SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNN) – President Barack Obama is cutting his Latin America trip short by a few hours to tend to the ongoing situation in Libya.
The president was scheduled to depart San Salvador for Joint Base Andrews at 3:30pm eastern time on Wednesday afternoon after visiting San Salvador’s Metropolitan Cathedral to see the Tomb of Father Romero and touring the nearby Andres Mayan Ruins.
Instead, the White House moved the Cathedral visit to Tuesday evening, and canceled the tour of the ruins.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNN) – In the end, President Obama apparently decided that photos of him touring historic remnants of a collapsed society might not be the best image for a commander-in-chief fending off charges even from Democrats that his Libya policy is in shambles.
The controversy over the decision to use U.S. military force has gotten so intense that at a news conference here Tuesday, Obama calmly pushed back at his critics by declaring the effort to stem the humanitarian crisis in Libya has paid important dividends by avoiding a massacre of civilians.
"We have already saved lives," Obama said at a joint news conference here with President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador.
And for the record, White House aides insist the decision to skip a long-scheduled tour of Mayan Ruins on Wednesday was merely a "logistical" matter because Obama now has to conduct a secure call with his national security team in the morning before heading back to Washington.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNN) – Several hundred protestors took to the streets in El Salvador’s capital city ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit here.
At two separate demonstrations, Salvadorans spoke out against U.S. immigration policy, U.S. military installations in Central America, as well as the recent U.S. involvement in the situation in Libya.
Immigration is one of the issues President Obama discussed with his Salvadoran counterpart, as there are an estimated 217,000 undocumented Salvadorans with Temporary Protective Status (TPS) living in the U.S. Those Salvadorans send remittances back home, accounting for an estimated 17% of their country’s GDP.
The Salvadorans initially received TPS in 2001 after a series of devastating earthquakes in El Salvador, and they must remain in the U.S. or they will forego that status. The Department of Homeland Security has renewed this policy every few years since 2001; the latest extension expires in March of 2012.
Many Salvadorans believe these renewals only delay comprehensive and permanent immigration reform.
The White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and six levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, and three elevators.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama's trip to Latin America continues today in El Salvador. Obama and Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes will meet and then hold a brief press conference at 4:55pm ET.
The full schedule can be found after the jump