Thursday, March 19, 2009

Worth reading

As you might imagine, a lot has been written in the past two weeks about El Salvador in the press around the world. Usually when there is something written in the English language press about El Salvador, I can bring it to your attention but there is way too much right now.

Instead, I'd like to point you to some essays which merit reading because they go a little bit deeper than the standard story-line of the television journalist turned candidate for the former Marxist guerrillas who campaigns against the conservative governing party which relied on fear as a campaign theme.

A pair of articles, one before the election and one after, written by Roger Atwood for Mother Jones, benefit from the fact that he lives in El Salvador. His understanding as a resident of the country are apparent in El Salvador's Left Turn and El Salvador's Quiet Revolution.

Make sure and read the series of blog posts by Roberto Lovato, who returns to the homeland of his family to write about the elections. One of the best posts is Izalco, El Salvador and the Way Beyond the Silence, which explores El Salvador's political conflict by looking at Izalco and its complicated history started with La Matanza of 1932. But make sure and read the rest of Lovato's posts as well.


Anonymous said...

I had already predicted obama winning in the US and barack o'funes in ES. has anybody reflected on the great similarities these two share?

El-Visitador said...


Oftentimes, and especially when you travel to El Salvador and speak with actual citizens and not with gringo-salvadoreans with a political agenda, you publish or promote great unbiased reports.

But the Izalco thing? Historic fiction, to be charitative. Just on the quickest of readings it does not pass the smell test. José Feliciano Ama as the leader of a simultaneous campaign of sacking, burning, and pillage that ran across La Libertad, Sonsonate, Ahuachapán and Santa Ana? In people's imaginations, sure.

To be sure, people are now trying to rewrite history and printing books that say that Farabundo Martí, Stalin's direct representative to El Salvador via the infamous SRI, had little to do with the pillage. But I remind you Tim that you yourself gave thumbs up to the Consalvi video, and that every single elder who lived through the sacking mentions on camera the fact that they were driven by Communism, not by some isolated Cacique in Izalco.

It is hadly worth adding that the fantasist and myth builder from Izalco does not even have his figures correct. 7 million Salvadoreans? In his dreams. We did have a Census, published already a year ago. 50% poverty rate? Not according to UNDP. Try 37% next time.

Anonymous said...

"I had already predicted obama winning in the US and barack o'funes in ES. has anybody reflected on the great similarities these two share?"


Yes, neither is a political insider nor someone who spent his whole life living off the taxpayers to enrich himself.

Neither seem to consider themselves any better than the rest of their countrymen ... all of them.

Both have original and fresh ideas. Both inherited a mess left behind by fools looking to only benefit themselves at the cost of their entire country.

We will see how things go.


We had a comparison in this blog on January 2008 in a guest posting entitled "Barack O'Funes."

Tim said...

That's when our guest blogger was being particularly prescient.

Anonymous said...

«neither is a political insider nor someone who spent his whole life living off the taxpayers to enrich himself»

In the case of Funes, for sure.

In the case of Obama, the man graduated from law school in 1991, and he has been a politician for 13 years since he was elected state senator in 1996.

The man is a multimillionaire because of the two highly profitable auobiographies he has written —and the biographies are successful because of the of the politician he is. I ask you if his biographies could have been as successful had his autobiographies been about himself as a lawyer, a college professor, a stockbroker, or anysuch.

jaykay said...

Hey Tim, thanks for coming up with these Roger Atwood articles. I found them very interesting and helpful in trying to understand this very complex country. I have family who voted Frente and American friends who are rabidly pro-Arena (and are terrified that their businesses here are going to tank). Everyone here seems hopeful except for the Americans.

George Fulmore said...

The April 3,2009, issue of the National Catholic Reporter had a story on the Salvadorean election: