Monday, March 16, 2009

How El Salvador Just Defeated Reaganism




Throughout the 1980s, the FMLN of El Salvador (a coalition of rebel guerrillas) waged a long struggle against the US-backed military government. More than 70,000 people were killed during this war, the overwhelming majority of which the UN concluded were killed by military and paramilitary forces. A pet project of the Reagan administration, El Salvador became synonymous with shady CIA dealings and death squads. This past week however, Mauricio Funes, a one-time leader of the FMLN party, turned the tables on Reagan's legacy. In national elections, Funes won the country’s presidential election, taking 51 percent of the vote and defeating Rodrigo Avila of the ruling right-wing ARENA party. While the Bush administration had previously used bullying tactics that threatened repercussions upon the people of El Salvador for democratically choosing a leftist leader, the Obama administration has pledged itself to neutrality--congratulating the new president.

Will this change be a new beginning for US-El Salvador relations?

See more below the fold...


I would just say—I’ll just quote a song that says, “Y que venga la alegria a lavar el sufrimiento”—“Let the joy come and wash away the suffering.” It’s something on an order I’ve never seen in my life. As a child of Salvadoran immigrants and as someone who’s spent time here and as someone who saw the Obama experience, I really can’t tell you what this is like, when you’re talking about ending not just the ARENA party’s rule, but you’re talking about 130 years of oligarchy and military dictatorship, by and large, that’s just ended last night. You’re talking about $6 billion that the United States used to defeat the FMLN, as you mentioned earlier. You’re talking about one of the most formidable—a formerly political military, now political forces, in the hemisphere, showing the utter failure of not just the ARENA party but of somebody in particular, too, who has a special place in many of our hearts: Ronald Reagan. This is the defeat of Ronald Reagan, nothing less.


The above quote is by Roberto Lovato, contributing associate editor with New America Media and a frequent contributor to The Nation magazine. He blogs at ofamerica.wordpress.com. His full interview on Democracy Now can be found here.



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