Thirty-three members of Congress signed a letter last week asking the Obama administration to make it clear that the US will be neutral and respect the outcome of the presidential election. In part, the letter states:
As Members of Congress, we reject the threats of 2004 and any effort to instigate another US intervention in Salvadoran politics. We feel that U.S. immigration policy should not be made into a political instrument used to influence foreign elections. Similarly, we reject the suggestion that the US government would seek to financially punish Salvadorans, in this country or in El Salvador, for exercising their right to elect a government of their choosing. As members of Congress, we will not support any such measure.
We believe that the proper position of the U.S. Congress and government is one of neutrality and respect for El Salvador’s independent democratic process, thus allowing the Salvadoran people to make a free choice of personal conscience, a choice which can only be done in the absence of coercion and threats.
You can read the full text of the letter here and you can also watch a video interview of Congressman Paul Grijalva of Arizona who was one of the prime backers of the letter.
I completely agree with the sentiments in this letter. And so it was with complete disgust that I read remarks submitted today to the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican representing Orange County, California, which calls on the US to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans and to control the flow of remittances back to El Salvador if Mauricio Funes wins this Sunday's election. These remarks, submitted to the public record, can be seen as nothing but a cynical ploy to influence the election and to help ARENA campaign on the basis of fear, just as it did in 2004.
To those readers of this blog who are Salvadoran, please realize that Rohrabacher's letter does not reflect in any way the policy of the US government. A Congress member can say anything he wants in any forum -- but it doesn't make it true or right. The real question I have -- who is the source who wrote these remarks and gave them to Congressman Rohrabacher to put in the record, three days before the election?