El Salvador Election Observation Report from CISPES

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Presidential Elections, March 15, 2009

download PDF version haga click aqui para la version en español Introduction             Members ofthe Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) took partin the Misión de Observación Internacional (MOI) to monitor the presidential elections in El Salvador on March 15th, 2009. Theseelections were between the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN)candidate Mauricio Funes and the Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA)candidate Rodrigo Ávila. The MOI was accredited by the Supreme ElectoralTribunal (TSE) and observed the entire Election Day process, from theinstallation of the voting tables to the final vote count. CISPES membersobserved in the departments of SanSalvador, La Unión, Cabañas and San Miguel. Observersmonitored the electoral campaign and studied electoral laws and regulations inthe weeks and months leading up to Election Day. During the week before thevote, CISPES members met with civil society organizations, internationalorganizations such as the European Union (EU) and the Organization of AmericanStates (OAS), and government agencies such as the Human Rights Procurator’sOffice (PDDH).

            This reportprovides the results of CISPES' direct observation of the electoral process onthe day of the vote and an analysis of the multiple factors that we believestill prevent the country from achieving a fully free and transparentdemocratic process. This report is divided into the following sections:

SectionI: Pre-Electoral Obstacles

A. U.S.Election Intervention

B.Threats and Employer Pressure

C. Supreme Electoral Tribunal Fraud

D. Public Funds Used Con Propositos Partidarios

E. TheUse of Media

SectionII: Our Observations

A.    Institutional Problems

B.    Polling Place Problems

C.    Successes                         

SectionIII: Recommendations

The current electoral process in El Salvador was designed to ensureequal representation and participation from all of the political parties in thecountry. While intended to provide a high level of transparency, the electoralprocess has deteriorated significantly due to the failure of state institutionsto fulfill their role in a nonpartisan manner. Although some progress has beenachieved, most of the development has been made by popular mobilization and notby a reform of the failed electoral institutions; therefore we still witnessedseveral obstacles for a just electoral process. In the absence of a fair,nonpartisan institution to enforce the Salvadoran electoral code, the politicalparties with the most power and resources tend to dominate the electoralprocess.

The biggest difference witnessed in the last electoralprocess that allowed a different outcome was, without a doubt, the massiveparticipation of civil society by both voting and monitoring the attempts tobreak the electoral law by the political party in power. There was ahighly-organized effort by Salvadoran citizens to defend their vote, and thewarning that such vigilance would be necessary was a key component of theFMLN’s campaign. Salvadorans assumed authority over their own elections toprotect the true voice of the people.

Numerous citizen accounts of fraudulent tactics for the March15, 2009 vote were widely reported to the CISPES observer delegation. DespiteARENA’s attempts, the popular mobilization was strong enough to overcome themand to ensure that for the first time in almost 20 years a change in poweroccurred in the country, thanks to the  will of the people.

            The reportconcludes with a set of recommendations intended to address the concernsoutlined in the preceding sections. The goal of these recommendations is tofurther the implementation of strong electoral institutions and fairness whilediminishing the influence of political parties and partisan state institutionsover the results of future elections. Taking in consideration that despiteMauricio Funes’ win ARENA still holds the military and economic power, theresults of the last elections were only the first step toward change in acountry which is in serious economic and social crisis.

 

Section I: Pre-electoral Obstacles

A. U.S.Election Intervention

An important part of our observation of the 2009 presidential elections was an examination of attempts byrepresentatives of the UnitedStates government to influence the outcomeof the election.

Past U.S.Intervention

During the presidentialelections of 2004, U.S.government intervention was a significant factor in persuading Salvadorans tovote for ARENA presidentialcandidate Antonio Saca. This intervention occurred in the form of threateningstatements by U.S.officials, including former Ambassador Douglas Barclay, then-Undersecretary ofState for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega, and Representative ThomasTancredo. Specifically, threats alleged that in the event of an FMLN presidential victory the U.S. would cut off remittances sentto El Salvador by immigrants living in the U.S., deport Salvadoran immigrantsliving in the U.S., and would not renew Temporary Protective Status (TPS),which provides legal residency to 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S.

