Overcoming a troubling political past, El Salvador has cooperated with its neighbors and The Carter Center in seeking peace and human rights in the Americas.
The Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize was awarded posthumously in 1991 to six Jesuit priests executed on Nov. 16, 1989, by members of the Salvadoran military for their human rights activities. It was presented in their honor to the Human Rights Institute of the University of Central America. President Carter said at the presentation, "If we add the courage of ... the Jesuit martyrs to our present strength and influence, then a world of peace and human rights, God willing, will someday be ours."
President Carter and the late Dominique de Menil established the $100,000 prize to promote the protection of human rights. It has been awarded to individuals or organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of human rights, enabling human rights activists to continue their work and focusing global attention on their struggles for justice.
Although Latin America spends relatively less on defense than most other regions, expenditures on expensive weapons systems divert scarce foreign exchange from more effective investments, including education. They also compel neighbors to spend more on defense and, by doing so, generate international tensions. Concerned about an arms race in Latin America, the Carter Center's Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas urged governments in the region to pause before embarking on major arms purchases. Between April 1997 and March 1998, 28 current and 14 former heads of government signed a pledge to accept a moratorium of two years on purchasing sophisticated weapons. Among the signatories was El Salvador President Armando Calderon Sol.
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Size: 21,041 square kilometers
Population: 6,141,350 (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 36.5% (2010 est.)
Ethnic groups: mestizo, white, Amerindian, black, other
Life expectancy: 74 years
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormon, other religions, none
Languages: Spanish, Nawat (among some Amerindians)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016