Country of the World El Salvador

About the country El Salvador, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULERS

EL SALVADOR

NITTY-GRITTY

Lay of the Land: El Salvador, smallest mainland nation in the Western Hemisphere, occupies a little corner of Central America between Honduras and Guatemala. The mountains and the Pacific Ocean form its national boundaries. Most of the country is a large inland plateau at about 2,000 ft. elevation. Active volcanoes and crater lakes dot the lush countryside.

Size: 8,123 sq. mi. (21,041 sq. km.).

Population: 4.3 million.

Who Rules: Officially, El Salvador is a republic governed by a president and a unicameral legislature, under a constitution enacted in 1962.

Who REALLY Rules: El Salvador suffers under one of the most reactionary and repressive regimes in Latin America. The military has been in effective control of the government for years, each outgoing executive passing the presidency on to a friend or close relative. The dominant PNC (Party of National Conciliation) is controlled by the wealthy, powerful "14 families." Conservative to the core, they zealously guard their privileges and resist any changes in the status quo. Land reform, an urgently needed basic step towards equalizing the gap between rich and poor, is especially abhorrent to them, since they own most of the land. However, in July, 1977 a guerrilla group demonstrated their continuing fight against the conservative land-rich government by assassinating 85-year-old former president Osmin Aguirre Salinas for his role in crushing a 1932 land reform.

Government repression, already severe, culminated in an official state of siege, and hundreds of opposition political figures are said to be missing. The country, although heavily agricultural, cannot feed itself, because most of the land is devoted to export crops like coffee and cotton.

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