Given the nature of the migration pattern that links the twonations, these statements carried a great deal of importance to Salvadoransresiding in both countries. At the time, the number of Salvadorans living inthe U.S. was estimated to be2 million, and the remittances they sent back to their families amounted toalmost $2 billion — thus representing the largest single component of El Salvador'sGDP. Furthermore, statements made by Barclay, Noriega, Tancredo, and othersgarnered substantial coverage in theSalvadoran press. This widespread media attention guaranteed that the majorityof Salvadorans were aware of the stated consequences of voting for the FMLN, asdeclared by official representatives of the U.S. government. 

Despite the false nature of these assertions, their validityremained unchallenged by the executive branch of the U.S.government throughout the course of El Salvador's 2004 electoralcampaign. This institutional silence signified tacit support for the threatenedchanges in U.S.diplomatic relations and immigration policy tied to the outcome of theelections. While the Bush Administration in Washington,along with its representatives at the Embassy in San Salvador, did nothing to counter thethreats, some Members of Congress spoke out. U.S.Representatives Xavier Becerra and Raúl Grijalva held a press conference onMarch 16, 2004, to directly counter and debunk the threat that remittances to El Salvadorcould be cut off.However, Salvadoran media coverageoverwhelmingly privileged the original threat to remittances made byRepresentative Tancredo, while barely covering the counter-statement.

2009 Elections

Early in the 2008-2009 campaign period, U.S. officials publicizedstatements that seemed intended to defame the FMLN. In June 2008, DeputySecretary of State John Negroponte and Ambassador Charles Glazer made publicstatements that tie the FMLN political party to the Colombian guerrilla force,Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). To date, no evidence has beenput forward to support this allegation. Therefore, it can only be concludedthat these statements were attempts to damage the reputation of the FMLN andprovide yet another pretext for threatening that U.S.-Salvadoran relationswould deteriorate under an FMLN government.

In addition, a Venezuela-based organization called FuerzaSolidaria carried out an extensive advertising campaign in El Salvador. Many of FuerzaSolidaria’s advertisements reiterate the threatening statements made by U.S.officials in 2004, even though those threats were later refuted by formerAmbassador Barclay after the election. Specifically, Fuerza Solidaria's adsallege that a FMLN victory would endanger both immigration status and abilityto send remittances home for Salvadorans living the U.S.

Also in the lead up to the Januarymunicipal and legislative elections the ARENA party itself expressed a strongdesire for the U.S.to take more action to prevent an FMLN victory in 2009. In a speech made at theAmerican Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., in September 2008, theARENA-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marisol Argueta, asserted that theFMLN's bid for Presidency poses a concrete security risk for the U.S. andappealed to the U.S. to coordinate forces with the current Salvadorangovernment to stop the rise of another “populist government” in Latin America.Argueta’s comments represent an open plea for the U.S.to involve itself in ElSalvador’s electoral politics, and therebyinfringe on the political sovereignty of the Salvadoran people. This representsa clear violation of the Salvadoran Constitution, which explicitly states that “sovereignty resides within the Salvadoran people.”

Until three days before the January 18 municipal andlegislative elections, the State Department failed to issue public statements todispel fears about remittances and immigration status and assure continuedamicable relations between the two countries. However, on January 16th, in hisfinal press conference before being recalled as Ambassador, Charles Glazerdeclared that the relationship between the United Status and El Salvador wouldnot change based on the outcome of the 2009 elections. He reaffirmed that the U.S.would assume a position of neutrality, irrespective of which party wins thepresidency.

Leading up to the March election, thirty-three Democrats inthe US House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama calling for anofficial USdeclaration of neutrality that would strengthen the position established inJanuary. However, less than a week after the letter was released, US HouseRepublicans reverted to the interventionist scare tactics that succeeded inmaintaining ARENA party rule in the 2004 presidentialelections.

In both a letter released to the press on March 10 andspeeches from the House floor on March 11—just four days before elections—Republicansdefamed the FMLN and repeated the threats of the Bush administration: to cutoff remittance monies to El Salvador and to end the Temporary Protected Status ofSalvadoran immigrants if the FMLN won on March 15.

From the House floor, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA)warned, “El Salvador'selection is on Sunday. If an ally of Al-Qaeda and Irancomes to power in El Salvador,the national security interests of the UnitedStates will require certain immigration restrictions andcontrols over the flow of the $4 billion in annual remittances sent from the U.S. back home to El Salvador.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said, “Should the pro-terroristFMLN party replace the current government in El Salvador, the United States, inthe interests of national security, would be required to reevaluate our policytoward El Salvador, including cash remittance and immigration policies tocompensate for the fact there will no longer be a reliable counterpart in theSalvadoran government.”

