The US government has begun a dirty smear campaign against the FMLN, seeking to prevent the opposition party from taking power in upcoming presidential elections. On Tuesday, outgoing US ambassador Rose Likins threatened US retaliation El Salvador if an FMLN president were elected, and said that US investment could pull out of the country as a result. Likins is clearly attempting to intervene in the internal process of the FMLN in order to force the party more to the right, and she emphasized that these declarations were intentionally being made before the party selected its candidate. The ambassador criticized the political ideology of the current FMLN leadership and said that the only people in the FMLN that the US had anything in common with have all been expelled. When asked why the US opposed an FMLN presidency, Likins answered that the FMLN s economic platform was worrisome to the US; in other recent interviews she has spoken out against the party's position on privatization, dolarization, and CAFTA. She also said that the FMLN s support of liberation movements across Latin America was at odds with the US s "War on Terrorism".
The Likins interview shows a genuine concern on the part of the US State Department that the FMLN could win the 2004 presidential elections, and indeed the most recent polls in El Salvador put the FMLN a full 16 points ahead of ARENA. The FMLN considers that these statements constitute direct intervention in the Salvadoran political process, and insist that US-El Salvador relations be based on principles of "self-determination, sovereignty, mutual respect and friendship." US embassy officials have repeatedly promised to visiting CISPES delegations non-intervention in Salvadoran elections, promises that on Tuesday were shown to be empty.
At the same time, the Salvadoran right has begun to deploy its strategy of fear and violence against the FMLN. A group of right-wing lawyers and businessmen announced last week the formation of the "Salvadoran Anti-Terrorist Movement," whose sole mission is to deploy smear tactics to prevent an FMLN victory. The organization s symbol is a black-and-white Aryan Cross, the same used by Nazi fighter pilots in World War II. They have begun an ad campaign threatening that if the FMLN wins El Salvador will be "plunged into violence," and that if the current system of "rule by large corporations" is overthrown these same corporations will punish their workers with mass firings. The FMLN plans to counter this fear campaign with a campaign of hope: the people s hope for a real change in the country s social and economic model.
That s the news this morning from El Salvador......
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