Sunday, October 10, 2010

30th anniversary of FMLN

Today is the 30th anniversary of the founding of the FMLN. The FMLN was founded in 1980 as the military wings of five revolutionary movements in El Salvador came together to form a unified guerrilla force which would fight a civil war in El Salvador for the next 12 years. And in the 18 years since the end of the civil war, the FMLN has been the dominant leftist political party in El Salvador.

At the time of this 30th anniversary, the FMLN is at the point of its greatest influence, with a president, Mauricio Funes elected under its banner last year and the largest number of deputies in the Salvadoran National Assembly. Ironically, though, it was probably Funes' decision to keep the party at arm's length during the election, that made him electable. And Funes continues to follow a course as president which is independent of the FMLN party platform.

In an interview in ContraPunto, the Coordinator General of the FMLN, Medardo González, described the party's view of the country's president:

First, there is an important sector of the population of the left-wing voters, and particularly the FMLN voter, who voted for the flag of the FMLN, who believed that President Funes positions would be more leftest and more consistent with the party. And we say, those expectations were not fulfilled by the president....Funes is implementing a plan that is not the plan of the FMLN. The FMLN presented a program, but the plan that the President is implementing has clear differences with the draft presented by the FMLN. But it is a breakthrough in this country that the present government is a government in which we are participating, and it is not a government of the oligarchy that is directing policies. We see a positive change.

For example, for me, signing the commitment to the Inter-American Development Bank (referring to an agreement for a loan of $ 200 million with the IDB signed by Funes in his last visit to Washington), is something I would not have done. But if the ARENA candidate was president of the Republic, we would be in a situation a hundred times worse. We are much better. We will make the most of these conditions and ensure that the next president of the republic represents a more genuine and directly leftist position.

And so on this 30th Anniversary, the FMLN is celebrating that it elected a president, but lamenting that this president does not take his direction from the FMLN leadership. The FMLN apparently stands ready to preserve the gains it has won. The party issued a statement declaring that it was ready to defeat any coup which might be plotted to overthrow the left-wing government in El Salvador.

Video inviting party faithful to a 30th anniversary rally.



During his speech in San Salvador, Medardo González asked the audience if they would defend the FMLN govt against a coup attempt. I thought this was provocative. To be sure, the right would raise hackles, asking why only defend the FMLN govt -- would they, for example, defend El Salvador against a left wing coup, or the ES Constitution against incremental erosion designed to keep the current occupants in power? More troubling to me, though, is the notion of rounding up "the old troops:" when the FMLN asks its followers to defend leftwing governments, it surely cannot complain if PCN and ARENA followers are asked to factionalize at their old battle camps, too. González defends his statement as a sort of preemtive strike. Just when you thought preemptive strikes had been discredited at last!

Geoff said...

The above comment by "Polycarpio" shows a complete lack of historical perspective. In El Salvador the coups have practically always come from the right. The coup is one of the tools for preventing or reversing change which the empire has used throughout Latin America, most recently in Honduras, one of El Salvador's neighbors. Calls by Medardo Gonzalez for FMLN supporters to be ready to defend against a coup are historically merited and much less provocative than calls for El Salvador to be the last burial ground of the communists, as the anthem of the historic party of the death squads, ARENA, states. The defense of even small gains is the duty of anyone committed to preventing a return to the retrograde order of the troglodytes who governed El Salvador for hundreds of years and who still wield real power in current Salvadoran Society.