ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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End of an Era in El Salvador

The victory of the left in El Salvador after years of right wing rule is a landmark event in central America.

The victory of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in the recently concluded presidential elections in El Salvador marks the end of an era – of conservative rule, a guerrilla war, of direct and “silent” US intervention and of years of failures by the opposition to overthrow an entrenched elite. For some, the FMLN victory signifies a break from nearly 130 years of dictatorial rule in the tiny central American nation, that has been ravaged by widespread poverty, endemic crime and unemployment.

FMLN, an erstwhile revolutionary guerrilla organisation that took part in the civil war in the country between 1980 and 1992, managed to finally win the presidential elections by pitching Mauricio Funes, a former journalist, as its candidate. Funes, who presented a moderate image and belongs to the social democrat section of the par t y, managed to win despite being vilified by t he opponent r ight wing party, Arena, for being an “acolyte” of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The slander campaign against Funes and against the FMLN in general did result in a much closer contest, with Funes winning about 51% of the vote after being the favourite in the run-up to the polls. The FMLN’s presidential face for the previous elections was the dynamic guerrilla leader and Marxist, Schafik Handal, who died recently.

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