[Marxism] Leftist Declares Victory In El Salvador

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 16 06:56:36 MDT 2009

Leftist Declares Victory In El Salvador Election

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 16, 2009; A11

MIAMI, March 16 -- Mauricio Funes, a former TV newsman who was recruited 
to run for president, declared himself the winner of El Salvador's 
presidential contest Sunday night, bringing into power a leftist party 
built by former guerrillas and ending two decades of conservative rule.

Funes, a dynamic speaker and political outsider who compares himself to 
President Obama and pledged to be an agent of change in the small 
Central American nation, was leading the polls late Sunday night with 
51.2 percent of the vote and more than 90 percent of the ballots 
counted. Turnout was high and election day was mostly calm.

If the lead holds, Funes and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation 
Front (FMLN) will take control of a nation struggling with an economic 
crisis and a murder rate that is among the highest in the world. The 
country has also suffered through 12 years of civil war, which left more 
than 70,000 people dead.

Funes's opponent, former National Police chief Rodrigo Ávila, who 
represented the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), was trailing 
with 48.7 percent of the vote. Ávila conceded defeat, telling 
supporters, "We will be a constructive opposition."

During a rough campaign season, Ávila insisted that a win for Funes and 
the FMLN would transform El Salvador into a hard-left satellite state of 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Ávila further warned that Funes would 
turn El Salvador away from the United States. The two countries have 
traditionally shared close relations. More than 2 million El Salvadorans 
live in the United States, and thousands traveled home to vote in the 

Funes promised to create a broad government composed of FMLN members and 
outsiders like himself. He said he sought a close working relationship 
with the United States and vowed to champion the cause of El Salvador's 
poor. "This is the happiest night of my life, and I want it to be the 
night of El Salvador's greatest hope," he said. "I want to thank all the 
people who voted for me and chose that path of hope and change."

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