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) stated, “Those monies that are comingfrom here to there I am confident will be cut, and I hope the people of El Salvadorare aware of that because it will have a tremendous impact on individuals andtheir economy.”

Indeed, these threats carry considerable weight forSalvadoran voters, as 25% of the Salvadoran population lives in the U.S.,and 20% of the nation's economy consists of remittances from those familymembers.

The letter and statements were immediately top stories inall the major daily newspapers in El Salvador. The threats werereported as credible intentions of the USUS policy. In addition, because thestatements were made only days before the vote and after the formal close ofthe campaign in El Salvador,the FMLN was legally unable to respond and officials in El Salvador and the USgovernment, without analysis of the ability of a small group of RepublicanRepresentatives to actually influence had little time to put forward aneutralizing response.

Solidarity organizations in the US and Democratic members ofCongress, however, responded quickly. Calls from thousands of concerned US citizens flooded the State Department and USEmbassy, demanding a public statement of US neutrality from the Obamaadministration.  Representative RaúlGrijalva (D-AZ) and Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) made publicdeclarations to the press both rejecting the Republicans’ threats andreaffirming USneutrality.  Rep. Berman declared,“Sunday’s election belongs to the people of El Salvador. As Chairman of the HouseCommittee on Foreign Affairs, I am confident that neither TPS nor the right toreceive remittances from family in the United States will be affected bythe outcome of the election, despite what some of my colleagues in Congresshave said.”

By Friday March 13, only forty-eight hours after theRepublicans’ statements hit the press, the US State Department and US Embassyin San Salvadorboth made a formal declaration of neutrality, further promising to respect theresults of the elections and to work with whoever won the presidency.  In his press briefing on March 13, AssistantSecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon stated: “We’vealso made it very clear that we will work with whomever the Salvadoran peopleelect...We have made it very clear that this is a choice of the Salvadoranpeople that we will respect and that we look forward to continuing our verypositive relationship with El Salvador, and working with the next electedgovernment.”

These public declarations of neutrality and respect for ElSalvador’s independent democratic process made before the elections on Sundayhelped prevent a repeat of 2004, when threats of U.S. retaliation secured avictory for the right-wing.

B. Threatsand Employer Pressure

Our delegation also encountered numerous reports ofemployers pressuring employees to vote for ARENA. Representatives of SETA, theunion of worker workers, reported that ANDA, the national water company, madeworkers go to a meeting at the administration building during their paid hours.There they were pressured to vote ARENA. Additionally, ANDA hired personnelspecifically to pressure workers to vote ARENA.

There were also multiple reports of employers showing videosproduced by the group “No lo Entrego” to workers during work hours. Thesevideos, though produced by a non-party entity, featured attempts to link theFMLN with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Cuba,and to argue that these ties will seriously jeopardize diplomatic relationsbetween the U.S. and El Salvadorif the FMLN wins the presidency.

In addition to these attempts to influence employee’s votes,Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Dercho (FESPAD) received reportsof employers directly ordering employees to vote ARENA and requiring them toprovide proof by taking a cell phone photo of their vote on election day.

C. SupremeElectoral Tribunal Fraud

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the governmentalinstitution responsible for all aspects that make elections possible, is one ofthe institutions born from the 1992 Peace Accords that marked an end to twelveyears of armed struggle. Therefore, its functioning should be as a warrantor ofpeace through the protection of people’s choice when electing a government, basedupon their stated objective that elections are the “only and real way to accesspower,” as mentioned in the Electoral Code.

Although International Observers Missions from the EU and OAShad given the TSE recommendations to be implemented before the elections basedon detection of abnormalities in the electoral system, the TSE didn’t respond efficiently.Instead, they approved other measures that would make the electoral processmore vulnerable to fraud.

One of these measures was a change in the procedure of theTSE. The TSE is composed of five members: a representative from the three majorpolitical parties and two representatives from the Supreme Court of Justice(CSJ). In years past, decisions were made based upon a margin of four out of fivevotes. Last year, a change  wasimplemented in this voting process so that only three out of five votes wereneeded to approve decisions. Another notable measure occurred after the 2006elections. After the elections, there were parties which, based upon electorallaw, had not received enough votes to remain political parties. However, thelegislative assembly passed a reform that allowed these parties to remain partiesdespite their lack of votes, allowing them representation in the TSE andLegislative Assembly. All of these parties were right-wing and thus able tolend support to ARENA. This maneuver could be interpreted as a unification ofefforts so that those small parties and ARENA would have more weight whenmaking decisions and proposals in the TSE and the Legislative Assembly. As aresult, these political bodies were able to institute changes that opened upthe electoral process to increase fraud in ways which benefited right-wingparties.  

