Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 139 | Abril 1993


El Salvador

The Apathetic are not Centrists; as the Left we Must win their Support

Declarations to envío by Facundo Guardado, former FPL Comandante and one of the names mentioned as leftwing vice presidential candidate of the FMLN/Democratic Convergence.

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."The FMLN must continue to be, above all, the force that embodies this country's democratic transformations, the force that works for the interests of the poor, of the people who've never had opportunities and who've always been abandoned and impoverished.

"I'm convinced that the reason a large percentage of Salvadorans sympathize with the FMLN is because they see in us something new, a real alternative for change. From a position representing popular interests, we can integrate the project of a nation. Our project must integrate the popular, patriotic and national interest. But today there are those in the FMLN who believe we have to be a force that moves toward the political center.

"What I think is that the FMLN has to work hard to win the support of the immense number of people who aren't participating in this struggle because they haven't found a point to it. The FMLN has to show them that there is a point now, that it's worth participating. It should motivate these people. I don't believe that the people who are apathetic or skeptical about the process are centrists. If they were, they would be members of the other political parties that have presented themselves as center forces for some time. What has happened is that these people have not had options and have not found any point in participating. That is the FMLN's great challenge. It seems to me that we can win these sectors from the position of an alternative force, of a force that can transform this country. That is what we here call 'left.'
"In the FMLN we've only just begun to discuss and develop an electoral strategy; we still haven't developed a platform, pacts or candidates. There are ideas such as seeking to take the candidacies of the country's democratic forces, the forces committed to change, to a popular consultation. That's a positive thing, because it would contribute to giving the presidential formula or other important positions in the future government the backing not just of the FMLN and other forces organized in democratic parties, but also of sectors that don't belong to any party but who have a very solid interest that the democratization process progress.

"In the 1994 elections the democratic sectors the FMLN, Democratic Convergence, MNR and all sectors committed to this change have to wager on winning. Winning the Executive, the Legislature and the majority of the municipalities. And this isn't a fantasy. We think we're the ones in the best position to head up the transformations this country needs."

"We Need to Change Our Idea of a Hegemonic Project of the Left"

Declarations to envío by Juan Ramón Medrano, ex Comandante "Balta" of the ERP, currently FMLN Press Secretary.

"We already have a new framework in El Salvador and, therefore, we should forget being the "rock slinging" left and learn to negotiate to find compatible interests. We don't want to have happen to us what's happening in Nicaragua, where the property problem has become the bone of contention, where the Frente Sandinista, in spite of having had total power, lost the elections. Viewing ourselves in that mirror, we shouldn't make the same mistakes.

"Our problem is how to resolve extreme poverty, the problems of health, housing, education, drug trafficking, crime, etc., in a country that produces 400 million and spends 1,200. Concretely, we need to improve production levels and productivity and we the left can't do that. Private enterprise knows how to do that. So to do it together, we have to change our scheme of a hegemonic project of the left.

"It's true that we should aspire to a democratic socialism, but in the long term. First we should germinate that alternative grassroots economic pole, which is still very small. And there is space: because the national project is not yet the neoliberal project but a social market economy, a project of modernizing capitalism.

"There is a sector of the FMLN that is proposing the hegemony of the left, reflected even in the candidates they're proposing for president and vice president in the 1994 elections one from the Convergence and one from the FMLN. This means left plus left. And that means that, if we win, the left will be in power, and it will be the left that can't resolve the country's problems. We can't resolve them because at this time we're not going to change the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In addition, Clinton will not only decrease aid to El Salvador, but will also throw out the Salvadorans that are in the United States, and that will be a double problem for us.

"For us the most important thing is not whether or not we win the upcoming elections. The most important thing is whether or not we're strong enough to make the structural changes that we began with the accords continue to happen. In that sense, our proposal is not to polarize the situation in order to distinguish ourselves from Cristiani and the modernizing sector of private enterprise. On the contrary, we would associate with this sector and isolate the far right, which is polarizing. The people gain more if we achieve a project of national unity, independent of the power symbol that wins the 1994 elections, than if we try to polarize the country as the left in order to win the elections. It is another thing that, if in order to maintain a balance, we must continue to promote a territorial organizational project. We need to strengthen the sectors and the associations, because the stronger we are, the greater the possibility of reaching an agreement with private enterprise and the armed forces."

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