Mauricio Funes on US relations

In recent posts I've highlighted comments by the US Ambassador to El Salvador on the relationship of the two countries as well as remarks made by president Tony Saca to the Miami Herald where he complained about US failures to implement immigration reform and to invest more in Latin America. To round out this theme, here are a set of recent remarks which FMLN candidate for president, Mauricio Funes, made to the international press as reported in ContraPunto:

"Con Washington hemos comenzado contactos y lo que hemos exigido es una relación de respeto y de no injerencia como ha sido en el pasado cuando funcionarios de alto nivel amenazaron al FMLN si ganaba éste las elecciones", aseguró Funes, en referencia a la campaña que algunos funcionarios estadounidenses llevaron a cabo referente a que si la izquierda hubiese ganado en 2004 se entorpecería el flujo de remesas hacia El Salvador...

"With Washington we have begun contacts and what we have demanded is a relationship of respect and not of meddling as had been the case in the past when high level officials threatened the FMLN if it won the elections," asserted Funes, in reference to the campaign some US officials carried out claiming that if the left had won in 2004 it would have interrupted the flow of remittances towards El Salvador.

Por otra parte, Funes aseguró que el FMLN ha madurado y en la actualidad no profesa una política antiestadounidense. "No estamos ni cercanos a Venezuela ni a Cuba ni a Brasil... vamos a tener una política exterior de respeto y de no injerencia", aseguró y añadió que tampoco se integrará a la Alternativa Bolivariana de las Américas (ALBA), proyecto integracionista que lidera el presidente Hugo Chávez.

Moreover, Funes assured that the FMLN had matured and in actuality does not profess an anti-US policy. "We are not close to Venezuela nor Cuba nor Brazil... we are going to have a foreign policy of respect and not meddling," he assured and added that neither would they join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), the integration project led by [Venezuelan] president Hugo Chavez.

“Tenemos que estudiar minuciosamente lo que convenga a El Salvador, debemos recordar que hay más de dos millones de salvadoreños en Estados Unidos y que hacia ahí se dirige más del 60 por ciento de nuestra economía”, dijo Funes, quien igualmente recalcó que no eliminará el dólar como moneda nacional ni eliminará el tratado de libre comercio con Estados Unidos, tal como anteriormente pregonaba el FMLN.

"We have to study closely that which is suitable to El Salvador, we ought to remember that there are more than two million Salvadorans in the US and that directed from there is more than 60 percent of our economy," said Funes who stressed equally that he will not eliminate the dollar as the national currency nor eliminate the free trade agreement with the US as previously proclaimed by the FMLN.

Funes afirmó también que una de sus primeras medidas será pedirle perdón a la sociedad salvadoreña, en nombre del Estado, por los daños que se sufrieron durante la guerra civil. "Esto es una prioridad, pero no implicará una cacería de brujas contra particulares", añadió.

Funes affirmed also that one of his first measures will be to ask for pardon from Salvadoran society, in the name of the state, for the injuries suffered during the civil war. "That is a priority, but it will not mean a witch hunt against particular individuals," he added.

(any errors in translation are mine -- corrections are welcome)


El-Visitador said…
Funes has had already to backtrack on some of his more out-of-the-party-line comments.

For instance, at first he said the terrorist FARC should disarm. Faced with disappoval from the FMLN's FARC buddies, Funes had to "clarify" that he only meant it as long as the Republic of Colombia disarms itself first.


Is Funes our Obama, telling some people what they want to hear and other people what they want to hear?
Unknown said…
I have a personal theory, based on nothing but on the fact that I hope and, so far, believe Funes to be smarter than most anybody else believes him to be. And I only hope that he is smarter than believed, in case the FMLN wins, as his wisdom would mean that this would be a less damaging scenario for El Salvador.

My theory is this: Funes might still be a, left winger yes, but also a politician who aspires to be independent from the FMLM,and who actually has a personal political programme to fulfill.

How will we find out if that this is so? Well, if he is to be independent from the FMLN, he will first and foremost, upon being elected, insure the loyalty of the Police and Armed Forces to the Presidency of the Republic as he will be, constitutionally their supreme commander. He will either disband the intelligence organism of the state, or he will fill it up with his own people, and not those of the fmln or venezuela or cuba. He will appoint a cabinet where the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Hacienda and the Minister of the Interior ARE NOT FMLN members or former combatants or former comandantes.

An absolutely difficult task to remain independent of the FMLN? Possibly in the short run he could sustain independence from the party, but who knows in the long run, with party pressure, a split in the National Assembly's FMLN faction and street movilizations by the violent pressure groups of the party. One measure of how independent he seeks to be,is the degree to which he will influence the composition of the list of candidates for Diputados at the National Legislative Assembly in the coming elections.

If upon wining the presidential elections, he fails to insure the loyalty of the armed forces of the state, secure the intelligence for himself and appoint key independent ministers loyal to his project, he will prove that he is merely a puppet, and then we will have a very bad scenario in El Salvador.

Anonymous said…
chishi makes a very sound remark here. funes is winning many votes from politically non-aligned people such as myself because of his stance as more of a centrist or left-center at least. problem is, he is riding the fmln's party platform to get to the presidency, and if he snubs them once in power, the power may find they wasted their ticket on him, so yeah they will pressure him to give party members the key executive positions and the bureaucracy. the smart thing for funes to do is to get as many people who are loyal and accountable to him alone as possible, but still give the fmln their dues for getting him to the presidency. i just hope he is as honest as he appears to be and that the fmln's intentions are to benefit the greater good and they alwayz profess...this may just be the most important presidential elections in salvadoran history...stay tuned...
Hodad said…
inner-self said...
"this may just be the most important presidential elections in salvadoran history...stay tuned..."

right on with that comment,
for sure he{Funes} is an educated compassionate man it seems
Anonymous said…
well now i understand why the comparison between obama and funes of course obama wants to change the usa change in a socialits country thing that for years the history has made clear that socialism dosent work doesnt matter how you put it side up or up side down, now i dont believe any more in funes or obama, and instead of waiting for miracles or belive that the president is the one who is going to save el salvador we are wrong, the power is in within the people!!!!!!, and therefore we as a family we have to educate our children not only the abc's but the ethics, morals and how to solve their problems. companies from the out side is good poduce jobs but the total gain that they make with the poduce is much more than what the employee is getting in his minimum wage so raise the minimun wage in el salvador.
Anonymous said…
I'm with the last anonymous here. Presidents come and go. It's so expensive to win a candidacy, there are always depts to pay after elections.

/Fish Guy.
Hodad said…
I'm with Fish Guy,
of course

up to the people, like Thomas Jefferson said

Senor Pescado