Natural resources and energy
El Salvador has no major mineral resources. The most important minerals produced are limestone, gypsum and salt. The small extraction of silver and gold that existed before the Civil War stopped during the 1980s.
During the first decade of the 2000s, a few mining companies from Canada and the United States found gold and silver in the country’s northern parts. But popular protests and opposition from the Catholic Church meant that the Salvadoran governments did not allow the companies to break the metals for environmental reasons. Canadian mining company Pacific Rim sued the Salvadoran state in 2009 for denying them mining permits and believes it violates the rules of the DR-Cafta Free Trade Agreement (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by El Salvador with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
For its energy supply, the country relies on imported oil. In 2010, over half of the energy came from fossil fuels, a quarter from hydropower and just under a quarter from geothermal energy, mainly from volcanoes. There are several domestic hydropower plants but electricity is also imported from Honduras and Guatemala.
In Metapán in the north-west, investments are made in wind power that in 2015 is estimated to start generating energy for around 100,000 homes. Solar energy is used to a limited extent and the Fune government worked to expand it.
Forests cover about one-sixth of El Salvador’s surface area, but only three percent of the country’s surface area has forest remains. Large forest areas have been destroyed and about three percent of the tree population is harvested each year. Some new trees have been planted, including on coffee plantations where they are used to shade the coffee plants. Only half a percent of the land area consists of the protected area, the smallest proportion in Central America.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, SV stands for El Salvador. Visit itypeusa for more information about El Salvador.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
666 kilos of oil equivalents (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
966 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
6 285 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.0 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
24.4 percent (2015)
Ex-minister charged with arms smuggling
Parliament deprives Germany’s ambassador, Atilio Benítez, of his diplomatic immunity when prosecutors want to prosecute him for arms smuggling, illegal possession of weapons and fraud. Benítez, who was Minister of Defense in 2009–2011, is suspected of selling weapons that would have been destroyed. The decision is made with the support of 43 members; The members of the FMLN cast their votes.
Training effort against the gang
El Salvador as well as Guatemala and Honduras launch a joint effort to fight gang crime in the countries, called the “Northern Triangle”. Police and military in each country should share intelligence and operate primarily along borders. The force will show the United States that the countries are actively combating violence and smuggling, which is behind a large part of the illegal migration to the United States (see also Foreign Policy and Defense). In 2015, 17,422 murders were reported in the three countries, which are the most violent in the world where there is no war.
Ex-President Saca grabs
Antonio Saca is arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, money laundering and links with illegal organizations. Six other people are arrested at the same time, three of whom are active civil servants.
Abortion relief is proposed
The government wants to allow abortions after rape, in danger of the mother’s life or if the fetus is not viable. The opposition opposes a proposal for stricter penalties for those who perform abortion with imprisonment for up to 50 years.
Delvin Salgado, mayor of the small town of El Negrito, is suspected of murder and of conspiring with a group of assassins. He is one of at least 35 mayors or vice mayors who have been investigated for links to organized crime since 2015, authorities say.
Ex-president gets asylum in Nicaragua
Ex-President Mauricio Funes, who has been living in Nicaragua for three months, pleaded not guilty to allegations of improperly seizing assets (see February 2016) and that he recently sought asylum when he feared the “extreme right” plans to attack him. Nicaragua announces the decision and says the motive is that Fune’s life is in danger.
Amnestilag is scrapped
The Supreme Court decides that the amnesty law applicable to crimes during the civil war 1980-1992 violates the constitution’s guarantees on human rights, not least the right to damages for war crimes and crimes against humanity (see Political system).
New unit will fight criminal gangs
The government decides to create a new, heavily armed special forces whose task is to fight the criminal gangs who moved out into the countryside when the police hit the street gangs in the cities. The force will consist of 1,000 men and have access to helicopters and armored vehicles, among other things.
Ex-President Saca is ordered to report on assets
The Supreme Court also requires that Antonio Saca, like Mauricio Funes a few weeks earlier, report on how his assets increased during the 2004–2009 presidential term. In Saca’s case, it is reportedly about $ 5 million.
Ex-President Funes is ordered to report on assets
The Supreme Court orders a civil case review of the circumstances that caused Fune’s assets to increase by $ 700,000 during his term of office in 2009–2014.
Ex-military arrested for Jesuit murder
6th of February
Four out of 17 former militants requested by Spain have been arrested. They are suspected of involvement in the 1989 Jesuit clergy murder (see Political system and May 2012).
Former President Flores dies before trial
30th of January
Former President Francisco Flores dies at 56, after a brain haemorrhage. A judge recently announced that the trial would begin against Flores, who has been in house arrest or detention for a long time but was taken to hospital in December for health reasons (see September 2014). The lawsuit against Flores was stated before the trial to be $ 15 million, of which $ 5 million should have been credited to his personal accounts and $ 10 million to Arena’s accounts (see also January 2014). Flores was president from 1999-2004.
Zika causes the government to discourage pregnancy
The Ministry of Health urges couples to avoid pregnancies for the next two years. The startling message is a result of the rapid spread of the zika virus. In El Salvador, 7,000 cases of zika infection have now been identified since the virus was first discovered in November 2015.
Zika virus triggers warning
Authorities issue a warning for a mosquito Aedes aegypti, which can carry three different viral infections. The background is the zika virus that spreads rapidly in Latin America and can cause severe birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected. Mosquito bites can also lead to a person being infected with dengue, which has been around for a long time in the region, and with chikungunya that was first encountered in El Salvador in 2014.
Help to the expelled
A program is launched to help Salvadorans expelled from the US and forced to return home. Authorities should offer returnees assistance with starting small businesses and with therapy, to deal with the trauma that an expulsion can entail. In 2015, almost 22,000 Salvadorans were forced to leave the United States, and the figure is expected to increase sharply in 2016. However, this is a small proportion of Salvadorans living in the United States (see also Population and Languages). The money they send back corresponds to about 17 percent of the country’s GDP (see Finance).
Ex-Defense Minister expelled from the United States
Former Secretary of Defense and Retired General José Guillermo García is deported along with 131 other Salvadorans from the United States, after he refused a request to have his residence permit renewed. A court has ordered the deportation for human rights violations committed during the civil war. García was Minister of Defense from 1979 to 1983. His successor to the post has also been expelled from the United States, for the same reason (see April 2015).