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El Salvador


El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided for military and political reforms.
Geography El Salvador
Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras
Geographic coordinates:
13 50 N, 88 55 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 21,040 sq km
water: 320 sq km
land: 20,720 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundaries:
total: 545 km
border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km
307 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 200 NM
tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands
mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro El Pital 2,730 m
Natural resources:
hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 27.27%
permanent crops: 12.11%
other: 60.62% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
360 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes very destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea
People El Salvador
6,587,541 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.8% (male 1,237,262; female 1,185,750)
15-64 years: 58.1% (male 1,819,035; female 2,009,032)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 150,221; female 186,241) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.4 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 22.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.78% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
27.48 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
5.93 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-3.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 25.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 28.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.92 years
male: 67.31 years
female: 74.7 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.2 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.6% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
24,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
2,100 (2001 est.)
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 90%, Amerindian 1%, white 9%
Roman Catholic 83%
note: there is extensive activity by Protestant groups throughout the country; by the end of 1992, there were an estimated 1 million Protestant evangelicals in El Salvador
Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 80.2%
male: 82.8%
female: 77.7% (2003 est.)
Government El Salvador
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador
conventional short form: El Salvador
local short form: El Salvador
local long form: Republica de El Salvador
Government type:
San Salvador
Administrative divisions:
14 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Ahuachapan, Cabanas, Chalatenango, Cuscatlan, La Libertad, La Paz, La Union, Morazan, San Miguel, San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Vicente, Sonsonate, Usulutan
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
23 December 1983
Legal system:
based on civil and Roman law, with traces of common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Francisco FLORES Perez (since 1 June 1999); Vice President Carlos QUINTANILLA Schmidt (since 1 June 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Francisco FLORES Perez (since 1 June 1999); Vice President Carlos QUINTANILLA Schmidt (since 1 June 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 21 March 2004 (next to be held NA March 2009)
election results: Antonio SACA elected president; percent of vote - Antonio SACA (ARENA) 57.7%, Schafik HANDAL (FMLN) 35.6%, Hector SILVA (CDU-PDC) 3.9%, other 2.8%; note - Antonio SACA will assume the presidency on 1 June 2004
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (84 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 16 March 2003 (next to be held NA March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FMLN 31, ARENA 28, PCN 15, PDC 5, CD 5
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Rodolfo PARKER]; United Democratic Center or CDU [Ruben ZAMORA, secretary general]; Democratic Party or PD [Jorge MELENDEZ]; Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Fabio CASTILLO]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Kirio Waldo SALGADO, president]; National Action Party or PAN [Gustavo Rogelio SALINAS, secretary general]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ ZEPEDA, president]; National Republican Alliance or ARENA [Walter ARAUJO]; Social Christian Union or USC (formed by the merger of Christian Social Renewal Party or PRSC and Unity Movement or MU) [Abraham RODRIGUEZ, president]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Juan MEDRANO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
labor organizations - Electrical Industry Union of El Salvador or SIES; Federation of the Construction Industry, Similar Transport and other activities, or FESINCONTRANS; National Confederation of Salvadoran Workers or CNTS; National Union of Salvadoran Workers or UNTS; Port Industry Union of El Salvador or SIPES; Salvadoran Union of Ex-Petrolleros and Peasant Workers or USEPOC; Salvadoran Workers Central or CTS; Workers Union of Electrical Corporation or STCEL; business organizations - National Association of Small Enterprise or ANEP; Salvadoran Assembly Industry Association or ASIC; Salvadoran Industrial Association or ASI
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Rene Antonio LEON Rodriguez
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC
FAX: [1] (202) 234-3834
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671
chancery: 2308 California Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador H. Douglas BARCLAY
embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Antiguo Cuscatlan, La Libertad, San Salvador
mailing address: Unit 3116, APO AA 34023
telephone: [503] 278-4444
FAX: [503] 278-6011
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL; similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which has a different coat of arms centered in the white band - it features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band
Economy El Salvador
Economy - overview:
With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency, El Salvador has lost control over monetary policy and must concentrate on maintaining a disciplined fiscal policy. GDP per capita is roughly only half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, and the distribution of income is highly unequal. The trade deficit has been offset by annual remittances of almost $2 billion from Salvadorans living abroad and external aid. The government is striving to open new export markets, encourage foreign investment, modernize the tax and healthcare systems, and stimulate the sluggish economy.
purchasing power parity - $30.99 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 30%
services: 60% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
48% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 39.3% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
52.2 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.1% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
2.35 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 30%, industry 15%, services 55% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6.5% - but the economy has much underemployment (2003 est.)
revenues: $2.1 billion
expenditures: $2.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate:
1.4% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
3.729 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 44%
hydro: 30.9%
other: 25.1% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
3.777 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
44 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
353 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
39,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; shrimp; beef, dairy products
$3.162 billion (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity
Exports - partners:
US 62.9%, Guatemala 11.9%, Honduras 6.8%, Nicaragua 4.4% (2002)
$5.466 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 38.2%, Guatemala 9.9%, Mexico 6.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
$6.5 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
total $252 million; $57 million from US (1995)
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is the legal tender
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications El Salvador
Telephones - main lines in use:
667,700 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
888,800 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system
international: country code - 503; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 61 (plus 24 repeaters), FM 30, shortwave 0 (1998)
2.75 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
5 (1997)
600,000 (1990)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
269 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
4 (2000)
Internet users:
300,000 (2002)
Transportation El Salvador
total: 283 km
narrow gauge: 283 km 0.914-m gauge
note: length of operational route reduced from 562 km to 283 km by disuse and lack of maintenance (2002)
total: 10,029 km
paved: 1,986 km (including 327 km of expressways)
unpaved: 8,043 km (1999 est.)
Rio Lempa partially navigable
Ports and harbors:
Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco, La Libertad, La Union, Puerto El Triunfo
Merchant marine:
73 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 69
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 54 (2003 est.)
1 (2003 est.)
Military El Salvador
Military branches:
Army, Navy (FNES), Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,571,299 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 995,672 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 69,993 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$157 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.1% (2003)
Transnational Issues El Salvador
Disputes - international:
in 1992, the ICJ ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras boundary, and the OAS is assisting with a technical resolution of undemarcated bolsones; in 2003, the ICJ rejected El Salvador's request to revise its decision on one part of the bolsones; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to the Pacific; El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned by the ICJ, off Honduras in the Gulf de Fonseca
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for cocaine; small amounts of marijuana produced for local consumption; domestic cocaine abuse on the rise