Special Update: one year after the people’s victory in El Salvador
On Sunday, March 14, the streets of San Salvador once again filled withred t-shirts, hats, bandanas and FMLN flags to commemorate the one-yearanniversary of the victory of the FMLN’s presidential andvice-presidential candidates, Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sánchez Cerén(March 15, 2009). In a speech before the crowd of 25,000, historicleader of the FMLN and current Deputy to the Central AmericanParliament Nidia Díaz declared, "Today we reassert the effort and theheroism of thousands of compatriots that continue fighting and thosethat gave their lives, without which this victory would not have beenpossible."
Looking back on the accomplishments of the first year, many Salvadoransare quick to point out that the most significant accomplishment of the2009 elections was the electoral defeat of the right-wing, most notablyof the ARENA (Nationalist Republican Alliance) party, whose “presidentfor life” is Roberto D’Aubuisson, the founder of the Salvadorandeath-squads. For twenty years, consecutive ARENA presidentsimplemented drastic neoliberal measures, from the privatization of mostpublic services like electricity and telecommunications to CAFTA, theCentral America Free Trade Agreement, resulting in an unemployment rateof at least 55%. ARENA’s “iron fist” and “super iron fist” policingpolicies failed to lower the country’s violent crime rates and in 2008El Salvador’s homicide rate became the highest in the WesternHemisphere, with a documented resurgence of death squad-style “socialextermination” groups.