More U.S. Meddling in El Salvador?

By Wheeler, Jacob | In These Times, October 2008 | Go to article overview

More U.S. Meddling in El Salvador?


Wheeler, Jacob, In These Times


AS EL SALVADOR prepares to hold its presidential and parliamentary elections early next year, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) worries the Bush administration might be drumming up fear to sway results.

During a June visit to El Salvador, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte expressed concern over alleged links between the populist opposition FMLN party-Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front-and rebels in Colombia's FARC-Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

After Colombian troops raided a FARC camp on March 1, the Colombian government alleged it had seized a laptop computer that tied FARC and FMLN. (The FMLN has denied the allegations.)

"Any group that collaborates or expresses friendship with the FARC is not a friend of the United States," said U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Charles Glazer, echoing Negroponte's remarks.

On June 27, Glazer told a delegation of 12 Americans traveling to El Salvador with CISPES that the United States would not interfere with the country's January parliamentary elections and its March presidential elections. However, CISPES alleges that Glazer also said that the United States had meddled in El Salvador's 2004 elections.

According to a CISPES press release, "When asked directly if the U.S. government had intervened in the 2004 presidential elections on behalf of the [rightwing] Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA), Glazer replied in the affirmative. When asked if such intervention would occur again, he said 'no.' "

Robert Riley, counsel for public affairs at the U.S. embassy, wrote in an e-mail: "Ambassador Glazer acknowledged that certain American officials made public comments in the context of the 2004 Salvadoran elections. ... However, [Glazer] did not suggest or confirm' that the U.S. government intervened in those elections in any way.''

According to Riley, Glazer "has stated numerous times publicly, the U.S. government will not take sides in the upcoming 2009 Salvadoran elections."

FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes led ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila by roughly 6 percentage points, according to a July Reuters poll. If Avila loses, it would be the first time since the end of El Salvador's civil war in 1992 that the conservative ARENA party would be out of power. …

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