El Salvador Joins Latin America's Leftward Tilt

By Llana, Sara Miller | The Christian Science Monitor, March 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

El Salvador Joins Latin America's Leftward Tilt


Llana, Sara Miller, The Christian Science Monitor


The candidate of a party grown from the ranks of Marxist guerrillas claimed victory in presidential elections in El Salvador Sunday, becoming the first leftist party president in the nation's history.

Former TV journalist Mauricio Funes, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), narrowly beat Rodrigo Avila of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena), the conservative party that has ruled the country for 20 years.

Mr. Funes becomes the latest president in a string of victorious leftist candidates running on anti-free-market platforms across Latin America. His win came in the face of the ruling party's campaign to negatively compare Funes with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.

"This is a new era for us, this is a triumph for the whole country, and we will triumph over the next five years," says Gloria Maria Ramirez, who was almost in tears as she rushed to celebrate in a central plaza in San Salvador.

Salvadorans throughout the capital jumped into the back of pickup trucks, waving red FMLN flags and honking horns, and set off fireworks into the night sky.

While this election is a democratic crossroads for El Salvador, the new president faces immense challenges ahead, including an economy inextricably linked to the struggling US market and declining remittances from Salvadorans living abroad, rising unemployment, and gang violence that makes this country one of the most dangerous in the world.

These problems are the same ones that pushed many voters away from the ruling party, but will require intense bridge-building for the FMLN, a party that has won local races (since its transformation from guerrilla army to political party in 1992) but never the executive office before now.

"Given the global crisis, the winner is inheriting a country with extremely adverse circumstances," says Julia Evelyn Martinez, an economist at the University of Central America in San Salvador.

A vote for change

Funes's victory - with 51 percent of the vote - was in large part a rejection of the status quo, in terms of violent crime and the economy. "I want to thank all the people who voted for me and chose that path of hope and change," said Funes in accepting victory.

While Arena is seen as tough on crime, not unlike the Republican Party in the US, it failed to stop street violence by gangs or maras. That Mr. Avila is a former police chief did not boost his party's case: the murder rate is 60.9 per 100,000 habitants, up from 41.3 a decade ago, according to government figures.

Even though Arena has focused on the creation of a manufacturing sector in El Salvador, making ends meet is a daily struggle for most Salvadorans. In 2007, 57.5 percent were considered underemployed, according to government figures provided by Gerson Martinez, an FMLN lawmaker. Among those ages 15 to 24, the number of those unemployed and underemployed is 62.4 percent.

Meanwhile the average cost of living for a family is $760 a month. The minimum wage in a factory job is just $173 a month.

"In the economic realm, people tend to blame Arena for bad performance of the economy," says Miguel Cruz, a former polling director in San Salvador and now a political analyst. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 Joins Latin America's Leftward Tilt
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.