El Salvador: Contradictions of Neoliberalism and Building Sustainable Peace

By Wade, Christine J. | International Journal of Peace Studies, Autumn-Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

El Salvador: Contradictions of Neoliberalism and Building Sustainable Peace


Wade, Christine J., International Journal of Peace Studies


Sixteen years ago the Government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) signed the Chapultepec Accords, which ended the nearly 12-year civil war. The peace process in El Salvador has been hailed by many as a "success" of United Nations peacebuilding efforts. The cessation of armed conflict, the restructuring of military and police forces, the demobilization and integration of the FMLN as a political party, and basic guarantees for human rights have been the most important outcomes of the Salvadoran peace process. The role of international actors in the negotiation and implementation phases of the peace process in El Salvador is well-documented. While numerous international actors participated in the Salvadoran peace process, particular emphasis has been given to the role of the United Nations as the mediator of the negotiations. The success of the United Nations mediation and verification through the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) has been considered one of the organization's finest examples of peacebuilding in recent years. Indeed, many have attempted to replicate the success of El Salvador in other cases of civil conflict--most with significantly less success.

Yet little more than fifteen years later the country is at a major crossroads. El Salvador now appears to be a questionable model for peacebuilding, as it represents the very real challenges of an incomplete peace. Social violence and poverty have diminished the realities of peace for most Salvadorans. The orthodox application of neoliberal policies has created little opportunity, and Salvadorans are leaving in record numbers in search of opportunities elsewhere--their remittances sustaining the country's fragile economy. Government corruption and party polarization impede meaningful democracy and public opinion of democratic institutions is at an all time low. All of this begs the question: what went wrong in El Salvador?

This paper seeks to investigate this question by demonstrating the negative impact of neoliberal reforms on the post-accord prospects for peace in El Salvador. Peacebuilding has been undermined by the failure to address socio-economic inequalities, which has resulted in significant increases in emigration, crime and authoritarianism. I would also suggest that elite culture remained unchanged through the peace process, and that successive ARENA (Nationalist Republican Alliance) governments lacked sufficient political will to subvert their interests to the public good. This prioritization of interests of the economic elite, as represented by ARENA, over a commitment to the socioeconomic aspects of peacebuilding, threatens prospects for a sustainable peace.

Peacebuilding and Neoliberalism

El Salvador was one of the United Nations' first efforts at peacebuilding. According to former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali the goal of peacebuilding is more than the mere cessation of conflict. Instead, peacebuilding seeks to address the root causes of conflict in order to prevent any reversion to armed violence (Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 1992: 32). The resulting literature on peacebuilding has increasingly emphasized that success is predicated on moving beyond the mere absence of war (negative peace) and towards a more just, stable and reconciled society (positive peace). Since the early 1990s peacebuilding efforts have focused on attaining peace through liberal democratic reforms, or sustainable peace through democratization and the establishment of rule of law. This model, however, has come under increasing criticism for ignoring the realities of post-conflict societies and ignoring and/or exacerbating the root causes of conflict (See Jeong, 2005). As such, our criteria for measuring success in peacebuilding has, until recently, often been a reflection of our understanding of the limited goals of liberal peace processes. As noted by Hampson (1996), measuring success in peacebuilding is highly problematic and leads to the dilemma of "infinite regress" (Hampson, 1996; 9). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

El Salvador: Contradictions of Neoliberalism and Building Sustainable Peace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.