People in San Salvador, El Salvador. Editorial credit: bumihills /

El Salvador

Elections in El Salvador are largely credible and free. However, corruption is a serious problem that undermines democracy and rule of law, and violence remains a grave problem. Authorities have pursued a harsh, militarized response to the country’s gangs, resulting in allegations of abuse. The country has a lively press and civil society sector, though journalists risk harassment and violence in connection with work related to gang activity or corruption.

FIW 2021 crop 2 cover photo

Freedom in the World — El Salvador Country Report

El Salvador’s status declined from Free to Partly Free in Freedom in the World because criminal groups continue to commit acts of violence and intimidation against politicians, ordinary citizens, and religious congregants, and because the justice system has been hampered by obstruction and politicization.