Saturday, August 15, 2009

Funes' honeymoon will be challenged by the economy

Seventy-five days into the administration of Mauricio Funes, he is still enjoying a honeymoon with the Salvadoran public. A recent poll by the CID-Gallup organization reports that Mauricio Funes enjoys a favorable rating by 86% of Salvadorans -- a rating which is the highest of any government in Central America for the past 10 years according to Univsion . Even 68% of ARENA party members have a favorable opinion of Funes.

As an essay at the digital periodical ContraPunto points out, the challenge for Funes to keep these high approval ratings will be dealing witht the country's economic crisis. Poverty increased from 2007 to 2008 so that now 40% of Salvadoran families live in poverty or extreme poverty. Unemployment and under-employment is also in the range of 40% at the same time that fewer dollars are flowing back into the country as family remittances.

Funes has announced a Global Anti-crisis Plan which involves spending $587 million designated to improve some 25,000 houses, support of agriculture and the generation of jobs. To support this project, El Salvador has a loan from the World Bank for $250 million, of which $100 million is for social spending and the rest is for the generation of jobs, improving the condition of rural homes, and improving management in the public sector.

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