El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations [January 11, 2012]   [open pdf - 389KB]

"Throughout the last few decades, the United States has maintained a strong interest in El Salvador, a small Central American country with a population of 6 million. During the 1980s, El Salvador was the largest recipient of U.S. aid in Latin America as its government struggled against the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) insurgency during a 12- year civil war. A peace accord negotiated in 1992 brought the war to an end and formally assimilated the FMLN into the political process as a political party. After the peace accords were signed, U.S. involvement shifted toward helping successive Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) governments rebuild democracy and implement market-friendly economic reforms. [...] Maintaining close ties with the United States has been a primary foreign policy goal of successive Salvadoran governments, including the Funes Administration. During a March 2011 visit to El Salvador, President Barack Obama praised President Funes' 'courageous work to overcome old divisions in Salvadoran society and to show that progress comes through pragmatism.' Both leaders pledged to work together to boost economic growth in El Salvador through the new Partnerships for Growth initiative and to more effectively ensure citizen security. U.S. bilateral assistance, which totaled $29.8 million in FY2011, as well as aid provided through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is supporting those goals. The U.S. government has also provided more than $605,000 in emergency assistance in response to the recent floods. The Administration requested $35.5 million in aid for El Salvador for FY2012. The amount of funding included for El Salvador in the FY2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-74) is not yet available. However, in H.Rept. 112-331, the conferees stated their expectation that additional bilateral assistance and International Disaster Assistance be provided to El Salvador for flood relief and reconstruction."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS21655
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