Politics Salvadoran style
Sunday, November 11, saw the general convention of the FMLN, where Mauricio Funes was officially made the party's candidate for president in the 2009 elections. The convention was a huge political rally in Cuscatlan Stadium in San Salvador as more the 50,000 red-shirted supporters assembled to celebrate what many believe is the party's best chance since 1992 to win the top elected position in the country.
You can watch an FMLN video advertising the convention. View a photo gallery from the FMLN of the convention, or watch a short video excerpt of Funes' speech to the filled stadium. You can also read the text in Spanish of Funes' complete speech.
ARENA and its right wing parties in the National Assembly did their best to rain on the FMLN's big event. In the days leading up to the FMLN convention, the National Assembly voted to declare November 11 a day of national mourning in commemoration of the major November 1989 guerrilla offensive in the civil war. That offensive brought fighting to the streets of the capital city of San Salvador. The decision in 2007 to declare for the first time a national day of mourning was an obvious attempt to remind voters of the FMLN's past as a guerrilla fighting movement.
In case the message was too subtle, the conservative daily paper La Prensa Grafica covered the convention with the headline "FMLN embarks on a new offensive" and leads the story with a description of an abortive guerrilla attack on the presidential residence during the 1989 offensive.