Release: US Embassy Admits to Intervention in 2004 Salvadoran Presidential Elections

News

Fact-FindingDelegation Pledges to Hold Current Ambassador Glazer to Non-InterventionistCommitment for 2009

July 10, 2008

Contact: Burke Stansbury  202 521 2510 ext. 205 or [email protected]

During a recentheated meeting at the US Embassy in El Salvador,Ambassador Charles Glazer admitted to U.S. intervention in the 2004Salvadoran Presidential Elections. Themeeting on June 27 was requested by a group of 12 U.S. citizens, includingprofessors, students, journalists and community activists who were taking partin a 10-day delegation organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the Peopleof El Salvador (CISPES).

In their meeting withthe Ambassador, the group focused specifically on the history of U.S. political and military intervention in El Salvador.  They cited statements made by US StateDepartment officials denouncing. the leftist Farabundo Marti Liberation Front(FMLN) party during the 2004 presidential campaign. The delegates also referenced legislation putforward in Congress by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) that threatened to cut offremittances sent by Salvadorans in the U.S.to their families in ElSalvador should the FMLN win. "The U.S. Embassy in El Salvador never countered this absurd threator clarified the impossibility of such legislation being passed", said RosaLozano, a delegate from WashingtonD.C.  "Ultimately, such intervention helped turn aclose race for the presidency into a decisive victory for the right-wingNational Republican Alliance (ARENA) party."

When asked directlyif the U.S.government had intervened in the 2004 presidential elections on behalf of theARENA party, Glazer replied in the affirmative.When asked if such intervention would occur again, he said "no." 

"We believe that this is the first time thata representative of the Bush Administration has taken responsibility for themanipulative interference that took place during the 2004 presidential campaign,"said Burke Stansbury, Executive Director of CISPES and a participant in themeeting with the ambassador. It'sreally quite remarkable; CISPES and others have been crying foul since StateDepartment intervention began in mid-2003 but the Embassy has always denied itplayed a role in President Saca's victory, continued Stansbury.  But admitting fault last time is notenough.  We will continue to demand thatno such intervention occurs, not in 2009 nor ever again.


During the meeting, theEmbassy labor attache claimed that the possibility of fraud in the 2009 wouldbe diminished because of the active monitoring of various internationalorganizations and emphasized the role to be played by the InternationalRepublican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), bothsubsections of the National Endowment of Democracy (NED). When challenged about the partisan nature ofthese quasi-non governmental organizations, as well as accusations that the IRIand NDI have played an interventionist role in other Latin American elections,the Embassy representative admitted that there was controversy and doubtssurrounding the NED. 

"In 2007, the IRI,headed by Republican presidential candidate John McCain, presented PresidentSaca with its 'Freedom Award', showing its clear ideological preference in thepolarized Salvadoran political process," said Laura Embree-Lowry, a member ofthe Bostonchapter of CISPES and a participant in the Embassy meeting.  "We believe that the presence of partisangroups like the IRI and NDI will in fact be counterproductive to the goal ofthe Salvadoran people, which is to hold free and fair elections in 2009."

The CISPES delegationalso expressed concern about the aggressive conduct of Ambassador Glazer duringtheir brief meeting.  "Mr. Glazer arrivedwith the idea of attacking our delegation and rudely countering everything weput forward, to the point of being verbally abusive to at least two of thedelegates," said Andrew Kafel, a member of the delegation from New York. “Whether ornot the Ambassador agrees with the concerns we laid out about potential U.S.intervention, he has a duty as a public official to hear us out in a respectfulmanner," continued Kafel.  "If this ishow we as U.S.citizens are treated, we can only imagine how the Ambassador interacts withSalvadorans.  We hope that in the futurethe State Department will better orient their representatives about how torespectfully dialogue with those holding a differing opinion."

The group plans toissue an extensive report of the information gathered during the June CISPESfact-finding delegation, including an analysis of the current human rightssituation, information about the potential of fraud and irregularities in the2009 elections, and concerns about U.S. involvement in theprocess. The report will be release atthe end of July.  For more information goto www.cispes.org

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