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 El Salvador [Country Flag of El Salvador]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of El Salvador]

El Salvador

Geography

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Location: Middle 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

Area:
total: 21,040 sq km
land: 20,720 sq km
water: 320 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land boundaries:
total: 545 km
border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km

Coastline: 307 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April)

Terrain: 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

Land use:
arable land: 27%
permanent crops: 8%
permanent pastures: 29%
forests and woodland: 5%
other: 31% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,200 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes very destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography—note: smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea

People

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Population: 5,752,067 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% (male 1,088,579; female 1,042,087)
15-64 years: 58% (male 1,575,806; female 1,748,250)
65 years and over: 5% (male 135,556; female 161,789) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.57% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 26.71 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.32 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 29.07 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.66 years
male: 66.31 years
female: 73.17 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.06 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Salvadoran(s)
adjective: Salvadoran

Ethnic groups: mestizo 94%, Amerindian 5%, white 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 75%
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

Languages: Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 71.5%
male: 73.5%
female: 69.8% (1995 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador
conventional short form: El Salvador
local long form: Republica de El Salvador
local short form: El Salvador

Data code: ES

Government type: republic

National capital: 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

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Constitution: 20 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
note: Legislative Assembly passed landmark judicial reforms in 1996

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Armando CALDERON Sol (since 1 June 1994); Vice President Enrique BORGO Bustamante (since 1 June 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Armando CALDERON Sol (since 1 June 1994); Vice President Enrique BORGO Bustamante (since 1 June 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 20 March 1994, with a run-off election held 24 April 1994 (next to be held NA March 1999)
election results: Armando CALDERON Sol elected president; percent of vote—Armando CALDERON Sol (ARENA) 49.03%, Ruben ZAMORA Rivas (CD/FMLN/MNR) 24.09%, Fidel CHAVEZ Mena (PDC) 16.39%, other 10.49%; because no candidate received a majority, a run-off election was held and the results were as follows—Armando CALDERON Sol (ARENA) 68.35%, Ruben ZAMORA Rivas (CD/FMLN/MNR) 31.65%

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 1997 (next to be held NA March 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—ARENA 35.4%, FMLN 34.3%, PCN 8.1%, PDC 7.9%, CD 3.8%, PRSC 3.4%, PLD 3.2%, MU 2.1%, PD 1.0%, other 0.8%; seats by party - ARENA 28, FMLN 27, PCN 9, PDC 8, PRSC 3, CD 2, PLD 2, MU 1, PD 1, independent 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly

Political parties and leaders: National Republican Alliance or ARENA [Alfredo CRISTIANI]; Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or FMLN [Facundo GUARDADO, general coordinator]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ronal UMANA, secretary general; title in dispute]; National Conciliation Party or PCN [Ciro CRUZ Zepeda, secretary general]; Democratic Convergence or CD [Ruben ZAMORA, secretary general]; Popular Labor Party or PPL [Jose VILANOVA, secretary general]; Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Kirio Waldo SALGADO, president]; Social Christian Union or USC (formed by union of the PRSC, MU, and MSN) [Abraham RODRIGUEZ, president]; Democratic Party or PD [Ana Guadeloupe MARTINEZ, president]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
labor organizations: National Confederation of Salvadoran Workers (CNTS)National Union of Salvadoran Workers (UNTS); Federation of the Construction Industry, Similar, Transport and other activities (FESINCONTRANS); Salvadoran Workers Central (CTS); Port Industry Union of El Salvador (SIPES); Electrical Industry Union of El Salvador (SIES); Workers Union of Electrical Corporation (STCEL)
business organizations: Salvadoran Industrial Association (ASI)Salvadoran Assembly Industry Association (ASIC); National Association of Small Enterprise (ANEP)

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Rene A. LEON
chancery: 2308 California Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-9671, 9672
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco
consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anne W. PATTERSON
embassy: Final Boulevard Santa Elena, Station Antiguo Cuscatlan, 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

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Economy—overview: In 1997 the government emphasized a fixed exchange rate, along with conservative monetary and fiscal policies to promote foreign investment. Inflation fell to an unprecedented low of 2%. Exports reached a record level and were the main engine of growth. Productivity in other sectors remained weaker, however. For the last few years, El Salvador has experienced sizable deficits in both its trade and its fiscal accounts. The trade deficit has been offset by remittances from the large number of Salvadorans living abroad and from external aid. The deficit is expected to increase in 1998 as imports continue to rise. San Salvador is stepping up its privatization efforts in 1998 to increase revenues. Late in 1997 the legislative assembly approved a privatization law that will facilitate the sale of the state-owned telephone company sometime in 1998. The government also plans to privatize pension funds later in the year.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$17.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 24%
services: 61% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 2.26 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 40%, commerce 16%, manufacturing 15%, government 13%, financial services 9%, transportation 6%, other 1%

Unemployment rate: 7.7% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.75 billion
expenditures: $1.82 billion, including capital expenditures of $317 million (1997 est.)

Industries: food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals

Industrial production growth rate: 7% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 900,000 kW (1996)

Electricity—production: 3.5 billion kWh (1997)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 603 kWh (1997 est.)

Agriculture—products: coffee, sugarcane, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products; shrimp

Exports:
total value: $1.96 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: coffee, sugar; shrimp; textiles
partners: US, Guatemala, Germany, Costa Rica, Honduras

Imports:
total value: $3.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels
partners: US, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Japan

Debt—external: $2.6 billion (yearend 1997)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $763 million (1996)
note: US has committed $280 million in economic assistance to El Salvador for 1995-97 (excludes military aid)

Currency: 1 Salvadoran colon (C) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Salvadoran colones (C) per US$1 (end of period)—8.755 (January 1998-1995), 8.750 (1994), 8.670 (1993)
note: as of 1 June 1990, the rate is based on the average of the buying and selling rates, set on a weekly basis, for official receipts and payments, imports of petroleum, and coffee exports; prior to that date, a system of floating was in effect

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: 350,000 (1997 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System

Radio broadcast stations: AM 18, FM 80, shortwave 2

Radios: 1.5 million (1997 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 11 (1996 est.)

Televisions: 700,000 (1997 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 602 km (single track; note—some sections abandoned, unusable, or operating at reduced capacity)
narrow gauge: 602 km 0.914-m gauge

Highways:
total: 9,977 km
paved: 1,985 km (including 266 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,992 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: Rio Lempa partially navigable

Ports and harbors: Acajutla, Puerto Cutuco, La Libertad, La Union, Puerto El Triunfo

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 88 (1997 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 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 84
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 66 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 1,362,504 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 864,419 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 65,130 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $104 million (1997)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.9% (1997)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: land boundary dispute with Honduras mostly resolved by 11 September 1992 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision; the presidents of Honduras and El Salvador signed in January 1998 an agreement allowing citizens in the 1992 demarcated areas to choose Honduran or Salvadoran citizenship; the two countries also agreed to a final demarcation of the border within one year; the agreement awaits ratification by the legislative assemblies of both countries; with respect to the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca, ICJ referred to an earlier agreement in this century and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua likely would be required

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine; marijuana produced for local consumption