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Hispanic Heritage Month

Salvadorian Heritage – Sept. 15 – Oct. 15

By Allan Jamail

September 19, 2022 – First of a series – Saluting El Salvador – Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how Hispanic communities have influenced and contributed to the United States including the North Channel communities.

President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 signed a new law making the week of Sept. 15 a time to honor the contributions of Hispanic communities from Central or Latin America, President Reagan changed it to a month. It’s the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and Mexico’s Independence Day is the next day, Sept. 16.

Through my lifetime I’ve been confused as which ethnic name to apply when referring to my neighbors and friends from Central or Latin America. The term Hispanic or Latino (or the more recent term Latinx) refers to a person’s culture or origin— regardless of race. On the 2020 Census form, people were counted as Hispanic or Latino or Spanish if they could identify as having Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”

The United Nations geo-scheme for the Americas defines Central America as all states of mainland North America south of the United States, hence grouping Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and Mexico as part of Central America.

My El Salvadorian neighbor’s Enrique, Bessy and their children Jaqueline, Henry and Lydia recently celebrated El Salvador’s Independence Day. It was during their celebration I noticed they displayed the El Salvador flag on the front of their home. Their children were proudly wearing clothes (see photo) of El Salvador’s national emblem. And so I decided with my annual recognition articles for celebratory days, months of historical events to use their family as my first of a series on Hispanic Heritage Month.

Since they have moved here to Jacinto City my wife Linda and I have welcomed them and made friends with them. As a result we’ve helped them learn about our city and its benefits. They’ve taught us about their culture by sharing Salvadorian made food and desserts. We’ve enjoyed their type of music played at each of their children’s birthday parties we’ve attended. We’ve given them plants and vegetables and taught them how grow them; the kids enjoy picking fresh vegetables from our garden.

President Nayib Bukele is the current president of El Salvador; he was sworn in on June 1st, 2019, and will serve a five-year term ending in 2024. At the age of 37, Bukele became the 46th president of El Salvador; he is the youngest person ever elected as president of this country.

He has been an early symbol of hope and optimism for El Salvador, the region, and the United States as it seeks to stem irregular migration to its southern border.

The history making 2019 presidential election Bukele broke 30 years of two-party dominance by the traditional political parties FMLN and ARENA. Bukele got 53 percent of the votes on the first round. During Bukele’s political career he served as mayor of Nuevo Cucatlan and the nation’s capital, San Salvador.

El Salvador has a democratic and representative government, whose three bodies are:

1. The Executive Branch, headed by the President of the Republic, who is elected by direct vote and remains in office for five years with no re-election but he can be elected after sitting out one electoral period. The president has a Cabinet of Ministers whom he appoints, and is also the Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces.

2. The Legislative Branch, called El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly (unicameral), consisting of 84 deputies.

3. The Judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court, which is composed of 15 judges, one of them being elected as President of the Judiciary.

The political framework of El Salvador is a presidential representative democratic republic with a multiform, multi-party system. The president, currently Nayib Bukele, is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Legislative Assembly. The country also has an independent judiciary and Supreme Court. The 1983 constitution is the highest legal authority in the country.

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