Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten years of blogging

Today, November 17, 2014, is the 10th anniversary of this blog.

It's appropriate that I am in El Salvador as I begin writing this post.   I realize that a great many of the topics which have filled the pages of this blog have been present in the past 10 days I spent in the country.

I participated in events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the massacre of the 6 Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter.   It's one of many anniversaries of massacres I have blogged about, and all of those persons who gave the orders for those massacres have never faced any form of judgment.   Impunity is a word I have used often in this blog.

Another ongoing blog theme is migration. I casually talked yesterday in English with men who had been deported from the US after living there for many years.  I heard the stories of the center where El Salvador processes children deported from Mexico.   I passed by many "remittance houses" built with money coming from the US and elsewhere.

The relationship between El Salvador and the US where 2 million Salvadorans live influences many topics.  I traveled this week on the northern longitudinal highway built with United States funds from the first Millennium Challenge Compact grant and traveled on the southern coastal highway which is soon to be improved with millions of dollars from the second Millennium grant.

I spent time with a community which had recently evacuated following the December 29, 2013 explosion of the Chaparrastique volcano, one of many natural disasters I have covered on the blog, and I visited a coffee finca where I learned their hopes for improved future harvests after the impact of the coffee rot called "la roya."

Wherever I traveled, the gang tags, the armed private security, the patrolling military, and the heavily armed police were a constant reminder of the scourge of killing and violence sponsored by El Salvador's warring gangs and others.   I wish it were not the topic I have written about more than any other.

I spoke with a participant in discussions with the Minister of Public Security about whether there could be a process of dialogue with the gangs after the collapse of the 2012 gang truce.  (He reportedly said there could not be bilateral discussions between the gangs and the government, but did not rule out a process facilitated by churches in which all segments of society participate).

Campaign signs with the faces of candidates for the National Assembly are a constant reminder of the next set of elections in 2015 which I am writing about on the blog.   The high point of readership on the blog over the past ten years was the 2009 election of El Salvador's first president from the left, Mauricio Funes.

And high in the northern mountains of Chalatenango where I could look towards the south and Lake Suchitlan and the volcanoes of San Vicente, Gauzapa and San Salvador, I continued to marvel at the natural beauty of this tiny country and how many tourists could be attracted here if they were not so afraid to come.

After 10 years and 2181 posts, my purpose in writing the blog continues to be the same as when I started.   I try to be a source of quality information about El Salvador for an English-speaking audience.    I hope I have been that source for some of you.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of the many people who have contributed to my understanding of El Salvador over the years.   Thanks to Carlos, Gene, Ernesto, Danielle, Omar, Mike, Boz, David, Teddy, Larry, John, Bethany and all the many others who have e-mailed or commented over the years.

The author and some new friends


Tom said...

This is an amazing anniversary and you are an amazing person. I've been pleased to be following you for almost the whole time. Thank you so much for your dedication to getting the news out and for your love of the Salvadoran people.

Marcos Guirola said...

Hello there. i have been reading your blog for more than 3 yrs now. I am a Native from ESA. I received a higher education than most Salvadorians. I work in the Tourism industry, mostly with english speaking visiting ESA and I have agreed with Tims postures in most of his topics. It feels good to know ESA is cared for. Tim, please Keep blogging another 10 more yrs.

Melissa said...

Thank you for all your blogging Tim!

Jen said...

Thanks for blogging! I lived in El Sal from 2012-2014 (moved back this summer) and your blog is one of the few English sites with information about the country. It was especially useful during the presidential elections. Thank you!

Bethany Loberg said...

Felicidades :D You have incredible blogging discipline and your blog and analysis just keeps getting better! And thanks for the shout out!

Robert said...

Thanks Tim! When we were considering a move to ES in the Spring of '13, this blog was very helpful in making that decision. Now into year two, and looking forward to more, we have not regretted it. Your election coverage was key to my understanding. I have also just visited the museum at UCA. You helped me understand that, too.

Carlos X said...

Tim's Blog is on my browser favorites list of every computer and smart device I own and have owned for the past few years and I always recommend it, and rely on it for my work. Big thanks and congratulations on 10 years.