Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post-election interview with Mauricio Funes

Roberto Lovato at New American Media interviewed Mauricio Funes shortly after the election victory and the translation of the interview into English is available here. Among other things, Funes discussed the change in focus his new government will bring:

Where will the effects of the transition in power be felt most immediately?

We're going to change the way we make policy. And one of the most significant changes is that we will no longer have a government at the service of a privileged few. And we will no longer have a government that creates an economy of privileges for the privileged. Now, we need a government like the one envisioned by Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who in his prophetic message said that the church should have a preferential option for the poor.

Paraphrasing Mons. Romero, I would say that this government should have a preferential option for the poor, for those who need a robust government to get ahead and to be able to compete in this world of disequilibrium under fair conditions.

This government implies a break from traditional policymaking. Now, what we're going to do is put the government and the structure of the state at the service of the Salvadoran people––the totality of the Salvadoran people – but, fundamentally, to that great majority who are oppressed and excluded from the country's social and economic development. Not just the last 20 years, but for the last 200 years or more, have not had the possibility of participating in the formation of public policies.

A government like the one I'm going to create will give them the protagonist's role, which until now they have not had.

1 comment:


Interesting. EL FARO had an editorial that declared, "El fin
de la posguerra," making the case that Funes' victory marks the end of the post-war period and, as such, marks a pivot in history (Funes himself declared in his victory speech that a new, deeper reconciliation was at hand). In that context, it's oddly fitting to hear Archbishop Romero be so prominent: Funes quotes him in this interview, and he cited him for the same point in his acceptance speech. It's almost as if the war had been a long national parenthesis, an extended aside, and now we were going to pick up the conversation about where it was circa 1979, when there was a slim chance for change, a little ember of hope for peaceful transformation, that Romero and others were trying to fan. Funes is harkening back to that Romero, in some ways that are not altogether obvious, by being courteous to the right, by tempering his words, by trying to be inclusive. In one sense, it's very reassuring to see that Romero is so relevant, so necessary, for the process, after 30 years. But, it also seems surreal, and makes you wonder if we can really pretend the war never happened (maybe this is why Funes has been willing to forego re-opening investigations, undoing the amnesty law, etc.). We are clearly on to a new chapter. Only time will tell what it's about.