FraudulentDecisions and Proposals

In past electoral events, the ballots had to be signed andstamped by the Secretary of the Voting Table (Junta Receptora de Votos, orJRV). Last year, the TSE approved a reform that signatures and stamps were nolonger required to make a ballot valid. This decision would facilitate the useof falsified ballots to stuff ballot boxes and make it more difficult to trackthat kind of fraud.

The electoral registry was a significant source of concernduring the elections. Parties’ representatives as well as civil societyorganizations denounced that the electoral registry was not made available tothe public or to the representatives of the parties. Only a few weeks beforethe elections was the registry “partially” opened to parties, but addresseswere not opened to the process until after January elections.

In past elections, at the closing of the voting day at eachtable, the actas (signed pieces of paper that show how many votes each party receivedat a particular table) required the signature of a representative from eachparty present at that table. The TSE decided that for the 2009 March electionsthe actas would be valid with two signatures of the same party, despite thefact that there were only two parties participating in the election.

The TSE also failed to control the electoral campaign. Thiscampaign was characterized by the aggressiveness and intervention of parties thatwere not in contention. The group “Cruzada Pro Paz y Trabajo” that has beenaround since the 1980s launched a campaign called “Yo no entrego el Salvador”(I don’t give out El Salvador) in which they focused on attacking the FMLN andits presidential candidate as dangerous for the country because of their “ties”with international leaders that were stated as capable of jeopardizing El Salvador/USrelations. This party continued with its electoral campaign even after it was officiallyclosed for violating electoral law. Article 228 of the Electoral Code statesthat “it is prohibited through the electoral campaign to injure the morality,honor or privacy of candidates or leaders, alive or dead (Queda prohibido através de la propaganda electoral lesionar la moral, el honor o la vida privadade los candidatos o lideres vivos o muertos).”

D: Public Funds Used Con Propositos Partidarios

El gobierno de El Salvadorestuvo directamente involucrado en la campaña electoral a través del uso de fondos yrecursos de instituciones públicas y ministerios. Hubo denuncias de empleadospúblicos que estaban siendo presionados para asistir en contra de su voluntad aactividades proselitistas del Partido ARENA. El uso de edificios públicos parareunir y orientar a los que iban a representar a ARENA en las JRV fue otra delas denuncias comunes. El transporte de losministerios era usado para movilizar gente o recursos para los mítines de ARENA(como los carros que transportaban Pollo Campero a los que representaban aARENA en los centro de votación).

También, el año pasado laque corría para alcaldesa de ARENA, empezó a trabajar en el “mejoramiento deuna calle” en el Municipio de Soyapango en nombre de ARENA pero con el uso de los fondos, materiales y personal delMinisterio de Obras Publicas (MOP).

E: TheUse of Media

Media was a key component in the development of theelectoral campaign. Television and radio stations of mass transmission oftenreported news from a party/political perspective that usually favored ARENA.One of the principal ethics of media is impartiality, making this non-paidpropaganda an abuse of the control of media by the party in the government.

Throughout March, Salvadorans were subject to a ceaselessstream of TV and radio spots that cast Funes as a puppet of Venezuelanpresident Hugo Chavez. The underlying message was one that ARENA and rightwingallied groups like Venezuela-based Fuerza Solidaria had drilled into theSalvadoran mainstream media for the past year - don’t deliver El Salvador toVenezuela, and don’t vote for the FMLN. FMLN vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Cerén was alsotargeted by the right for his role as an FMLN comandante during the 12-yearcivil war. Fuerza Solidaria flyers calling Cerén a murderer rained from the skyand appeared on doorsteps. “Don’t vote for a bloodthirsty terrorist” was thebottom line, the same smear tactic used by ARENA and allies against the 2004FMLN presidential candidate, also aformer comandante, Schafik Handal.

