How El Salvador Became Dangerous | NowThis World

El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live in In recent years, its homicide rate has gone through the roof, making it the deadliest country in the world OUTSIDE of an active warzone

But how did the country get to this point? Hey guys, I’m Versha, and today we wanted to go DEEP into the history of how EL SALVADOR became such a dangerous place First, to understand what’s going on there today, let’s go back to the 19th century El Salvador has struggled with extreme inequality between the ruling classes and everyday citizens for a really long time But what was the source of this problem? Some say Coffee Coffee became a major cash crop for the El Salvador in the late 1800s

It led to what some call a “coffee revolution” which brought in a new stream of cash into the country But here’s the problem: two major families controlled most of that wealth and used it to become politically powerful This kind of pattern would go on throughout the 1900s, leading to the formation of the Central American Socialist Party and an uprising against the government BUT in 1932, the government brutally cracked down on this peasant uprising killing anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 people Remember this, because it’s going to come in handy later: a man named Farabundo Marti was the peasant leader this peasant uprising

The massacre later became known as “La Matanza” and it really established the government’s military power While all of this was happening, El Salvador was ALSO in a land tug of war with its neighbor, Honduras Honduras is more than five times the size of El Salvador, BUT the POPULATION of El Salvador was bigger So Salvadorans began relocating to places like Honduras Honduras responded by passing land reform laws that essentially took land from Salvadoran immigrants and gave it to native-born Hondurans

They also expelled many migrant workers As if that weren’t enough, the two countries were playing each other in a 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifier, and the games were followed by violence between fans of the two countries given the politics going on As if that weren’t enough, tensions continued to rise when they faced off in the 1969 FIFA World Cup qualifier After the games, violence broke out between fans of the two countries This led to an intense, 4-day war in July 1969, that became known as the “Football War

” The brief conflict ended in a ceasefire, but still had a LASTING impact on El Salvador During this period the military grew stronger Then, in the 1970s an oil crisis and even more economic instability shook the region, causing communism to become more popular among the public Then comes along General Carlos Humberto Romero, who represented the Salvadoran military and the closely associated National Conciliation Party, a group strongly opposed to communism When Romero won the presidency in a controversial election in 1977, it led to mass protests against him that were met with violence by the military and state-supported actors

Thousands of people, including activists and bystanders, were killed by security forces during this period That instability went on for 2 years until 1979, when the Revolutionary Government Junta deposed President Romero in a military coup This was the beginning of the Salvadoran civil war The junta quickly formed a military dictatorship, killing peaceful demonstrators, assassinating leaders who were trying to form socialist cooperatives among the poor people in the country, and even killing an Archbishop who dared to speak out against them Here’s where the U

S comes in We’re now at the height of the Cold War in this period and the US is worried about losing Central America to communism

So President Jimmy Carter actually supported this brutal new military government, for the purpose of trying to keep the country stable Carter provided some aid, but Ronald Reagan would come along and provide even more: nearly $1 billion in economic aid to the Salvadoran government in the coming years Then in 1980, several left-wing, communist and guerilla organizations came together to form the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front — named after the peasant leader we told you about earlier The group came to be known as the FMLN and they became the main resistance against the unpopular dictatorship And they fought fire with fire: launching military offensives against the government, used violence to try and take parts of the country from the government, and at times were often successful

But the civil war would rage all through the 1980s, with the US providing support to the dictatorship of El Salvador About 80,000 people died during this war, and more than one million people were displaced A peace deal was FINALLY reached in 1992, after 12 years of war

A civil war that brutal obviously has lasting effects on the country, even today But one aspect in particular is directly linked to the violence we see in El Salvador now Many people fled during the civil war—and some ended up in Los Angeles, California When in LA, they encountered gangs So some of the children of these immigrants decided to form their own: and thus was born the infamous MS-13 gang

MS-13 quickly gained a reputation for extreme violence, drug trafficking, extortion and more They started in LA, but spread to other parts of the United States, and in the ‘90s and 2000s, spread down to Central America – partially because of US deportations So a gang formed in LA, born of immigrants who fled El Salvador’s civil war, have brought brutal violence back to the country in a vicious cycle

But that’s not the only reason El Salvador is dangerous today The drug war that has raged in Mexico has also spread through Central America, and the lack of political instability has bred corruption So this tiny country has been dealing with a potent cocktail of corruption, a drug war, gangs, and the effects of a long civil war As if that weren’t enough, in 2001, the country was devastated by earthquakes that killed hundreds, causing landslides and mass destruction The humanitarian disasters that followed were so bad that the George W

Bush administration offered Temporary Protected Status to all Salvadorans living in the US, which President Trump recently announced he was ending But while parts of the country may have recovered from the property damage caused by the earthquakes, El Salvador very much remains a dangerous place to live As we saw in this video, U

S foreign policy can have lasting ramifications for other countries around the world But what’s the US current foreign policy? Check out this video to the right that breaks down the Trump administration's first year of foreign policy

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