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  • Bold strategies allowed the government of El Salvador to pay $800 million in debt.

    Bold strategies allowed the government of El Salvador to pay $800 million in debt.

    The Minister of Finance, Alejandro Zelaya, assured that El Salvador paid in full the debt of $800 million plus interest that was due this month due to increases in tax collection, the limitation of current spending, and the intelligent management of liabilities and sovereign risks.

    As a first point, Minister Zelaya declared that the country is about to close the $2,000 million gap that did not enter the state coffers as a result of the tax collection strategy consolidated with the Anti-Evasion Plan.

    «In our government, we are committed to combating tax evasion; we have collected an additional $1.8 billion to what was collected in 2018; we are ordering and modernizing the Salvadoran State; we have prioritized public investment,» added the official.

    In addition, the minister explained that fiscal spending has been «tightened» in terms of current spending and public investment has been prioritized, which has led to an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    «Our percentage of debt has been decreasing; I think we are going to close 2022 with 77% debt; if we compare it with the 87.9% we reached during the pandemic, we have decreased by 10 percentage points in two years,» he added.

    That is without counting, according to Alejandro Zelaya, the achievements through other types of maneuvers such as the management of liabilities and sovereign risks.

    «In the country, there was never a strategy to make repurchases of bonds; it was the government of President Nayib Bukele that has gone to repurchase in the secondary market, and that option has always been there because the debt contracts have always been in force,» he pointed out.

    The Treasury spokesperson recalled that the FMLN, when it held the presidency of the republic in 2017, had the opportunity to make repurchases in the secondary market because the values fell due to default. «We have taken advantage of a situation in which we have been the subject of a smear campaign (to buy back bonds),» he added.

    The payment of the $800 million plus interest, Zelaya explained, was made under different modalities. In the early purchase of the 2023 bond, $133 million was disbursed, and an additional $63 million was disbursed for the second repurchase. In the two amounts, a total of $196 million was reached and paid before the expiration of the term. This allowed a savings of $23 million in the payment of interest and principal on this 2023 bond.

    Later, he added that the analysts began to carry the risk to the 2025 maturities, which lowered the market price to 50%, making the repurchase a «good deal» for which the purchase was offered to investors for $353 million in two purchase operations.

    «The announcement that we want to make is not only that we pay the 2023 bond, but additionally, for the 2025 bond, only $347 million must be paid. That is the total balance that has remained from the 2025 bond », he pointed out.

    The operation in both maturities allowed the country to save $288 million that is used to pay other types of government debt. It should be noted that both commitments—2023 and 2025—added $1.6 billion to the country’s debt.

    Likewise, Minister Zelaya clarified that, contrary to what opposition analysts affirm, El Salvador did not use funds from allied multilateral organizations, such as the Central American Bank for Economic Investment (CABEI), the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF, the Inter-American Bank Development Bank (IDB), or the World Bank (WB), to settle the debt.

    «We cannot say that there is an exclusive multilateral organization that has supported El Salvador to get ahead with the payment of the bonds. They have all acted in accordance with El Salvador’s financial situation. What we have is a strategy to strengthen public finances,» concluded the head of the Treasury.

  • El Salvador will venture into the generation of green hydrogen, a renewable energy source.

    El Salvador will venture into the generation of green hydrogen, a renewable energy source.

    Daniel Álvarez, president of the Lempa River Hydroelectric Executive Commission (CEL) and head of the General Directorate of Energy, Hydrocarbons, and Mines (DGEHM), provided information on El Salvador’s foray into green hydrogen generation during a meeting held on Thursday, January 26.

    «El Salvador is interested in forays into green hydrogen because we know it is an incomparable resource to replace fossil fuels in the most difficult to decarbonize sectors, such as transportation or heating,» said Daniel Álvarez

    This is the launch of the first training program for El Salvador, as a member of the agency, to venture into green hydrogen, a source of renewable energy generation.

    «Today we take the first step in learning about this issue because studies have shown that we can generate it with geothermal steam from our country,» said Daniel Álvarez, head of the DGEHM.

    According to the new leadership, green hydrogen is a renewable energy generation source that has become a viable global solution to decarbonize hard-to-reduce sectors.

  • The United Nations recognizes the educational strategies of El Salvador.

    The United Nations recognizes the educational strategies of El Salvador.

    The representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in El Salvador, Yvette Blanco, congratulated the Ministry of Education (Mined) for the decision to establish classes in face-to-face mode by 2023, since this promotes the development of skills and student competencies.

    «Unicef applauds the decision to open schools 100% in person, since they represent a safe place for students to achieve their learning and where they also have access to protection, health, food, and psychosocial care services,» she posted on Twitter.

    Blanco also highlighted the work carried out by First Lady Gabriela de Bukele to promote policies and laws that improve the integrity of children. This year sees the implementation of the Crecer Juntos Law, under which the Ministry of Education provides specialized early childhood education.

    Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) highlighted the importance of food for children and adolescents in schools so that they can grow, develop, and protect themselves from diseases.

