ARENA campaigns with Saca and fear
Similar to the strategy that worked in the 2004 balloting which elected Tony Saca, ARENA's current campaign is marked by use of explicit fear tactics and the smiling face of the popular Tony Saca. Campaigning across the country for mayors and legislators, Saca explicitly plays to the fears of Salvadorans.
One of the themes of the 2004 election was the warning that if the FMLN won the presidency, Salvadorans living in the US would be deported. That theme is being used again. This weekend, La Prensa reported that Saca played on the current uncertainty over the status of the TPS program which protects more than 200,000 Salvadorans from deportation. As he heads to Washington this week to meet with George Bush, Saca asserted that he will achieve stability in migration matters, but warned his listeners that "If they vote for the FMLN, it is sure that their family members will be deported."
On the campaign trail, Saca has been quick to assert that street protests in the country are orchestrated by the FMLN. Proceso quotes Saca telling the press:
The only guilty party for everything that happened today is the FMLN. Now I understand what "the struggle continues" means: the struggle continues blocking streets, the struggle continues disturbing productive labor, the struggle continues associating themselves with gangs, the struggle continues associating themselves with riots and disorder. It seems to me that the FMLN is taking these desperate actions for the inner struggle among their leaders after Mr. Handal's death. It is a pity that all we Salvadorans pay the price for these problems".
Also over this weekend, gangs torched two buses for the failure of the bus companies to pay the "tax" demanded by the gangs. Without proof or a completed investigation, Saca has already linked the gang actions to the FMLN. El Diario quotes Saca saying today:
"These gangs that burned those micro-buses are related to a political party," and "You know the clear nexus of the FMLN with the gangs... The pre-election violence, the burning of buses or micro-buses or the disorders that close the streets for supposed protests for water ... basically come from people related to the FMLN"
Another type of fear tactic comes from Saca's participation today in ceremonies commemorating the 14th anniversary of the death of Roberto D'Aubuisson, founder of ARENA. For many elements of Salvadoran society, the message of honoring the man who ordered the assassination of Oscar Romero and orchestrated death squad activities in the country, could not be more clear. Campaigning over the weekend, Saca told a rally that "We leave from here to March 12 [elections] to work for the principles that our founder, Roberto D'Aubuisson left us: peace, progress and liberty."
At the same time, the ARENA campaign is trying to convince voters that electing ARENA candidates is necessary to help the popular president govern the country. Under the slogan "Hagamos equipo" -- "We make a team" -- Saca seeks to improve ARENA's representation among mayors and deputies in the National Assembly.
For example, in a rally in La Libertad, as reported in El Diario Saca told the crowd:
"A vote for Chamba [the ARENA candidate for mayor] is a vote for me. All the promises that he has told you we are going to accomplish, that is my commitment."
All polls surrounding the election suggest that the results will be close. Saca and ARENA are reverting to the tactics of fear and a smiling face which have swayed the results in the past.
I acknowledge that there have been street protests where elements have gotten violent and destroyed property, thrown rocks, and even caused injury. In my view the FMLN should forcefully denounce violence in those situations while at the same time upholding the right of the population to demonstrate to show grievances with the government.
Thanhs for being a regular reader.
And the Constitution law says that a member of the army cannot make policy.
He is violating the constitution
Also, I find it abominal that Duabisson is still remembered... "peace, progress, liberty" for whom? Obviously not for the majority of the labor force, obviously not for those of El Mozote... So for whom? For the landlords, again?
In my opinion, USA should stop meddling in such way with international politics, it is things like this that really breed the anti-"American" sentiment on this day and age. I as an Latin American, am tired of being USA's "back yard", part of the Banana Republics, and have Pinochets and Noriegas rise to power.
By the way, if I'm not mistaken, US aid to El Salvador was cut by $15 million, there have been talks of changing some "policy" that basically gave protection to Salvadorean migrants in El Salvador from being immediately deported (due to the civil war), there have been talks of TPS not being renewed... but wait, how can this be happening if ARENA is the one in power? Seems like ARENA's scare tactis are in a way begining to backfire, showing that their seat on the "throne" isn't a guarantee of anything. USA will change it's immigration policy as they see "fit", and this will come with deportations...
Salvadoearns are amazingly resilient and savvy people. I have a distinct feeling that they can perceive reality and political rhetoric. Meanwhile, this is the wildest electon capaign I've ever seen and I'm taking notes.
Best wishes, James
I need the elections right now!!! All about that is so stressful.
I think that the FMLN itself. I am a true critic of the goverment, and I am a leftist, but I am as trong believer of a constructive critizism and oposition. FMLN seems to fail in this, and relay only in poor tactics that give no good results. There is yet a spot vaccant for an inteligent left party, that proposes and contrcutivly critizises insted of just making noise.
I think you are a professor in a local school by the way. Wouldnt that be a coincidence. Well, in a response to your message I have the following to add:
El Salvador is the biggest receptor of Spanish (As in Spain) aid, in the whole world. Spanish aid constitutes the second biggest in the country. have they menddeled in our affairs, in the past 30 years? I can assure you not. That is a clear example of free giving. Even though it is arguable to say that they are somehow paying their damage from colonial times. Anyhow, it would still show a level of responsible comittment. Their goverment is currently socialist, and eventhough they help us the same, as the previous goverment, which was right-winged.
Concerning the mayor of our city: Should I remaind you that 90% of the street care is delegated to the "MOP" who is in charge of the county´s road system itself. There is a conflict of responsabilities between the city´s goverment and the central goverment. The fact that Rivas looks like a "slick" doesn´t imply he is so.
"PEACE, LIBERTY, AND DIGNITY FOR ALL! AND WE SHALL HAVE VERBAL FIGHTS, BECAUSE OUR WORD IS OUR WEPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!"
*Mixture of Zapatista (EZLN) philosophy
Does MOP have the responsibility for for picking up garbage?
Please accept my best wishes to the people of El Salvador as the election campaign enters its final days. James
I think you might be right about the strings atached to aid. But what is the nature of the commitment and responsabilities aquired by acepting such aid. I bet that the "American" aid is the worst to take, but yet the most generous. Ironic isn't it?
The MOP is not in charge of the trash, but isn't trash an issue in most developing countries? And San Salvador has a problem, the municipal workers happen to be under union rules, so they give trouble in that sens.
So to correct you, in no place did I state that I "critizice US political meddling, but wish to retain USAID". No, because frankly I'd like for El Salvador to pay it's international debt, unite with other Central American nations, enter the threshold of DEVELOPED country state, and excersice it's national rule without international intervention (but this is far from happening). What I said on my previous post was commenting on things that WERE happening: TPS supposed to not be renewed (which didn't happen), a desire for a 20 year policy that protected from immediate deportation being revoked, aid to El Salvador being cut by millions. What I wanted to portray by saying this, is that imo, ARENA in power doesn't necessarily guarantee that all of US's foreign policies (or all those that are applicable to the country) wont have a negative impact on us. Clearly, though, it's to the best interest to Cold War-menatality filled US to keep ARENA as the political Head.
So, I'd say that Taiwanese aid with El Salvador is a relationship with "strings" attached, but I beg to differ when talking about US "relation" with Latin America, considering the more than bumpy road...
Like all latin american countries they need e dictator like Pinochet. Ever lived in that country?? it is the best of the whole region.Thanks to him.
Cheers. from Los Angeles