El Salvador Left Poised for Election Victory: FMLN Party Promises a People-Centered Government

March is upon us and that means El Salvador’s presidential elections in two weeks. A preview from upsidedownworld is below. Read and enjoy. Stay tuned for all the latest on El Salvador as we approach the pivotal date. Also of note, because of these elections, tensions are rising across the country, which makes the probable victory of the FMLN even more spectacular. As we get closer, I will be writing more off the cuff assessments of this battle in El Salvador – as well as a new essay when the elections are finished.

    El Salvador Left Poised for Election Victory: FMLN Party Promises a People-Centered Government
    by Erica Thompson
    fmln-victoria-2009

      “An historical event is underway in El Salvador. For the first time, a government especially dedicated to the popular sectors is possible. The current government, subjected to the interests of small groups, has shown their inability to lead the country for the common good. A new government is born precisely of the hope of citizens to break the pattern and install a government that will be at the service of the entire Salvadoran population.” – Programa de Gobierno – Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front

    In less than two weeks, three to four million people will mobilize to vote for El Salvador’s next president. It is widely believed that the results of the March 15th election will open a new progressive chapter in the country’s long, violent history of military and civil dictatorships. A victory for leftist Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) party candidates Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sanchez Cerén seems eminent. Despite a dirty campaign against the left, rampant fraud from the right, and heavy police presence at the polls in legislative and municipal elections on January 18th, voters catapulted the FMLN party into position as the first political force in the country, setting the stage for another win in March.

    The FMLN’s path to national influence has been cleared with machetes and defended with roadblocks, organized with political caravans and public forums, door-to-door discussions, thousands of marches, inspiring speeches, and political struggle within the government. Its transition from peasant uprising to major political party has been made possible by unions, students and campesinos, vendors and families, teachers and nurses, mothers and migrants. Funes has maintained solid backing from El Salvador’s broad-based social movement and the party has found new key support as well from a sizable Salvadoran immigrant business community in the United States and from rural communities and small and middle-sized business sectors in El Salvador that are outraged with the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party’s economic policies and systematic siphoning of public resources.

    ARENA has tried to divide support for the FMLN by portraying a criminal image of the party and attributing its popularity to Funes, a journalist who critics call a “political moderate who only serves for the photos.” But the FMLN’s current popularity is not an isolated phenomenon and Mauricio Funes isn’t the anomaly the right would like us to believe. It is true that Funes’ candidacy has strengthened the FMLN’s chances of winning. His 20 years of investigative journalism and popular morning news show, The Interview, which provided people a forum to challenge the government’s actions and official reporting, has given millions of Salvadorans a long look at Funes and a wide-open view into his politics. For this work he is widely respected. It is also true that the FMLN’s current popularity is very much in line with increasing electoral gains the party has made in past elections.

    (Continue reading)

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~ by Daniel on March 2, 2009.

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