    «We congratulate Minister Mauricio Pineda for promoting healthy diets in schools that allow children and adolescents to learn and develop fully.

    FAO applauds the efforts to transform education and make it inclusive and sustainable», published the FAO account on Twitter. The Government of the President of the Republic, Nayib Bukele, through the Ministry of Education, works to guarantee access and permanence in the educational system, raise the quality of the public system, provide the necessary technological tools, and provide specialized teaching attention.

    In this sense, the Minister of Education, within the framework of International Education Day, which is celebrated on January 24, held a meeting with representatives of the first lady’s office and the Local Education Group (GLE) to show the My New School reform, which consists of a curricular renovation and the remodeling of the infrastructure of 5,150 public educational centers.

    These interventions are executed under a modern pedagogical concept that favors learning.

  • The Salvadoran bond due in 2025 was reduced to $349 million.

    The Salvadoran bond due in 2025 was reduced to $349 million.

    El Salvador announced on Monday the fulfillment of the payment of the Eurobond due on January 24, 2023, for an amount of $800 million and the interest generated by it, a debt that was acquired during the mandate of the ARENA president, Francisco Flores (1999–2004), and that the current government honored without mishaps, as reported by President Nayib Bukele.

    The transaction carried out consists of the payment of $604 million plus $23 million in interest generated by said debt, since the government anticipated the expiration date with two repurchase offers made last year, in which it was able to repurchase $647 million in 2023 and 2025 securities. The current maturity reduction was nearly $195 million.

    Meanwhile, the 2025 bond repurchase offer was the best received by the market. Negotiations with creditors allowed this $800 million debt issued during the Mauricio Funes administration (2009-2014) to be reduced to $349 million.

    «This puts a positive and comfortable prognosis of external debt in Eurobonds until that date (2025),» explained César Addario, vice president of the firm Exor Latin America, to Diario El Salvador.

    In detail, in the repurchase maneuver in September, El Salvador repurchased $432 million of the 2025 securities, while in the offer made in December, it accumulated $19 million more for a total of $451 million acquired two years after expiration and with a remaining balance of $349 million.

    That is the country’s next payment commitment; the next one is scheduled for 2027 for $800 million, and then in 2029 it expects another for $601 million, according to official data.

  • Migration expedites controls at the El Salvador Airport and borders.

    Migration expedites controls at the El Salvador Airport and borders.

    The General Directorate of Migration and Immigration (DGME) reported that during the first 20 days of 2023, the increase in migratory flow at the El Salvador International Airport (AIES) continued.

    «During this month of January, at the International Airport, we registered an average of 10,000 immigration controls on the entry and exit of nationals and foreigners daily,» the institution published on its official Twitter account.

    Just last Friday, Migration indicated that it had set up six additional windows in the new airport terminal to increase service capacity during the busiest hours, which are concentrated between the morning, noon, and afternoon.

    Always on the subject of immigration registration, the institution reported that last weekend it continued to register the pre-check of pilgrims who went to Guatemala for the Pilgrimage to the Black Christ of Esquipulas.

    «During this Saturday, the 21st, and Sunday, the 22nd, we will carry out the immigration control of 3,849 travelers aboard 138 units heading to the neighboring country,» Migration detailed. It should be noted that this flow was only registered on the Anguiatú border, in Santa Ana.

    On the other hand, Migration and Immigration reported that from January 1 to January 21, the entry and exit of 2,390 cargo trucks were registered at all the country’s borders, which boosts the country’s economy and facilitates the exchange of merchandise with neighboring countries.

    «So far this year, we have registered a daily average of 2,390 cargo carriers who carry out their immigration control of entry and exit through the country’s various land borders, thus contributing to the country’s economy and international trade,» the institution added. 

  • The Evrima cruise, one of the most luxurious in the world, docks in El Salvador.

    The Evrima cruise, one of the most luxurious in the world, docks in El Salvador.

    Nearly 500 foreigners who travel aboard the Evrima cruise ship, one of the most luxurious in the world, from the prestigious Ritz Carlton firm, will enjoy different tourist destinations in El Salvador after the cruise docks this morning at the Port of Acajutla, in Sonsonate, as part of their itinerary, which has brought them to Salvadoran soil for the first time.

    The cruise, coming from the United States, brings with it tourists from the United States and the United Kingdom, for the most part, who will visit different tourist places in the country, such as the historic center of the capital, San Salvador, through the City Tour.

    In addition, cruise passengers will visit the Mayan Route to see the Joya de Cerén and San Andrés archaeological sites in La Libertad.

    Foreigners can also visit Cerro Verde, Santa Ana Volcano, and Mizata Beach, among other places, to enjoy the various tourist attractions, crafts, and Salvadoran gastronomy.

    The cruise is the most expensive civil ship due to the different luxury services it offers its passengers, which makes it a floating luxury hotel, so the purchasing power of cruise passengers is high, which means more income for the sector of national tourists.

