Is There a Transition to Democracy in El Salvador?

By Joseph S. Tulchin; Gary Bland | Go to book overview

import significant shipments of weapons or target civilians.If the FMLN had respected those criteria, there would not have been any need to make that determination.In fact, the report did mention instances of government violence against civilians, in particular an air force bombing of a small village that killed a number of civilians. When we made the determination that the FMLN had violated the criteria, President Bush voluntarily held back the release of the money for sixty additional days. He said that if a cease-fire were reached in that time period, the money would not be committed for military purposes.

In weighing how and whether to commit those funds, which we are now free to do, we are going to take into account three criteria. First is the security of El Salvador. Again, the FMLN has an open opportunity: It can reduce or halt offensive activity and it can agree to a cease-fire. Second is progress in the negotiations toward a cease-fire. We hope that the parties agree to a cease-fire quickly. Third is progress in the Jesuit case.It will not be easy to balance all three of those issues, though the security of the country will override the others if necessary.

We would much prefer to use those funds for peace than for military purposes. If the parties can reach a cease-fire, that is what the funds will be used for. That money could go a long way not just toward enforcing a cease-fire, which is an interim goal, but also toward helping combatants on both sides return to civilian life, find new livelihoods, and support their families. The funds would help in the process of restructuring and reducing the armed forces. In sum, the opportunity is there—and I hope the parties to the negotiations seize it.

-82-

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