Photo: Presidents Obama and Funes in the the Metropolitan Cathedral, built to honor slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
At the last stop on his Latin American tour, President Barack Obama pledged to help El Salvador and Central America fight its war against drugs.
Though he cut his trip a few hours short, likely due to a litany of questions being asked regarding the U.S. intervention in Libya, President Obama promised Central America $200 million to help in the battle against drug cartels.
Obama also praised El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes for his policies and efforts to “overcome old divisions” that remain apparent in the country. Funes is the first leftist leader in the tiny nation’s history.
Funes noted that much like Brazil and Chile, El Salvador has made significant strides towards democracy “in a very orderly and peaceful manner” over the last few decades.
Narcotics, public security, immigration, and even El Salvador’s history were all discussed, before President Obama joined President Funes in the crypt beneath the Metropolitan Cathedral, built to honor slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was killed by U.S.-linked gunmen over thirty years ago.
Romero was assassinated in 1980, after he denounced death squads from his pulpit. He became a martyr to the leftists and poor of Latin America.
It was later discovered that the gunmen that killed Romero were linked to the U.S.-trained and financed army that had been battling “a Cuba-backed Marxist insurgency.” The Vatican has taken up a cause for the beatification and canonization into sainthood for Romero.
The White House also said it will help El Salvador launch a pilot program known as Partnership for Growth. It would bring private investments, provide jobs, and increase trade in the country. The increase in jobs would allow Salvadoran to remain with their families in their homeland.
Currently, one out of four Salvadorans live in the U.S., legally or otherwise.