Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New perspective on politics

The blog at the NGO Voices on the Border has recently published some interesting posts on the political situation in El Salvador. Most recently, a post titled A Shift Towards the Center? looked at recent public opinion polls reported in Salvadoran papers to see a possible trend of the population moving towards the political center, while at the same time becoming less partisan or more apathetic.


Anonymous said...

You're right, that is a fair analysis, though of a dubious data set. (I mean, we're talking about polls, let alone Salvador polls.)

Solavá said...

The polls mentioned in the post "A shift towards the center?" is being used by the Arena party to demonstrate that a majority of the Salvadoran population considers itself as belonging to the right.

The truth is that there is no shift towards the center. Center parties have effectively disappeared. Only one centrist congressman is left in our National Assembly: Hector Dada. Centrist politicians within the FMLN were kicked out of the party accused of unethical behavior for not voting along party lines in the Assembly. El Salvador is so polarized that people no longer care for the truth and everything is interpreted in terms or right and left. That's the reason why there are only two parties left in the presidential election. This in itself might not seem so strange in the US where you have a bipartisan system, but in the US there is democracy within the political parties. The notion of an open contest between two strong candidates like Hillary Clinton and a Barack Obama in a Salvadoran party is unthinkable, and not only because such competition is not permissible but because the two ruling parties do not have such strong leaders in their ranks. That's why the FMLN needed an external candidate and why Arena has such a dummy as their candidate.

There is no political center anymore in El Salvador, thanks to the blind and uncritical support that the two major parties have received over the years.

Anonymous said...

Most humans are "centrists". In reality we are conservative about some things and liberal about others.

Only crazies are strict left and right.

Its a shame when there are so few 'centrists' in government.

Charlsie said...


It is neither a shame nor a blessing that there is not a viable "Centrist" power in El Salvador. The only thing I find to be a shame is your apparent ignorance. I have traveled extensively in El Salvador and, let me tell you, neither the Leftist nor the Rightists are "crazies." In fact, they have a better, more honest perspective on politics and the role of government in a democracy than I think many of us have back in the States.

During the Civil War in the United States, 17 years after, would you say that there was a move towards the center? Would you say that the plantation owners from the South through up their arms and said let's compromise? The answer is no. Many of the people who are voting in this election for the first time are those who grew up during the Civil War, either benefiting or losing from the situation. It makes perfect sense why their opinions would be one way or the other because, between 1980-1992 and even years after, any sort of gray area or "Centrist" position was seen as neutrality and neutrality was unacceptable.

The Civil War doesn't end with a Peace Accord, especially when it puts in power a Right-wing government like the case of El Salvador. The Peace Accord was a band-aid for a wound that continues healing, still being pulled apart by "crazies" on the left and right, as you have so aptly named them.