The dirty campaign has arrived

This photo from El Faro shows the early start of campaign tactics heading towards 2009 national elections in El Salvador. The signs appearing on trees and posts in San Salvador speak of "FMLN 2009 -- El Salvador Chavista ," a reference to Hugo Chavez, the outspoken leftist leader of Venezuela. The FMLN says these signs are not part of its campaign, instead they appear to be part of the right's play book to tie the FMLN in the public's mind to Venezuela and Cuba (not very hard to do given the FMLN's traditional admiration of Chavez and Castro). ARENA hopes to play on fears of how the US would react to a government in El Salvador tied to Venezuela.


El-Visitador said…
«The FMLN says these signs are not part of its campaign»

And you believe them?

All you have to do is visit the official FMLN website to get a taste of their Chavismo! Their words, not mine:

integration with lefty organizations of Venezuela

infinite thanks to Venezuela right at the top of their VP Candidate's Nomination Acceptance

we celebrate the great victory of Chavez

I mean, on just what basis do you even take the FMLN at its word here, that you title this post "the dirty campaign has arrived"?

You concede that "not very hard to do given the FMLN's traditional admiration of Chavez", yet at the same time you title the post as if somehow the FMLN were truly the "victim" of a campaign.

Sorry, but based on available evidence, your post looks as if you are carrying water for one side here.

I mean, the least to be done here is re-title "has a dirty campaign arrived?"
Tim said…

I was just repeating what El Faro put in its article. I do believe that the FMLN is not responsible for the signs, but as you point and my post points out -- there is a ring of truth to them. The challenge for Funes, if the FMLN is going to capture voters outside of its traditional base of 25-30%, will be to define a leftist government that is uniquely Salvadoran and not identical to the Castro/Chavez program. It's not clear that is going to happen.
Anonymous said…
The FMLN has a "uniquely Salvadoran" leftist platform and it is precisely because of that platform that the US government is determined to prevent an FMLN presidency. As in 2004, the great challenge for the FMLN will be to successfully innoculate Salvadorans to the US propaganda and threats. (recall threats to cut off remittanances from US to El Salvador, of mass deportations, and severing diplomatic ties)

Making the FMLN out to be dupes of a foreign power (Venezuela, which the US has predictably deemed a threat to "freedom") just happens to be a central strategy of the US State Department. And you can bet we'll see those same threats aimed at blackmailing the Salvadoran populace into voting against their interests and for ARENA again.

To claim that it is the FMLN's platform that needs work is to fall into the US/ARENA propaganda trap promoted during and after the 2004 elections: that Schafik Handal and the FMLN are dinosaurs and no longer relevant to the Salvadoran experience. I'm confindent that this election campaign will prove that it's not who the FMLN runs but what the FMLN stands for that makes US imperialism and ARENA determined to defeat the FMLN by any means necessary.