SectionII:  Our Election Day Observations

On Election Day, approximately 70 CISPES activistsparticipated in the Misión de Observación Internacional, which was composed of1,561 international observers from 27 countries across the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe.  CISPES observers were present in tenmunicipalities in the departments of SanSalvador, La Unión, and Cabañas.  All observers arrived at their assignedvoting centers prior to their opening and before poll workers arrived forinstallation.  They stayed until afterthe final count had taken place at each center. In addition to its observation efforts, the mission receiveddenouncements from Salvadoran citizens about anomalies observed during ElectionDay.

Leading up to the presidentialelections, the ARENA party waged as strong a fear campaign as ever. They usedall of the same intimidation tactics as in previous elections in an attempt todefeat the FMLN.  However, on and priorto Election Day, Salvadoran citizens worked tirelessly to defuse the impact ofthese tactics.  The result was a largelysmooth process on Election Day and an FMLN victory. Massive voter turnout andcitizen defense of the vote assured that the strategies used by the ARENA partyto commit fraud did not have the impact that they had in previous years.

In the presidentialelections of March 2009, there were two main types of irregularities thatserved as obstacles to free and fair elections- institutional problems andpolling place problems.

A. InstitutionalProblems

- The night before the elections CISPES observers receivedreports of truckloads of foreigners coming into San Salvador and being housed in the ARENAheadquarters.  Observers arrived at thescene and saw dozens of mattresses trucked in and rapidly unloaded.  ARENA officials were present and unable toexplain what observers witnessed.  Thesetypes of reports emerged from all areas of the country leading up to ElectionDay, and observers later learned that up to 20,000 foreigners were mobilizedwith the intention of having them vote in the Salvadoran elections.   

-100,000 extraneous names continue to exist on the voterregistry.  These are names of people whoare either dead or have migrated to other countries and are not returning to El Salvador tovote.  These extraneous names facilitateproblems such as foreigners coming into the country to vote or people votingmore than once using false names and false identification cards.

-In at least one municipality in La Union, ARENA partyofficials were found giving out food from the mayor’s house in exchange forvotes.

-The entity that emits Unique Identity Documents(DUIs)—national identification cards used as voter ID cards—continues to be aprivate enterprise that is owned by allies of the ARENA party.  The lack of transparency in the emission ofDUIs allows for the distribution of false DUIs to foreigners and also tocitizens for the purpose of voting multiple times.  Multiple instances of two DUIs with the exactsame photograph but different names and numbers were found on the TSE’s voterconsultation website.  In addition,reports were received of people voting with DUIs that had pictures of otherpeople and large groups of people arriving to vote at the same time, all withbrand new DUIs.  There were also multiplecitizen accusations of ARENA officials distributing false DUIs to foreigners.

The effect of these problems were ameliorated by thecitizens’ ability to overcome fear and to denounce irregularities.  Salvadorans confronted the trucks and busesbringing in foreigners and were able to prevent many who did not have the rightto from voting on Election Day.

B. PollingPlace Problems

-In Anamoros, a municipalityof La Union where anumber of CISPES observers were present, a local ARENA Deputy illegally paradedthrough the voting center, in an act of proselytism despite the electoral lawforbidding campaigning on Election Day. 

-In San Martín, CISPES observers witnessed an ARENA VotingCenter Chief attemptingto steal an envelop full of actas. The Center Chief was caught stuffing theactas into his pants, when the FMLN Center Chief stopped him and policeofficers surrounded him.

-Often, JRV presidents did not inspect the hands of votersto verify that they were not marked with ink, which would have assured thatthey had already voted.  CISPES observersat five different Voting Centers also reported that the ink used to mark thehands of people after voting was often extremely faint and hardly visible.  Other observers that were part of theobservation mission witnessed the ink being easily removed with a small amountof alcohol.

-CISPES observers were present at the “Mágico Gonzalez” Voting Centerin the municipality of San Salvador, where Salvadorans living in the United States were able to vote if they hadfunds to travel to ElSalvador. The observers witnessed that in the room where excess ballots were beingstored, an apparently intentional flooding of the room that damaged severalboxes of ballots.  The attempt had noeffect in the end, as there was a very low turnout at the Center and not all ofthe ballots were needed.

C. Successes

- In all of the Voting Centers where CISPES observers werepresent, polling places opened and closed on time.

-There was an overall sense of respect for procedure, whichwas generally followed closely by both parties throughout the day, with someexceptions as noted above.

