El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations [October 13, 2011]   [open pdf - 376KB]

"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 7.2 million. During the 1980s, El Salvador was the largest recipient of U.S. aid in Latin America as its government struggled against the 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 the government rebuild democracy and implement marketfriendly economic reforms. […] Maintaining close ties with the United States has been a primary foreign policy goal of successive Salvadoran governments. Although some Members of Congress expressed reservations about working with an FMLN administration, relations between El Salvador and the United States have remained friendly. During a two-day visit to El Salvador in March 2011, President Barack Obama praised President Funes' 'courageous work to overcome old divisions in Salvadoran society and to show that progress comes through pragmatism and building consensus.' Both leaders pledged to work together, in concert with the private sector, 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 an estimated $29.8 million in FY2011, as well as assistance provided through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), is supporting those bilateral goals. The Administration requested $35.5 million in aid for El Salvador for FY2012."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS21655
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