Right Hires Campaign Manager Straight from Dirty Honduran Win
On Friday, December 13th news sources announced that the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party has hired the notorious Venezuelan right-wing campaign manager Juan José (“J.J.”) Rendón to its presidential candidate’s advising team. The news comes only a few days after former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores and presidential candidate Norman Quijano’s main advisor is thought to have left the country following pending investigations of a $10 million corruption charge against him. Although Gloria Salguero Gross, one of ARENA’s founding members, publicly stated that Flores is no longer part of Norman Quijano’s advising team, the president of ARENA’s National Executive Council, Jorge Velado, announced to the news media four days later that Flores remains on the campaign, underscoring ARENA’s internal divisions and their failure to maintain visible cohesion as a party. Velado also added that he could neither confirm nor deny whether Rendón is acting as an advisor to the campaign, though news media continue to link Rendón to the ARENA campaign. Rendón is an enigmatic figure and expert in dirty campaigns, known for his destabilizing methods and “rumorology” tactics. Most recently, Rendón helped orchestrate the fraudulent election of Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras. In addition to running campaigns for Uribe in Colombia, Peña Nieto in Mexico, and for Honduras’ post-coup president Pepe Lobo, Rendón also served as campaign advisor to Henrique Capriles in Venezuela, where Capriles viciously fought his electoral defeat to Nicolás Maduro with cries of fraud. In a surprising twist, the Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security, Ricardo Perdomo, announced that Rendón would be apprehended on arrival if he enters Salvadoran territory due to an international warrant out for his arrest in connection to a sexual assault committed in Venezuela. As further poll data cements the lead of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate, ARENA already appears to be taking cues from Capriles, working to delegitimize the electoral apparatus and lay the groundwork to call fraud should they face defeat—an increasingly likely prospect as corruption cases against their most public faces continue to pile up. For a bigger-picture analysis of Rendón's role in Latin American politics - and how the financial interests he represents line up with US State Department priorities - please read Nick Alexandrov's article in CounterPunch.