Keeping the US influence out of the elections is the real challenge for the FMLN.
Anonymous said…
there may be a good reason to suspect US involvement in salvadoran elections...but i think the ones who utterly will do anything to impede the fmln from winning in clearly arena. i'm still bitter about how they terrorized salvadoran society by the commercials that salvadorans in the US would get deported just because the fmln might win. i mean, come on, that's plainly cruel. i don't ever hear of cubans and venezuelans getting deported from the united states just because they have socialist governments in their country, on the contrary, in the case of cuba they are given ironic, isn't it? anyways, i agree to establishing a clearly cut salvadoran socialist campaing and government, and yes, the challenge and key to victory for funes and co. will be to win that 15-20% of people who are in the middle, like myself, and who don't want extremes in any event. i mean, respect private enterprise and US diplomatic relations and all, but invest as much as possible on education, health and making salvadoran producers more competitive. simple.
Anonymous said…
The U.S. has would not want to lose one of its best and only allies in Latin America...El Salvador and its ARENA government. Look at U.S. intervention in Nicaragua's elections in 2001, hardly just fanatical PLC party members. One could go on at length about where the U.S. has intervened in Latin American elections. Sure ARENA will do about anything it its desperation to keep the FMLN from winning, but the U.S. will step up the pressure, intimidation, and intervention.
Anonymous said…
The FMLN is largely to blame for its losses. It's not as if it's the big bad wolf and the innocent, little FLMN. Funes is the first pragmatic choice the FMLN has ever made, and it'll be interesting to see if others will follow suit. People are scared of the FMLN because the FMLN has frankly been scary: intolerant of moderates and full of knee-jerk jingoism. Has anyone forgotten the FMLN demonstrators burning the U.S. flag immediately after 9/11???
Anonymous said…
The last anonymous has a valid point in that the FMLN candidates in 1999 and 2004 were not the best choices because they were ex guerrilla commanders and carried the baggage of the war. Funes because he is a candidate with broader popular appeal might actually help the FMLN win the 2009 elections. Could last anon give specific details about FMLN demonstrators burning a U.S. flag right after 9-11? I believe that is ARENA propaganda that was bandied about in those days. Recall that right after 9-11 ARENA used an FAA inspection of the Comalapa airport to claim, quiet falsely that there was some link to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and promptly busted and repressed the airport baggage handlers union. The allegations of flag burning are similar cynical and devious uses of 9-11 by the Salvadoran right-wing to smear the social movement as terrorist and justify repression against it.
Anonymous said…
Ay Dios Mio, this ElVisitador compatriota sounds more like Enrique Altamirano of El Diario de Hoy. Spitting venom out of his mouth. Hating anyone or anything who is not a right wing wacko.
I guess now we know that blogger's true colors! Most of the time he wants to portray himself as a neutral salvadorenio. What a shame!
Anonymous said…
the second to last anonymous is right. i agree. i would vote this time around for funes but wouldn't have otherwise voted for the fmln in 99 and 04 simply because their candidates were actual guerilla commanders. just couldn't trust them to be the face of the govt.
Anonymous said…
I am anonymous #2 in this thread (I posted the "3:27 PM" message regarding the flag burning after 9/11.) I don't believe that the flag burning was ARENA mis-info (though I take the point that ARENA plants plenty of decoys in the press). This was captured by the AP and was posted on Yahoo! News, among other places. I am sure the links are well extinct, but it had every guaranty of being a legitimate story, not like the picture on Tim's blog today.
Anonymous said…
It's me again. Here's a link. How can anyone expect the US or rational people to vote for this type of party? Reading this all over again really gets my goat!
Anonymous said…
There was burning of the American flag! So what? The American government supports nondemocratic governments, always has! They scream against Cuba but get into bed with China. The American government runs El Salvador via a puppet government of the ARENA party. People would not be disrespectful of the USA if its government truly supported the basics democratic fondation in their own constitution.
Anonymous said…
Many Salvadorans of different political persuasions had their solidarity and sympathy for people in the U.S. right after 9-11 attacks. The FMLN issued an official statement condemning the terrorist attacks and expressing solidarity with victims. Why do you hold the FMLN as a whole responsible for an act, flag burning, that was not officially endorsed or carried out by the FMLN and in fact was probably the work of provocateurs? Answer: you're right-wing ARENA government officials jumping on the band wagon of the cynical use of the war on terror to justify closing political space and repression of the social movement and FMLN.
Anonymous said…
So, the FMLN is responsible for nothing? Not even the acts of its own elements, however fringe they are? Even those you would blame on the "evil empire"?

Now is that rational?
Anonymous said…

I invite you to feel free to admit that your views favor El Salvador's left. It's quite is, after all, YOUR blog.

Moreover, your argument that El Salvador's left would be "uniquely Salvadoran." is a toss in the air.

Cuba, Venezuela, China, The Soviet Union...are they not each unique in their own right?

An FMLN win has the potential to isolate El Salvador from the rest of the free world, which could result in an economic downturn.

I will be honest. I am neither an ARENA, nor an FMLN supporter. I believe in balance.
Tim said…
Fish Guy,

I don't like labels like "right" and "left." I'll let what I write here on the blog speak for my views. Obviously I am no fan of ARENA, but I don't think the FMLN has all the answers either. For the record, I think the sign in the photo above is misleading and hence "dirty" because it suggests it was put up by the FMLN and I don't believe it was.

It is perfectly acceptable to campaign against the FMLN by saying that the FMLN will try to model El Salvador after Chavez' Venezuela -- that's a valid criticism. It is incumbent on Funes and the Frente to be clear about which elements of "Chavismo" they would try to adopt and which ones they would not. As E-V points out above, the past public statements of the Frente would lead you to believe they would like to impose much of the "bolivarian revolution" on El Salvador.
Anonymous said…
The dirty campagn is waged every single day by ARENA and the so called "press" of El Salvador. All you have to do is listen to any press conference by any government official or read propaganda, sorry, "opinion/" and editorial pieces in El Diario De Hoy y La Prensa Grafica. Or simply watch the "news" on Salvadoran TV.
Anonymous said…
FTW FMLN. Ya the diario del hoy and LPG will be doing fear tactics again to fear the ignorant. Black propaganda technique by arena and cia.
If they were really thinking, they would be exploiting the ignorant by talking about the cutting off of remesas from the states like they always do in past elections. They usually pull that one out of their ass as a last ditch effort,
oh ya and flood money into these new pop up parties a few months before elections to spread the vote out and having arena win by 1%.
Anonymous said…
After the assassinations of innocent mothers, children, grandmothers, and catholics, who preached liberation theology, It is sickening that there is still support for ARENA. It just shows what kind of world we live in. =(

I believe four years ago, the ambassador for the U.S openly said,that he would have supported the FMLN. Of course, this was after ARENA was announced the victor. What the FMLN has to do, is get a hold of that rally tape and play it like a mariah carrey video.