El Salvador is in the midst of a very spirited campaign season leading to the election of mayors and National Assembly deputies on March 12. The campaigning has produced a great deal of commentary in the Salvadoran blogosphere in the past two weeks.
Blogs in Spanish
Ligia at El Salvador o algo por el estilo is particularly incensed by the political campaigning of president Tony Saca for ARENA party candidates. She provides a rundown of recent television appearances of the president which she labels “tele-corruption” and SacaVision. Two arguments are advanced that Saca's campaigning is illegal — one is that members of the armed forces are prohibited from partisan political activity and Saca is the commander in chief of the armed forces. The second is a legal prohibition on government officials using their office to favor a particular political party.
At the Hunnapuh blog, they are also reacting to the coverage of Saca on television with poetic satire noting that only television and its suit-coated announcers could believe the claims of Saca and ARENA that the FMLN is in league with gangs in the country. Clearly no fan of Saca, the bloggers at Hunnapuh, also see an Alice in Wonderland through-the-looking-glass quality to Saca's rosy statements about El Salvador, a theme which is also picked up by blogger Rebeca.
Rebeca also describes watching political candidates debate in a forum hosted by respected Salvadoran journalist Mauricio Funes. The debate was dominated by the ARENA and FMLN candidates throwing stones at each other. At the end, Rebeca was left comparing the ARENA candidate's promise to have all the solutions with the record of where the country is today after many years of ARENA control of the government.
Soy Salvadoreño discusses promises he would like to see politicians of both parties make and keep, including a promise that they will not follow their individual desires, nor the desires of their party leadership, but the desires of the persons who elected them.
Bloggers are raising questions about the electoral census listing the eligible voters in El Salvador. The bloggers at Hunnapuh point out that the list is so out-of-date and full of ineligible voters, that recently deceased FMLN chief Schafik Handal surely lives on as an eligible voter. Meanwhile Salvador Canjura points to the movement of thousands of people changing their residence prior to the elections, to tip the balance of power from one party to the other. Canjura also wishes that the political campaigns, which seem to have lasted for more than a year, would simply be over.
Some bloggers on the Salvadoran right have also made their appearance in the past week. The author of Salvadoreños alrededor del Mundo, criticizes the the FMLN for resorting to marches and street protests without any legislative plan for governing the country. In a blog simply titled “Mi país” (My Country) the writer asks that, although the sorrows of the civil war should be remembered, people should now walk peacefully in the streets. The writer goes on to question whether the FMLN, which blew up bridges and infrastructure during the civil war to destabilize the government, should now be trusted to run the government.
Away from politics, a post by Soy Salvadoreño notes with some nostaliga that Banco Salvadoreño, with its little squirrel logo, has been acquired by a Panamanian investment group. Nostalgia is also apparent in the tribute to Kolashanpan, the uniquely Salvadoran soft drink.
Blogs in English,
Meg describes her meeting with Ruffina Amaya, the only survivor of the El Mozote massacre.
Tim expresses his view that ARENA is using the combination of fear tactics and Tony Saca's popularity as the centerpieces of its campaign, including the old threat that an FMLN victory will lead to Salvadorans in the US being deported. Tim also reprints a commentary by Carlos X, moderator of the San Romero mailing list, who is concerned that the rhetoric of both major parties about the problem of gang violence is polarizing the country in dangerous ways. Meanwhile Jon at the Posthegemony blog explores some reasons that the FMLN may doing better in recent pre-election polls.