Saturday, February 1, 2014

The "Ley Seca" of El Salvador aka Election Prohibition

As El Salvador heads into the craziness of election weekend, the citizens are preparing to vote for their favorite candidate. The previous election boosted the power of social media; however this time more citizens have been able to tune into their first televised presidential debate as well as countless YouTube videos and more, creating more informed citizens. Since I work mostly with college students and more of the middle to upper class of El Salvador the overall feeling is none of the candidates really know what they are doing.  Head over to Tim's El Salvador Blog and read the document posted on the breakdown of the debate for the upcoming elections.  This will help you to see what I am talking about.  Outside of the city the talking points can easily get lost.  Have no fear if you are unsure who to vote for, the Ley Seca is here to help you make a smart decision.

Courtesy of
El Salvador has a Prohibition on Alcohol during all elections lasting from Midnight Saturday morning to Monday. This interesting law essentially means the following:

  1. No one can sell or distribute any alcoholic drinks during the black out period.  The also they all must be covered up or moved from their location.  Makes the Zion Curtain of Utah sound great huh?
  2. If you are drunk you can not vote, and you will be given a fine.
  3. If you are caught selling alcohol you will be fined or if you continue to do so after being fined you can have your business sanctioned or shut down.
  4. If you are throwing your own party, police can intervene and confiscate any open alcohol.  No fines will be charged.

Fines range from $111 to $1,150 US dollars.  So if you are planning on drinking to celebrate or to just watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, do it at home and be quiet!  The idea is to avoid any drunken public protests or violence and to make sure everyone is sober upon voting.  Looking at the candidates and watching the debate many El Salvadorans have told me they wish they could be drunk when they vote.


JordoBaggins said...

That doesn't sound like a completely terrible idea, especially if there has been a problem with this in the past.

BenJoe Markland said...

That is the real question, no one in recent memory can tell me if it has been a problem in the past. I am not necessarily opposed to it except imagine if you are business on Super Bowl weekend and told you have to shut down because you are a bar.

Or that you have power to enter your house and take your alcohol.

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BenJoe Markland said...


WHy are you posting with that profile but linking to a different website?