[Marxism] On the FMLN

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Feb 21 15:04:40 MST 2007

Louis writes, "I only wish that the US left had found ways to come together
like the various factions and parties that became the FMLN." 

I have a somewhat more jaundiced view of the Salvadorean FMLN than Louis
proposes. Roque Daltón was not just a victim of "bitter factional
divisions," but specifically of Joaquín Villalobos, who went on to become
the central leader of the ERP and is now a right-winger and
counterinsurgency advisor to the Colombian government. 

Villalobos was at the time a member of the Christian Democrat wing of the
ERP, so it should not surprise anyone that among the charges made to justify
the elimination of his rival was that Dalton was a Cuban agent. 

Then there is Cayetano Carpio, Commander Marcial, a.k.a. "The Ho Chi Minh of
our Americas." Louis describes him as part of the "Castroist" current in
Latin America, indeed, as a symbol of its maturity. However, Marcial took
his inspiration much more from Mao than from Che or Fidel. The former head
of the Salvadorean CP, he broke with them to launch a prolongued people's
war but apparently did not with the CP's intolerance for dissidence. 

In April of 1983, Commander Ana María, second in command of Marcial's FPL,
was found shot dead in her safe house in Managua. Investigations by the
Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior determined that it had been Marcial who
killed her, and accounting to the Nicaraguan account, when confronted with
the proof, Marcial took his own life. 

Despite public statements, the FMLN during the period of the civil war never
succeeded in consolidating itself into a single structure, into a single
party. I don't know what the situation in the U.S. was like, but in
Nicaragua there was bitter hostility and factionalism between the adherents
of different groups that formed part of the FMLN over issues that were never
clear to me.


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