Saturday, December 17, 2005

Political fanatics

El Salvador's political discourse is marked by extremes on both the right and the left. The November 9 edition of Proceso is now available in English on the web, and has a strong critique of the rhetoric of both ARENA and the FMLN. Here is the conclusion:

The fanaticism of the right-wing as well as the fanaticism of the left-wing follows the slogan "“either you are with me, or against me"”. In the case of the fanaticism of the right-wing, the enemies of ARENA are all of those that do not see the FMLN as an enemy. On the other hand, for the left-wing, those who do not see the government or ARENA as the source of all evil can be nothing but the friends of the right-wing and the enemies of the FMLN. In either case, the enemies have to be treated as such: in the post-war period, the insults, the denigration, and the threats became - since there is not a more drastic solution - the favourite resource of the fanatics of both sides. For them, democracy -– the little democracy that the country has - is one of the worst abominations. Because democracy makes them coexist - whether they like it or not - with the enemy.

This fanaticism on both sides leads the FMLN to cut off its popular mayor of El Salvador, Carlos Rivas Zamora, for attending the inauguration of ARENA president Tony Saca. This fanaticism leads the conservative El Diario del Hoy to write a headline "FMLN advocates for murderers" when FMLN representatives held a meeting to learn about conditions in one of El Salvador's violent and overcrowded prisons. It is no wonder that the political parties are trusted by less than 10% of the population. El Salvador deserves better.

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