FMLN Presidential Candidate Embraces South American Alternative Development Models
On Tuesday, August 13, the Vice President and presidential candidate for the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, joined Vice President of Bolivia Álvaro García Linera and Brazilian historian Celio Turino as invited speakers to the closing of the second annual "Winter Cultural Dialogues" hosted by the FMLN’s Cultural Secretariat. “The goal of the Cultural Dialogues is to generate critical debate in El Salvador about the new cultural paradigms that are setting the pace in Latin America”, said Cerén. This year’s theme was “Living Well [Buen Vivir], a new paradigm,” and consisted of a series of public conferences about the new models of more sustainable, participative and comprehensive governance and development lead by leftist South American nations like Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Hundreds packed the vast auditorium of the Law School at the National University of El Salvador as Cerén outlined his party’s commitment to building alliances with their southern neighbors in the pursuit of alternatives to the US-pushed neoliberal model. “Living Well is a current of ideas, of values, of social proposals and policies that runs through Latin America, that tells us it is possible to live in a society governed by equality and fraternity,” said Cerén. Throughout July and August, the FMLN also hosted a Cuban youth leader, a feminist Mexican legislator, and a Venezuelan professor along with other prominent Salvadoran thinkers to discuss these growing alternatives. Bolivian Vice President Linera explained the critical ideological oppositions that will play out in El Salvador’s upcoming February 2014 Presidential Elections: “There are two logics, two distinct civilizations; one champions the community and the other the individual; one champions the meeting of needs and the other accumulation; one champions close dialogue with Mother Earth, with nature, to preserve future generations, and in the other nature is just merchandise to be used and pillage.” In addition to hosting these international open cultural dialogues, the FMLN’s Cultural Secretariat presented a Culture Law to the National Legislative Assembly in November that, if approved, will provide pensions and healthcare for artists and state funding and institutional support for the protection and promotion of culture and the arts.