Miami Herald on the FMLN's presidential hopes

An article today in the Miami Herald looks at the FMLN's prospects in upcoming 2009 presidential elections in El Salvador:
Hoping to ride the Latin American wave of ''21st century socialism,'' El Salvador's former Marxist guerrillas appear to be in their best position ever to win power. Though the vote is more than a year away, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), now a political party, is considered the early favorite after nearly 20 years of right-wing rule by the ARENA party, one of Washington's closest allies in Central America.

Polls suggest that a majority of Salvadorans are ready for change, and the FMLN claims it's ready to capitalize on that sentiment and piggyback on the recent electoral success of other left-wing parties in the hemisphere.

''Like in the 1960s through '80s, when we saw a tendency in Latin America of breaking the dictatorships, there is a new movement now to break the current model of government,'' Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the FMLN's vice-presidential candidate, told The Miami Herald.

''People want more democracy, where the citizens participate and exercise power,'' he said. ``This is the new current in Latin America, and the left is better prepared to lead it.''...

''The FMLN has its best chance to win now, not because it is doing things well, but because there has been no renovation on the [political] right,'' said Hector Silva, a former FMLN mayor of San Salvador who later defected from the party. ``There is a feeling that now is the moment for the left.''

Sánchez said that the FMLN's choice of [TV news personality Mauricio] Funes has ''confused the right'' and signifies ``an alliance between the party and the people.'' ... The FMLN softened its revolutionary message into one of ``peace and hope for a new El Salvador.''

Sánchez said his campaign hasn't even mentioned socialism or revolutionary change.

What kind of a government would the FMLN bring to El Salvador? The Miami Herald asked others on El Salvador's political left wing:
Not everyone is convinced the FMLN has changed much.

Facundo Guardado, a former guerrilla leader and the FMLN's presidential candidate in 1999, said his former party's hard-line Stalinist element has taken over. Attempts to reform the FMLN and make it more of a Social Democratic party over the years have failed, he said, resulting in massive defections over the past decade.

''The FMLN was more democratic during the war,'' Guardado said. ``Now they are fascinated with authoritarianism and fundamentalism.''

Guardado says he has no doubt that if the FMLN wins, El Salvador will become the next partner in Hugo Chávez's ''21st century socialism,'' forming a Central American bloc with Nicaragua. FMLN municipal governments already buy discounted oil from Venezuela.

Sánchez downplayed the influence that Chávez has on the FMLN and denied that the Venezuelan leader is funding the party's campaign.


Anonymous said…
It's very surreal to call Mauricio Funes stalinistic. Perhaps Facundo has some sour grape issues, now that comandantes such as himself aren't at the head of the ticket. Unless one counts Zamora in 1994 (who was not FMLN but CD), this is the first time the party has put forward a noncombatant for president.

Granted, I don't like Chavez and I am troubled when people like Lula support him. Given his experience as one of El Salvador's most independent journalists, however, I don't think Funes is going to be too cozy with Chavez.
Anonymous said…
the good thing about funes is that he has not been a combatant and that he is very smart. his campaign is going swell and he's making the right moves. i don't know if it's just me, but eventhough that article tried to be unpartisan, you can kinda taste a little bias in its description of the fmln, biased toward the right of course. if chavez is somehow supporting the fmln, at least the fmln is smart enough of keeping it in the down low, so as not to give anything from which arena can launch a dirty campaign. i am still giving my vote to funes in 2009, because regardless of all past and current events, at this very moment in history, funes is the best choice for president in el salvador. period.
El-Visitador said…
«It's very surreal to call Mauricio Funes stalinistic»

Please read the text again. Guardado did not say Funes is Stalinist.

He said the Stalinists now control the party. Remember: the politburo (Comité Político) that appointed funes is made up of one dead and seventeen live hard-core marxists.

The link is to the FMLN's official page.
Unknown said…
"Sánchez said his campaign hasn't even mentioned socialism or revolutionary change."
Funny, because I live in El Salvador and all I see is FMLN everywhere. But this particular flyer that was posted on most street poles said, "Hasta La Victoria Siempre. Socialismo o muerte. FMLN 2009 El Salvador Chavista." Which means until we always have victory, socialism or death. And of course the Venezuelan flag is in the background. I,even, took a picture of it because I was shocked to see such boldness used in their campaign.
Anonymous said…
Those pictures are dirty campaign, no one is so dumb to post something you know would hurt your campaign. Its very sad to see ARENA doing that year after year, and every pole and stone painted with ARENA's flag in the highways...
Anonymous said…
Larry, I am so glad your paying interest of some of the main issues El Salvador is going throug.
Kristal if you live in El Salvador I hope you are living the life. You must live inside a crystal ball or near Saca's home. How can you link such dirty,meaningless,unethical propaganda.
Are you aware of the past 20 years of ARENA running down your country??? I am shocked of your detachment of reality.
Don't take it personal.
To all folks who wrote on this blog . It's a great thing to have our own opinion about each candidate but let's realize ARENA has been playing dirty election after election. Let's put a stop to all the money Cristiani, Calderon,Paquito Flores and now Saca has taken from El pueblo.
I am saddened to see my country run poor and full of ignorance for over 20 years. It's time for a change and let's all do our parts and before opening our mouths think about the future our our dead soldiers, guerrilleros but mos of all all the innocents that lost their lives for a prosperous El Salvador
Unknown said…
I did not say I agree with ARENA nor Saca. However, you can't believe that having Funes as President would help El Salvador's condition. I know how corrupt the government is. I experience it often. Especially, in certain areas that I work in. This whole "Mano Duro" issue with the gangs when the real problem is actually the government. The government is moving more drugs through the country than any street gang member. I work with the kids that come from the poorest of poor areas. I know how El Salvador and the people are suffering. But I also know that it is ridiculous to think that Funes does not have any connection with Chavez. I also have many friends who are from Nicaragua and if you sit down and talk to them about Ortega they will tell you he has not done anything for them. In fact, while I was in Nicaragua this past summer I was caught in two protests by the people against the government. The people are miserable and they are hurting. Many Nicaraguans are having to do the same thing the Salvadorans are doing such as leaving their home country to go somewhere else to work and send money back. For the Nicaraguans it is easier to come to Costa Rica. It is ridiculous the amounts of money they make by just being a guard in CR compared to working in Nicaragua. This is the course that El Salvador has been on and it is just going to become worse. I do not think that Funes is going to move ES in the correct direction. Communism is a great idea but it is not the answer. Unfortunately, I do not know what is. Because what El Salvador has now is not working. However, I do believe that the people want Funes and if he does not win it is because of complete corruption. If you walk the streets of Apopa, Las Delicias, Soyapango, ect. you see nothing but Funes and FMLN painted all over the place. If Funes wins and does help the people than great. For me, I just want to see my friends and the children I work with have a better future whatever that rode may be.