Domingo Cuesta SJ, Provincial of Central America
The Central American Province encompasses six
countries with great cultural and human richness, but with social conflicts
that have marked our history. Inequality afflicts Central America terribly.
This is compounded by violence and vulnerability to natural disasters, because
of its geographical location and the lack of government prevention. Institutional weakness, corruption
and a consumerist culture weaken democratic processes. The Jesuits are
committed to accompanying the people. Given this reality, Father General asked
me to outline to his Council the socio-political situation in El Salvador and
For the Salvadoran population, the main problems of
the country are the economic situation and violence.
Violence is suffered mainly by the lower middle
classes and the poor in their neighbourhoods, where gangs are in control. Extortion,
robbery, threats, harassment, kidnappings and murders are frequent in the lives
of these social groups.
The economic situation is tremendously unequal. While
the 20% of the population with the highest income earn 50% of the country’s
income, the 10% with the lowest income have to live on a mere 2.5% of gross
domestic product. Thirty-five percent of the population lives below the poverty
This precarious situation for the population has led
to great disenchantment among the people, which is reflected in the politics.
Frustrated that neither the right nor the left have responded to the needs of
the population, the people sought other political alternatives. Nayib Bukele,
the current president of the country, became president after serving three
years as mayor of the capital, San Salvador. As mayor he achieved great
popularity among the population due to his youth, his innovative ideas, his
constant communication through social media and his ideological independence.
Bukele’s electoral promises were to end corruption and transform the country with
the resources that would become available because no one was stealing them.
Since Bukele assumed the presidency of the republic
(on 1 June 2022), he has acted with arrogance, harassing groups critical of his
policies, especially the media. His government has become increasingly