May 22, 2020
by Mangrove Association Board of Directors

Challenges Faced by El Salvador Due to COVID-19

Power Struggle

There is a struggle for power in our country. For example, the executive body, via the president, is taking actions that are the responsibility of the judicial or legislative body. The human rights of the population have been violated in this conflict, and international organizations are losing confidence in our country. The following are some of the actions which legally should not have been taken:

  • Arrest and imprisonment of people in dungeon-like cells without institutional authorization
  • Little transparency in the implementation of funds
  • Conflict on social media networks with no supporting evidence
  • Lack of respect for the authority of the Supreme Court of Justice regarding rulings against unconstitutional actions

On the other hand, the Attorney General of El Salvador has been quite passive in the face of the pandemic, and therefore no support is coming from this branch.

Quarantine Violations

The population is not complying 100% with the “Stay at home” mandate. Many people do not restrict their outings to only those that are necessary, and this represents a threat to others.

The authorities are exhausted and cannot cope with irresponsible people who do not need to go out to buy things.


Food Security

Food security is being threatened. If people do not begin to produce their own food, there will be shortages at a national level. Many products are imported, and we are now seeing higher prices of produce; some food products are not even being allowed into the country due to the policies of other countries that are dealing with COVID-19.

The fact that we do not have food in our homes implies the violation of the human right to nourishment.

Another important aspect is the shortage of water, especially in urban areas, where water is not delivered to people’s homes and therefore their right to water is being violated; as a result, outbreaks of other illnesses occur.

It is important that organizations focus their work on production. The quick strategy for providing for the rural families we work with includes:

  • Training families regarding food production
  • Creating family gardens with nutritious fruits and vegetables
  • Planting basic grains in plots that include green vegetables and legumes
  • Breeding native bird species
  • Producing bio-fertilizers
  • Monitoring production

Economy

From a family point of view, the economy is worsening due to measures implemented by the government and the lack of attempts to resolve future problems.

Small businesses are going bankrupt, and along with them those who are dependent on an economic chain which involves other people.

Small merchants cannot sell anything, and therefore are slowly going out of business.

The government has taken a few measures, such as providing bonuses of $300 to 1.2 million people. The problem with this method, however, is that it left out families who truly needed help.

Those who provide basic services are continuing to collect payments on their invoices. The government mentioned an order which guaranteed that families be exempt from paying bills for three months, with the accrued debt divided throughout the rest of the year, but did not mention some requirements which poor families do not meet.

One matter of concern are the government’s future strategies for reopening the economy. In view of this, they have been meeting with economically powerful groups which have no connection to small businesses and business-owners. In this regard, they are favoring the opinion of the economic elite, which leaves a lot of doubt about future plans.

Violence

Violence has been reduced, but it appears that there is some kind of truce with the government.

On the other hand, violence against women has increased during the quarantine. Additionally, femicides have not stopped during this time, which is of concern to many organizations that defend women's rights.

Health

The health of a certain number of people is threatened due to the fact that hospitals and clinics cannot attend to those who show up with relatively minor illnesses.


Meaning of the Mangrove-ECOPA Relationship

For the Mangrove Association, our relationship with ECOPA means an opportunity to strengthen the implementation of our Strategic Plan strategies. We believe that the work that will be carried out with ECOPA will build our capacity in the following areas:

  • Scientific research on fishing, management of natural resources, agroecology, community organizing, among others
  • Implementation of small-scale sustainable initiatives, with the goal of promoting environmentally friendly actions
  • Creation of partnerships with other stakeholders in order to develop joint actions that benefit the communities