Monday, March 16, 2009

Funes speaks of reconciliation; Avila accepts defeat

On the evening of his historic election as the first president from a leftist party in El Salvador, Funes came to the microphone in the Sheraton Presidente Hotel in San Salvador to declare himself the winner of the elections. After thanking the party members and family who had worked for his election, Funes immediately struck a note of reconciliation, calling to renew the spirit of reconciliation which had been the basis for the 1992 Peace Accords. Noting that ARENA had now "passed into the opposition," Funes also let it be known that he intended to listen to them and they would be "respected and heard." Funes indicated that he would seek to work together with president Tony Saca for a smooth transition of government. Funes struck the moderate leftist themes which had marked his campaign, assuring small, medium and large business owners that he understood the need to have a vibrant economy and a government which was respectful of contract/property rights. But Funes also indicated that his administration would act with a "preferential option for the poor," a reference to liberation theology and the work of murdered archbishop Oscar Romero. El Faro covers the speech here.

Rodrigo Avila came in front of the cameras later with ARENA party faithful and President Tony Saca standing close by. Avila promised a constructive opposition, made a call for unity to his party, and asked God to give wisdom to Mauricio Funes and the FMLN as they govern the country. El Faro covers the speech here.


Molly Neuman said...

Thank you for sharing this information so quickly to followers of the election here. I feel very hopeful for the future of E.S.

Anonymous said...

Back to los angeles. I had hped to blog more often throughout day as int'l observor of elections but got swept up in fervor. This was exciting. This was good. Governing is the hard part.

Overall, I didn't see anything serious that would constitute massive fraud. If anything, the few samll incidents that I witnessed, were quite minor.

Onward and god bless el salvador. It needs to reconcile and funes needs to live up to his commitment to the poor. It is easy to get caught up in the burro-cratic political syste.


Anonymous said...

Wahoo! Congratulations to the people of El Salvador for rising above the tsunami of terror that threatened to rip their right to choose and giving the victory to the forces of change in this El Salvador's most monumental election.

Great tidings would be if Funes, as one of his first dealings as President, saw a Freedom of Information Act take form, as well as the legislation necessary to ensure greater accountability from the government/private sector's doings. This is imperative to do to regenerate the country's institutions!

By the way, I saw both speeches and must say that Mauricio Funes's cohesive, sensible, well-grounded speech was great in guarding his victory from all flanks against all type of attacks, leaving clear the need of the country to unite if we ever wish to pull out the country from the mire it had drifted into. Clearly, with his speech he proved that parallels between with him and Obama were not at all that far-fetched.

May he have the thick skin that it is needed to deal with El Salvador's many problems, from the lack of proper education, the inefficient health care, the pandemic of crime, the ever-rising population expansion and centralization in the urban areas, and reinvigorating the mechanisms necessary (such as agriculture) to ensure that El Salvador retains its sovereign ability to sustain itself.

... Oh, excuse me, but I was too caught by the moment to comment on Avila's speech. While his speech was more "humble" than the pedantic posture that other ARENA spokespersons adopted (such as Adolfo Torres's), the fact that his speech remained defiant and triumphalist in my opinion eclipsed any calls to unity.

Of course, having the ARENA people intone that ghastly hymn were they ask for the deaths of multitude of people (sera la tumba donde los rojos...) couldn't help but to conjure a dark shadow upon the moment. The polarization and climate of fear that the country lives has much to thank to these kinds of positions. Hopefully, just as much cash ARENA has used to come up with a truly media bombardment will be used in the future to come up with a better hymn.

By the way, I am sure everyone noticed Elias Saca among those present in Avila's speech, using party colors to boot. This shows how he really had behaving as: the president of COENA, not truly president of the nation, just another partisan. Shame on him.

Anonymous said...

Now that the elections are over and the international observers are wrapping stuff up, does anyone have links to the final reports from the different organizations posted in El Salvador pertaining to the elections?

Anonymous said...

Even ARENA's clown has to admit that the fMLN won.