A look at the elections in El Salvador and Honduras

The election in Honduras is a done deal whereas there will be a runoff in El Salvador. A video on TruthOut looks at what is happening and has happened as the beginning of a historic shift.

Historian and Latin America expert Greg Grandin looks at two recent elections in Latin America with historic implications. Despite losing a contested vote in Honduras, Grandin says the LIBRE party of former President Manuel Zelaya has altered the traditional Honduran political balance with newfound gains in the country’s National Congress. Meanwhile in El Salvador, former rebel commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the FMLN is expected to win the presidency next month after just missing the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff vote. Sánchez Cerén is running to replace Mauricio Funes, which would mark the first time an FMLN candidate succeeds another after decades of right-wing governments.

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Out with the old bosses, in with the new bosses.

Great news for left-wing party apparatchiks salivating at the prospect of truckloads of free government-issue zinc roofing sheets to sell on the open market; and aging expat gringos stuck in the last century, when the leaders of the now-pacified Central American guerrilla movements wore Cuban-style khakis and designer eye-shades instead of business suits, and made their livings attending party congresses in the former Soviet Union instead of flying first-class on Singapore Airlines to closed-door meetings with the CEOs of murky multinational conglomerates headquartered in Beijing.

Sánchez Cerén is beyond question a much better choice for El Salvadoreans than the leaders of parties founded by blood-thirsty psychopaths who were educated in torture and genocide at the USA's School of the Americas. God help El Salvador had it chosen one of those monsters. But whom among us truly believe his election will lead to fundamental change in the political system that perpetuates the poverty and violence of everyday life in El Salvador? And if so, why?

I think the electoral success of the FMLN was an exercise in damage control, not social change.