-Less foreign voters were observed coming into pollingcenters than in previous elections, apparently due to prevention tactics anddenouncements made prior to Election Day.

-Aside from a few noted exceptions, electoral propaganda andcampaign rallies were not witnessed in voting centers.

-In the case of the ARENA party Deputy who campaigned in thevoting center in Anamoros, elections officials together with CISPES observerswere able to make him leave, pointing out the illegality of his actions.

-In the case of the ARENA center chief who attempted tosteal the voting actas, as in many similar situations during the week of theelections, officials were able to stop the center chief and he was arrestedbefore leaving the voting center.

While some problems did exist in polling places, citizendenouncements and intervention prior to Election Day provided for a relativelycalm day in the polling centers.

Section III:  Recommendations

1.     The TSE should grant all political parties and the general public full accessto the Electoral Registry for inspection and audit, specifically with respectto the official population data of the National Registry of Naturalized Persons(RNPN).

2.     The Electoral Registry should be purged and updated in accordance with the mostrecent 2007 Population Census, as recommended by the Organization of AmericanStates.

3.     As the foremost regulatory body of the elections, the TSE should increase itsefforts to prevent, investigate, and penalize violations of the Electoral Code.Violations during the campaign and on Election Day should be punished inaccordance with Salvadoran law, and violations of the Code on Election Dayshould be stopped. Many serious denouncements made to the TSE were dismissedwithout sufficient investigation, which led to major breakdowns of theelectoral process. This was most notably in the case of San Isidro, Cabañas during the January 2009 electionwhen ignored complaints to the TSE that the incumbentARENA mayoral candidate was distributing voter cards to Honduran citizens foundin the voter registry led to the vote being shutdown mid-day.

4.     The TSE should denounce and investigate all charges of campaign-relatedviolence, and take active steps to prevent further electoral violence. It isthe duty of this body to demand that the campaign progress in a peaceful mannerand to penalize the political parties that do not cooperate.

5.     Recognizing the significant role played by the media throughout the campaign:

         A) The TSE should call for well-researched and informativeelectoral coverage, instead of sensationalized coverage that serves topolarize, generate fear among the population, and favor one politicalparty. 

         B) All recognized presidentialcandidates should have equal time given to the candidates on nationaltelevision and radio during the official course of the campaign.  All candidates should have equal and freeaccess to newspapers to promote the details of their platform.

         C) All recognized candidates for municipal mayors orlegislative seats will be given an equal amount of space and time in localnewspapers and radio stations.  Cost forthese this time and space should be paid for by the state.

6.     Residential Voting should beexpanded to the national level and implemented in such a manner that providesthe entire population convenient access to community voting centers, thusencouraging voter turnout among legitimate residents and discouragingnon-residents from voting illegally. A goal should be that residential voting, especially in urban locations, shouldbe within walking distance for voters. Free public transportation should be provided for all voters by the stateon Election Day.

7.      Adult Salvadorans who are residing in other countries and whoare still citizens of ElSalvador should be allowed to vote as istrue in other democracies that use best international election process.  For example, Salvadorans who reside in theUnited States should have the opportunity to vote on the same day as thenational election in El Salvador in locations such as Los Angeles, CA, SanFrancisco, CA, Houston, TX, Miami, FL and other locations as the TSE determinesare necessary and proper both in the USA and other nations.

8.      As in other democracies that use best international standards,the role of each citizen of ElSalvador should be encouraged and those whoare not citizens should be welcome as observers and interested parties but theyshould not be allowed to materially interfere in the national elections:

         A) Salvadoran citizens should be allowed to activelyparticipate in campaigns and to contribute to the candidates of their choice.  Contributions over $10 should be complied andreported to the TSE in a timely manner, unless the citizen believes that thereis a potential danger to them iftheir name is publicly known.  Themaximum donation that any El Salvadoran citizen can contribute to anycandidates should be limited to the per capita income of Salvadorans in theyear prior to the election.  The TSEshould have specific laws and regulations that will enforce this.

         B) Foreign nationals (not Salvadoran citizens) should not bepermitted to contribute direct or indirect material aid to any candidate orpolitical party.  Any such aid acceptedby a candidate or party should be forfeited at twice the amount to thestate.  All records of fundraising andspending of the campaigns should be transparent.

9.     AllJRV members and party vigilantes should receive a thorough, standardizedtraining in all of the procedures, regulations and laws governing theirpositions and the electoral process.

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