An article in the Salvadoran newspaper El Mundo reports statements by a US official that the US will stay neutral in El Salvador's 2009 presidential elections. The United States will not intervene in El Salvador's political process nor will it take a stance for or against any of the participating political parties, according to remarks attributed to Director of Central American Affairs in the US State Department, John Feeley.
That would be a marked contrast from the US actions impacting the 2004 presidential election in El Salvador. An article in the Christian Science Monitor noted at the time:
[C]omments by US officials may be bolstering ARENA's message. Last Sunday, White House Special Assistant Otto Reich gave a phone-in press conference at ARENA headquarters. According to local newspapers, he said he was worried about the impact an FMLN win could have on the country's "economic, commercial, and migratory relations with the United States."
In February , Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega told voters to "consider what kind of a relationship they want a new administration to have with us." He met with all the candidates except Mr. Handal. Last week, 28 US Congress members sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell saying Mr. Noriega "crossed a boundary" and that his remarks were perceived as "interference in Salvadoran electoral affairs." This week two US congressmen blasted Reich's comments as inflammatory.
Former Salvadoran Ambassador to the United States Ernesto Rivas-Gallont noted in his blog that ARENA is likely to feel disappointed that it is not getting the same overt backing which it enjoyed in 2004.