    Authorities from the government of President Nayib Bukele have highlighted that the security climate in the country has positioned El Salvador as one of the destinations for the cruise industry, which has taken the country into account for its travel seasons.

    With the arrival of these cruises, the local economy is boosted, mainly in the tourism sector, and among the beneficiaries are tour operators, micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in the tourist areas visited by cruise passengers, and artisans, among others.

  • El Salvador gives the go-ahead to build three docks in La Unión.

    El Salvador gives the go-ahead to build three docks in La Unión.

    This week, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) will begin work on the second phase of the construction of three craft docks in different places that converge in the Gulf of Fonseca, in La Unión.

    The head of the MOP, Romeo Rodríguez, reported that the start order has already been given to the companies in charge of the projects, which will be located on Zacatillo Island and on Punta Chiquirín beach, in La Unión, and a third will be built on the island of Conchagüita, in the insular municipality of Meanguera del Golfo.

    Prior to the start of the construction of the infrastructures and while the bidding process was being carried out, the MOP carried out some earthworks in the sectors where the artisanal maritime platforms and other complementary works will be erected.

    «The companies that have been awarded have already moved their machinery and equipment. This week, they begin their interventions. The idea is to improve the fishing sector since they do not have adequate infrastructure,» said the Minister of Public Works.

    The investment in this project amounts to $15 million and is part of the Productive Corridors program, which is financed with funds from a loan granted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

    In addition to the docks’ construction, complementary works will also be carried out, such as storage centers for fishermen and space for restaurants.

    Likewise, trails will be built, and electricity, drinking water, and a wastewater system will be introduced, among other things.

  • El Salvador demonstrated that it was able to eradicate the gangs.

    El Salvador demonstrated that it was able to eradicate the gangs.

    The administration of President Nayib Bukele has shown that it is possible to eradicate the gangs, as analyst Misael Rivas considered yesterday, which has given the government empowerment in matters of security. That positions the president as a benchmark on a Latin American scale.

    «The current government has an empowerment approach to security issues. Before it was known as social violence, and they looked at it as something that could not be controlled,» the criminologist also mentioned in the interview with A:M, on Channel 10.

    Rivas made a comparison because, while the current government’s security strategy returned control of the territories to the state, in the past the gangs fully controlled up to 50 municipalities without the authorities at the time doing anything.

    «Gangs dominated 56 municipalities in El Salvador during 2010, 2014, and 2015. Now we are seeing how the country has recovered,» recalled the analyst.

    In his opinion, part of the empowerment obtained by the Executive in terms of security is reflected in the fact that both the agents of the National Civil Police (PNC) and the members of the Armed Forces feel supported by their headquarters when carrying out their work in public safety.

    «The Armed Forces did not have the support because the bosses were not interested. In El Salvador, there are many security companies, and we have 14 departments. Visibly we know what the business was here,» Rivas explained.

    One aspect that he highlighted is that the PNC now has a much more effective intelligence service, which makes it possible to more forcefully dismantle criminal structures since highly relevant information is intercepted.

  • El Salvador is making unprecedented investments in education.

    El Salvador is making unprecedented investments in education.

    This January 24 marks International Education Day, a day dedicated to promoting inclusive and equitable learning opportunities.In El Salvador, the government of President Nayib Bukele allocates a million-dollar investment for this state portfolio.

    The education budget for this year amounts to almost $1,502 million, which responds to President Bukele’s commitment to transform the inherited public education system. This represents an increase over the $1,470 million Education budget for fiscal year 2022.

    One of the main commitments of the current administration is the renovation of the school’s infrastructure. Through the Mi Nueva Escuela reform, 5,150 schools will be remodeled. This year alone, they will transform 1,000 schools.

    «I feel joyful and happy because we have never seen a remodeling of this magnitude in our village. We are very happy because now it is a school worthy of our childhood, and many children from other villages will benefit. We are completely grateful to our president and all the institutions that join this work,» said María Torres, mother of a student in the El Niño canton in San Miguel.

  • The neighboring countries of El Salvador want to learn more about the extraction phase of the Territorial Control Plan.

    The neighboring countries of El Salvador want to learn more about the extraction phase of the Territorial Control Plan.

    The Minister of Justice and Public Security, Gustavo Villatoro, has recently reported that countries such as Guatemala and Honduras have consulted about phase 5 of the Territorial Control Plan, called Extraction, which since the beginning of December 2022 has been carried out in Soyapango, in the Tutunichapa communities, and La Granjita, and that to date has left more than 1,000 gang members in custody.

    «We are willing to work with any country that requests our assistance, with an emphasis, obviously, on our neighbors, because we cannot have a safe El Salvador with some level of incidence of these terrorist groups.»

    Since the implementation of the war on the gangs in March 2022, the security forces have detained more than 61,500 gang members.

    During this phase, police and military personnel use technology and intelligence information to enter specific locations solely to pursue the objectives. In this way, they have captured gang leaders in Soyapango who posed as evangelical pastors and various marijuana and cocaine distributors who had Tutunichapa as a criminal location.