El Salvador's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marisol Argueta, spoke on September 18, 2008 before the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. You can watch or listen to her remarks at this link. Her speech included a direct appeal for the US to concern itself with the possibility of an FMLN victory in the upcoming elections.
After stating that members of the FMLN have ties to the terrorist organizations ETA and FARC, Minister Argueta stated that "Losing El Salvador will be a lose/lose proposition for both the security and the national interests for both El Salvador and the United States." This could send El Salvador back 30 years to "a time of turmoil." "The security of the United States is at stake in El Salvador," she said quoting Ronald Reagan. She asserted that Latin America faces a threat from a wave of neo-socialism from groups which take power through democratic elections and populist appeals. "If power goes to the wrong hands, El Salvador may well be the next populist failure in the hemisphere."
The remarks by Argueta have prompted solidarity organizations including the SHARE Foundation to call for a letter writing to campaign to president Saca to protest the remarks and to protest the suggestion of US intervention. You can see their model letter at this link.
Argueta's appearance before the American Enterprise Institute has now been followed by the US accusing Venezuela of meddling in the internal affairs of El Salvador reports El Universal:
Charles Glazer, the ambassador of the United States in El Salvador, accused Venezuela of "intervening in internal affairs" of the Central American country, at a time when El Salvador is in the pre-election campaign ahead of the general elections in 2009.
"There is clear interference of Venezuela in the domestic affairs of Salvador, and when that occurs, the media should explain voters what is happening," said Glazer.
However, the diplomat did not specify in what way the Venezuelan government was involved in the internal affairs of the Central American country.
According to statements published on Wednesday by newspaper El Diario de Hoy, Glazer warned that Salvadorians should "be concerned" by some issues such as the advance of Petrocaribe in Central America, despite the fact that El Salvador is not a member country of the ALBA initiative, promoted by Venezuela. Petrocaribe offers payment facilities to partner countries interested in buying oil.
"The United States does not interfere in domestic policies," noted the chief of mission.
This is not the first time that the US has accused Venezuela of attempting to influence El Salvador's upcoming elections. In February of this year, a US intelligence report asserted that Hugo Chavez was planning to provide funding to the FMLN.
Another type of meddling occurred when President Saca spoke to the National Conference of Private Business recently. He called for business owners to consider the dangers to the country posed by a possible FMLN victory and urged them to speak to their employees and to open their eyes and ears so that they can understand. Such actions, Saca urged, were necessary so that the country does not lose 20 years of progress.
It doesn't take much imagination to get the message when your boss comes and tells you that it is very important that you understand the need to vote for ARENA in the upcoming elections. Of course, this is coming from a Saca government which "suggested" to government employees that they needed to show up for a major ARENA election rally.
President Saca has now told the press that he fully supports the Minster of Foreign Affairs, Marisol Argueta, in her speech before the American Enterprise Insitute because El Salvador is a country where there is freedom of expression.