El Salvador: The Truth Commission and the Jesuit Massacre

July 29, 2011 — COHA

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Jennifer Nerby

  • Twenty Salvadoran soldiers await trial in Spain for crimes against humanity perpetrated during the Salvadoran Civil War.
  • The extradition of war criminals to be tried under the Spanish judicial system draws attention to profound weaknesses in Salvadoran trial.
  • A growing number of Salvadorans are beginning to show unease that the nation’s moderate President Mauricio Funes will move the country beyond the social causes of conflict in the 1980s.

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An Analysis of El Salvador’s Political and Economic Realities: Can Funes Succeed?

22 May, 2009 – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

  • The country must overcome partisan differences and deal with a crippled economy
  • Moderate views and a concession-minded president may be the wrong prescription for the troubled nation
  • Will El Salvador finally break its bad luck?

El Salvador’s President-elect Mauricio Funes is scheduled to take office on June 1, and will be confronted with some of the same grievances that have been perpetually plaguing the embattled Central American country. His situation, however, is unique, as he will be the first left-leaning president in El Salvador’s tumultuous post-war history. Even though he represents the leftist party Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), Funes sees himself as a moderate idealist in his political views and has high aims for his moderate administration. However, the opposition party, Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) will heavily scrutinize the expected policy changes and is unlikely to meekly succumb to them. His success in actually implementing his policies will depend on the resolve of the opposition (possibly forming a center-right coalition to block the pro-FMLN legislation in the upper house), and his response to the political pressures being registered by radical elements in his own party. During his campaign, Funes vowed to respect ‘all Salvadoran democratic institutions.’ Yet campaign promises can be broken as easily as they are made, and it is not assured that these democratic changes will indeed be allowed to occur if ARENA is unwilling to compromise.

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Video: Past is present in Latin America Part One

At Summit Obama interested in looking forward, while many live the past every day – El Salvador report

In their first ever meeting, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave US President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s classic historical essay, Open Veins of Latin America. A best-seller in Latin America, the book is arguably the most complete history of imperialism in the region. And the move by Chavez represents the importance of understanding the context of the rise of the left in Latin America if you want to work with Latin America. But when Obama got to the podium, he announced “I didn’t come here to debate the past, I came here to deal with the future.” The most recent country to join Latin America’s leftist block is El Salvador, with the election of the FMLN’s Mauricio Funes to the presidency. Salvadoran anthropologist Ramón Rivas believes that the only way mutual understanding can be achieved is with a commitment to understanding the present, by learning the past.

Ramón Rivas is the Founding Director of the Museum of Anthropology at El Salvador Technological University in the capital of San Salvador. Originally from the department of Cabañas, El Salvador, Rivas received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. He has served as dean of the El Salvador Tech´s Art and Culture School, and sat on El Salvador´s National Council for Culture and Art. He writes a weekly column in the Salvadoran newspaper El Diario Co-Latino.
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COHA: Salvadoran Presidential Election – A Brief Analysis of the Implications of the FMLN’s Big Win

Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate Mauricio Funes emerged as the narrow victor in El Salvador’s March 15 presidential election, with 51 percent of the vote. Funes overcame the fiercely negative and patently unfair campaign waged by the opposition National Republican Alliance (ARENA) and other right-wing organizations backing their candidate, Rodrigo Ávila. Those who were worried, including COHA, that a massive plot would be hatched by ARENA to steal votes in order to throw the race to Ávila were proven mistaken, and first reports indicate that electoral tampering was not a major factor in the contest.

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COHA: A Warning for President Obama: Speak out on El Salvador or Jeopardize Prospects to Revive Latin American Relations

  • Salvadoran election campaign hijacked by right-wing scare tactics, threatening U.S. hostility
  • Republican congressmen call for sanctions in the event of an FMLN victory
  • COHA, scholars and representatives urge Obama and Clinton to speak out and promise a neutral stance from Washington

As the El Salvadoran population goes to the polls this Sunday, March 15, to elect a new president, there are serious grounds to doubt whether the vote will be free and fair. There is a huge disparity in campaign funding between the parties, rising levels of violence, and concerns over the impartiality of the Supreme Court, Electoral Tribunal and much of the media. Moreover, the right wing ruling party ARENA and ultra-conservative NGO fuerza solidaria have spread a campaign of disinformation that threatens to destabilize the country and undermine its democratic institutions.

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"Leftists Poised to Win Presidency in El Salvador: New Report Examines Implications"

After 17 years since the end of El Salvador’s civil war, the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) is poised to accomplish what its guerrilla predecessors never did: take over the national government.  Reliable polls unanimously project that FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes will win the March 15 presidential elections.  What all this means for El Salvador — and Latin America — is the subject of the new, in-depth report, ‘The 2009 El Salvador Elections: Between Crisis and Change.’

A victory by Funes would break 20 years of one-party rule by the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), opening a new progressive chapter in the country’s long, violent history of war and dictatorships.  ‘The historical importance of the FMLN taking power cannot be overstated for this small Central American country,’ says Teo Ballvé, a contributor to the report and member of the North American Congress on Latin America.

If the FMLN wins, El Salvador will be joining an ever-growing group of left-leaning governments in Latin America.  The arrival of Barack Obama’s administration augurs well for the FMLN’s aspirations.  ‘In the past, El Salvador has been squarely under Washington’s thumb,’ says Ballvé.  ‘But with Obama in the White House, the country has a better chance of charting a truly independent path.’

Although a majority of Salvadorans have high hopes for meaningful social change, a Funes administration will also face tremendous challenges: economic turmoil, grinding poverty, a virulent opposition party, rampant violence, and others.  Funes has promised a ‘people-centered’ government to tackle these problems.  According to Ballvé, ‘It won’t be easy or quick, but the FMLN has an incredibly strong grassroots movement in its corner to help it fight against the entrenched interests that have blocked reforms in the past.’

Topics in the report range from the campaigns and the economy, to militarization and the diplomatic front, and much more.  These sections are, in turn, divided into more specific issues, such as free trade, water privatization, Plan Mexico, regional integration, and potential relations with the new Obama administration.  This timely report seeks to reflect on El Salvador’s current situation as well as the possibilities and challenges ahead at this pivotal moment for the nation’s future.

The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), and Upside Down World collectively edited the report.

Download the Report: nacla.org/elsalvador2009.pdf

Source: MRZine – Monthly Review

For more information, contact: Burke Stansbury, CISPES, 202-521-2510, burke(AT)cispes(dot)org; and Christy Thornton, NACLA, 646-613-1440, teo(AT)nacla(dot)org.

COHA: Mixed Results In Salvadoran Elections

  • U.S. Embassy’s historically interventionist role
  • Ambassador Rose Likins, among others, had led campaign to block FMLN from winning the ballot
  • Tony Saca and his predecessors slavishly aspire to be Washington’s best friend in Latin America

A little over a week after polls closed in El Salvador’s municipal and legislative elections, the opposing parties began to prepare for yet another round of campaigning. Although the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has lost the mayoral ballot in the capital city of San Salvador, it seems likely that, for the first time in twenty years of right-wing rule, the former guerrilla party has a good chance to win the upcoming presidential ballot in March. In the recently staged elections it was able to gain three seats in the legislative assembly, winning a total of 42.5 percent of the votes, trailed by the currently governing Nationalist Republican Alliance Party (ARENA), with 38.4 percent of the tally.

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