[Under Colonel Osorio] El Salvador has a frank programme of true social progress and is already well along the road to making itself a small nation's example of democracy in action.
US Ambassador Biddle Duke, 19521"
[The election was] wholly farcical. Crowds of paid voters were openly hauled from one voting booth to another in government trucks . . . Foreign correspondents visiting the outlying voting stations were given ballots and told, amidst great jollity, to go ahead and vote. I kept mine for years as a souvenir.
Paul Kennedy of the New York Times, on the 1956 poll 2
Martínez ruled for twelve years under the shadow of 1932. There were occasional coup scares each time he announced that he was re-standing for 'election' but no significant interruption of or threat to the government of his specially-created Pro-Patria party. Trade unions and all but the very tamest political organisations were outlawed; those that possessed any independence only managed an ephemeral clandestine existence and to little effect. University autonomy was violated when necessary, and repression remained all-encompassing. In response to the continuing economic crisis, Martínez was obliged to make a number of departures from liberal orthodoxy, declaring a moratorium on debts, imposing some tariffs to protect certain artisanal trades, devaluing the colón, and even legalising a small number of squats. In order to regularise much-sought credit, the Banco Hipotecario was set up in 1935, followed by the Cajas de Crédito Rural in 1943. These adjustments (especially the devaluation) were thoroughly acceptable to the landed bourgeoisie; they did nothing to alter the pattern of ownership or production, which remained stagnant throughout most of the martinato. There was no inflationary expansion of the state, no