Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My meeting with the ambassador

On January 15, I met with Charles Glazer, the US Ambassador to El Salvador at the US Embassy. The meeting took place 5 days prior to the end of his tour on January 20, coinciding with the transfer of power to the Obama administration in Washington.

We spoke for about 30 minutes, and in some sense it was like an exit interview, remembering that I had first met the ambassador a few months after he arrived in El Salvador.

On the question of whether the relationship between the US and El Salvador will change if the FMLN wins the presidency, Glazer stated that it would depend on the actions of the FMLN. The US would not alter its relationship with the country simply because one political party or another took power. Instead, the US would react to concrete actions taken by a governing party which are contrary to the ongoing relationship between the countries.

Mauricio Funes is "very bright, an accomplished communicator." Glazer commented that, "A lot of what he says makes a lot of sense," but cautioned that "actions speak louder than words." Time will tell whether a President Funes would follow through with what he has stated about relations with the United States.

Ambassador Glazer spoke warmly of El Salvador and the experiences he had had while serving there. Calling Salvadorans a "welcoming people," he spoke of them as "hard-working" and "wonderfully friendly" and that he sees great potential in the country.

His advice for his successor? "Observe" and "remain neutral"

My own observation is that the US did a reasonably good job so far in the 2009 elections in staying on the sidelines and not taking a public stance which would influence the outcome of the elections. A press release issued today by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which attempts to portray the FMLN as winning the municipal and legislative elections despite massive US intervention, is no more than an anti-US diatribe based on events which took place in 2004 and earlier. Although the ARENA government pleaded for the US to jump into the fray on the side of ARENA, the US and Ambassador Glazer did not. Hopefully that will continue to be US policy under the new administration.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs is really lacking severely in their investigative and analytical skills.

They seem to be a deep resonace box for the deep and orthodox salvadoran left.

And it is nice to see someone recognizing the council's short comings.

El-Visitador said...


There is nothing like first-hand experience to clean up myths, dispel fogs, and clear up the picture.