U.S. recommends Salvadorans vote “according to their conscience”


(This is an unofficial translation.  To read the original Spanish-language article in La Opinión, click here.) Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America said they will work with whoever wins to advance the prosperity agenda by: Maria Peña Posted: Jan 13, 2014 9:00 pm EST Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Government wants to encourage Salvadorans to vote “according to their conscience” in the coming presidential elections on February 2,  and will work with whoever wins the election, said Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson, in an interview last Monday. “We want to encourage Salvadorans to vote according to their conscience, and trust their capacity to vote in a free and fair election. We, on our side, will look forward to an involvement with the next president, whoever he is, in order to advance the agenda of prosperity”, said Jacobson. The official said the United States has worked well with the government of Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, and does not consider it appropriate to speculate on fears that bilateral cooperation in security matters may weaken. “We've had some disagreements with the Funes government on certain issues, but we have also worked satisfactorily with him”, said Jacobson. “We hope that we are able to work with whoever is elected in El Salvador, but the fact is that there is still much to do in the area of ​​economic sustainability.” According to the official, the Salvadoran government has to go on pushing an agenda of economic development. She also said that the presidential elections offer “great opportunities for different voices to be heard.” “We want to be partners with the next Salvadoran President (...) involvement with the private sector and the government is necessary, but I do not believe that one should think these elections are the end of the world,” Jacobson said. In the February 2 election, the governing FMLN party’s candidate, Salvador Sanchez Cerén, will make his bid for the presidency along with four other candidates, including former President Elias Antonio Saca, now heading the UNITY movement. The U.S. is the main destination of the Salvadoran diaspora, which will be able to vote for the first time. The polls predict a close election, and the possibility of a runoff cannot be ruled out. Jacobson made her statements during an extended review of U.S. priorities for the region in 2014, including matters of public security, economic development and an immigration reform that benefits immigrants that come from the region. TB/jaj

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