For Immediate Release
New Report on Elections in El Salvador
NEW YORK - 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: Takeover 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."
View the full report (PDF, 708 KB).
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 government's 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.
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The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1966 that works toward a world in which the nations and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are free from oppression and injustice, and enjoy a relationship with the United States based on mutual respect, free from economic and political subordination. To that end, our mission is to provide information and analysis on the region, and on its complex and changing relationship with the United States, as tools for education and advocacy - to foster knowledge beyond borders.