ANONYMOUS' RECENTLY
AND visiatdor
YOU SHOULD NOT EVEN POST AS YOU ARE JUST BELAYING YOUR IGNORANCE AND UNINFORMED RHETORIC, BUT THEN I ALWAYS ATTESTED YOU WERE/ARE JUST A cia MOUTHPIECE
get a grip and tape the motuh, as you have NO idea

Tim said...

C'mon, HODAD, play by the rules. Critique E-V's ideas, but eliminate the name-calling. It doesn't help the discussion.

(and turn off your CAPS LOCK key)

HODAD26 said...

sorry, you are correct, passions clouded my judgement
i just cannot tolerate those CIA types too many bad memories
i wil just keep silent, as i will just act from now on
got fishermen wanting to work anyway, not talk,
Peace to all

Anonymous said...

IN other words,
Play catchup to Chavez influence over the last 10 years.

EL SAL AND GUATE NEXT!!!!woot!

and yes this is another ANONymous.

REMESAS are the influence.
Withouth them el sal would SINK.

Thats why Saca has troops in Iraq, in order to get TPS breaks from Bush.

They rub eachothers backs.
One pimp to another.
To whore the pueblo out.

Anonymous said...

"'The last time US helped ES realize all its potential, the country ended up dragging a 12 year civil war. '

Well, that's your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

Some of us think the lifeline we got is what saved us from Nicaragua's destiny, or worse."

Interesting.
Considering the fact that the U.S. govt. donated an average of $1.5 million dollars a day to the Salvadoran govt. just between 1980 and 1984 to help fight the guerillas- that is to say, train soldiers and death squads to use atrocious forms of torture and brutally murder thousands of innocent poor people who were mislabled as communists (ever heard of the masacre at El Mozote, for one?)- I would say that our government owes them at least a little something. However, the fact that we won't even shut down the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly SOA, tells me that our government gives jack and crap about reciprocity, much less justice. And anybody who thinks that the U.S. was in actual danger of becoming a communist country, after all of our foolish,inhumane, brutish power plays that show that we will do anything to stay on top, needs an awakening.

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