More friends in the neighborhood

Rafael Correa's tweet tells us what just happened in El Salvador:

Rafael Correa ‏@MashiRafael 30m

Terminaron escrutinios en El Salvador. FMLN vencedor.
Felicitaciones al presidente electo, compañero
Salvador Sánchez. Un abrazo al bravo...

Or, we have how Bloomberg put it:

In the final tally, Vice President Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front defeated Norman Quijano, 67, of the Arena party by 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent, according to results from the March 9 election released today by the tribunal. The final count put the margin of victory at 6,364 votes out of 3 million ballots cast, compared with 6,634 in the first tally, according to the tribunal’s website. Quijano has alleged the election was marred by fraud.

Note that this was a second ballot. Sanchez got way more votes than anyone else running in the first ballot but missed the 50% required to win in El Salvador. If anyone should be talking about fraud, it is not Quijano as polls showed him 10 to 18% behind Sanchez.

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Ex-ambassador's viewpoint

There was a very worthwhile editorial titled, "Don’t Fear El Salvador’s Leftists" (1/30/14, NY Times) by William Walker. (Not related to the great, though misunderstood villain of Nicaragua's formative years; this Wm Walker was US ambassador to El Salvador from 1988 to 1992.) The F.M.L.N. is the party of El Salvador’s onetime leftist guerrilla army. Elliott Abrams, ex Reagan hawk during El Salvador’s civil war, sounded the alarm that they were likely to win at the beginning of this year in the Washington Post.

Walker on the Salvadoran civil war: "Both sides used terror, but government forces and civilian right-wing militias were among the most promiscuous by far. Few Salvadorans can forget the bodies, the disappearances, the torture of loved ones carried out by American-supported security forces, all in the name of defeating Communism."

Peace was negotiated in 1992. The party of the right won three successive elections. "Lawlessness, corruption, poverty and narcotics trafficking all worsened during these years, and little was done to improve the lives of the poor." In 2009 elections the F.M.L.N. first won the right to govern fairly. "After five years in power, the F.M.L.N. has played down leftist rhetoric and has come to realize — enthusiastically and publicly — that El Salvador needs to work with the United States to confront its problems." So said Walker.

Walker's message: respect the people's democratic choice.

I Understand Sanchez

is pretty mainstream, more an Ortega than a (pretend lefty) Correa, a (real lefty) Morales, or a (who knows what he is) Maduro . . .??

I get the feeling from from my travels through El Salvador that the people are firmly in the capitalist mode, like working for a living rather than slopping at the government trough.

The country has some problems with crime (I've never seen it, feel very safe there), but the economy seems vibrant. Lots of smiling, friendly people everywhere. The coast is spectacular, cliff views, beautiful beaches. Roads are generally very good. I always wish I had more time to spend there.

Many El Salvadorans speak very good English, having spent time in the US. The border people are always helpful and friendly.

Must be the "other" El Salvador

Thanks for your FOX News-style summary of Latin American presidents. :-)

Your El Salvador experience seems to have been different that mine plus information from relatives there and a friend who used to live there. For regular people it is generally too expensive to live there. One of the reasons is that El Salvador cannot feed itself.

I guess a real giveaway on talking about different people is that I have talked to a few hundred salvadoreños and have yet to find one who spoke English. I am sure they exist but I have yet to encounter one.

A number of them who were expelled from the US...

…apparently speak English.

I suspect your rule for people who speak English outside of Gringolandia might apply even more so in areas where the US has expelled many people for petty and not so petty crimes (and Nicaragua also has these, just not in high numbers).

The ruling party in El Salvador is, if I understand correctly, the one formed by the guerrillas when everyone went to the table rather than the mountains, though not from the actually fighting stock. Interesting book on all three wars: AFTER THE REVOLUTION Gender and Democracy in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, by Ilja A. Luciak. Guatemala gets less press than Nicaragua but that was 25 years of rather brutal civil war.

Rebecca Brown

In All Fairness

I have never been to San Salvador, so my presentation of the country is probably skewed

I always take the "beach route", then turn north to San Miguel, and from there to the Honduran border.

So my experience IS limited to a relatively prosperous slice of the country. They are used to tourists, I see a lot of what are probably young surfers.

Going south like that I also see a very prosperous slice of Guatemala which is probably not representative of the country. Fair skinned Guatemalans eating in expensive restaurants, their kids well dressed with braces on their teeth,, and smart phones.

I don't question that vast differences in income and wealth exist throughout CA (and in the US, for that matter). I just differ in the way I think these differences should be addressed.

I believe that socialism and communism lower the bar for everyone. East Germany vs West Germany, North Korea vs South Korea,, Cuba,, are good examples. Everyone is equally impoverished, and human capital is squandered.

We used to have the social mobility in the US that enabled someone poor who wanted the brass ring, to grasp it. We were the envy of the world. That success has become much more difficult to achieve . . If Obama had his way we would all be equally poor, except for himself and Reggie, of course.


He's a politician -- not the leftist that you fantasize him to be, not the leftist that some of my friends hoped he'd be.

Sometimes I wonder if you're on the Cuban dime, trying to make the right wing Obama-haters look like kooks.

Rebecca Brown