Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Report on issues facing El Salvador

Three organizations with an interest in El Salvador have teamed up to publish the report, The 2009 El Salvador Elections: Between Crisis and Change.

Topics in the report range from the campaigns and the economy, to militarization and the diplomatic front, and much more. These sections are, in turn, divided into more specific issues, such as free trade, water privatization, Plan Mexico, regional integration, and potential relations with the new Obama administration. This timely report seeks to reflect on El Salvador’s current situation as well as the possibilities and challenges ahead at this pivotal moment for the nation’s future.

The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), and Upside Down World collectively edited the report. As one would expect, the report is supportive of Mauricio Funes and the FMLN and reflects the left-leaning views of the sponsoring organizations.

While I have often taken issue with these groups on various issues from time-to-time, and don't agree with everything in this document, the report does offer in one place a comprehensive listing of many of the current issues being debated in El Salvador.


Miguel Lerdo said...

This is a frustrating report because there is a lot of good stuff here, with lots of unsupported assertions mixed in. Independent groups should be a little more rigorous. Bias is fine, but please back assertions up with rational argument.

The “economic boon has failed to improve the livelihoods of 30% of the population…” By what measure? Have incomes of the bottom 30% fallen? Have increasing incomes for the top 70%, resulted in deteriorating public sector (inferior) goods, like public transportation (perhaps due to rising car ownership)? I expect there is a fact to back up their statement, but it is vacuous as it is written.

The report has a reasonable attack on CAFTA with regard to intellectual property rights and Pacific Rim (though it is speculation that they might WIN their lawsuit – if they lose, CAFTA is vindicated). This is followed by a bizarre unsupported accusation that CAFTA caused a rise in cost-of-living and street violence. I’m sure there is an argument to be made, but to take it for granted smacks of journalistic laziness.

While the report is not good analysis, neither is the report FMLN campaign propaganda. The report continually states that the FMLN will pressure Funes to reconsider his moderate stances on dollarization or joining ALBA – which is practically an ARENA campaign slogan. I have to conclude that it is the unedited work of high-school interns. While I’m glad high-schoolers are taking an interest in El Salvador’s election, aren’t there any serious journalists or scholars willing to rationally argue the merits of a shift to the left in El Salvador.

LShave said...

I have to agree with the previous commenter. The report's table of contents served as a good listing of the issues facing El Salvador, but the report itself was poorly edited and lacked references to back up its claims.

What I found surprising was that the report mentioned very little about the potential disturbances that could occur on election day, or any discussion of the significance and difficulties that a potential change in ruling party could precipitate.