For our latest print issue on youth in Latin America, we asked leading young politicians, artists and entrepreneurs from around the region about the biggest challenge facing youth in their country today. See all of their answers here.
In my lifetime, El Salvador has always been at war with itself. Though we signed a peace treaty in 1992 and gained liberties we previously lacked, violence is still profoundly ingrained in our culture. The Salvadoran experience is a turbulent one, especially for our youth, as involvement in drug and gang-related activity has become a mechanism for survival, thus making our nation a fixture on lists of most violent countries.
Healing our bruised society is a complex issue on many fronts, pertaining to public health as much as our educational and political systems. Trauma from exposure to violence often happens in the early stages of life, thus creating a vicious, generational cycle, and in many instances, bringing the promise of a bright future to a halt.
There is no denying that we are a resilient, hard-working people, although we have experienced several natural disasters that have been just as detrimental to our society as the corrupt leaders who have failed to implement effective long-term solutions. The same laws and the same rulers will take us to the same places, which is why there is hope in this new wave of leaders who have emerged and are committed to providing El Salvador’s youth with the opportunities they deserve.
Johnny Wright Sol is a Congressman for ARENA in El Salvador