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El Salvador

Critical elections in El Salvador; FMLN activists assassinated

Latin Radical -- Burke Stansbury from the Washington office of the US-based Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) talks with community radio about the first round of the El Salvadoran elections -- legislative and municipal -- to be held on January 17, 2009. Burke reports that the chances of an FMLN victory (supported by a 10 to 15 point lead in the polls over the last year) are good, with the voting population shrugging off the scare tactics of the ARENA party's media blitz.

There are still fears that ARENA, with a history of violence, intimidation and terror (the founder of ARENA was also the head of the notorious death squads of the 1980s), may resort to more drastic tactics, before the presidential elections in March. There is a loud call from the opposition FMLN party for international observers to ensure the integrity of the elections.

El Salvador: Video -- Unidos por el cambio (Democracy and the 2009 Salvadorean election)

By Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)(USA)

Recent polls in El Salvador show that the leftist FMLN party is 15% ahead over the right-wing presidential candidate from the ruling party. This only confirms what Salvadorans in the social movement, members of the FMLN, and the general public have been saying all along: El Salvador is the next in line to join the Latin American shift to the left!

The Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) has a long solidarity relationship with the Salvadoran people. One way CISPES continues to support real democracy in El Salvador, opposing US economic, military, and political intervention, is by bringing international observers delegations to El Salvador. You too can support free and fair elections and learn about the current situation in El Salvador by joining the CISPES delegation from March 9-19, 2009.

El Salvador election 2009: High hopes for FMLN

[Stop press, March 15, 2009: El Salvador: Victorious FMLN candidate promises `to benefit the poor rather than the rich']

By the National Committee of the War Veterans' Sector of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN)

El Salvador has entered a governance crisis the signs of which include the bare participation by the general public in the life of the nation. There is no attempt by the government to achieve consensus, or a will to reach agreement on public policy; and there is no tolerance of even a minimal participation by the citizenry in public affairs. Disillusion and scepticism are the predominant feelings amongst the general public. The country's institutional structures are weak and poorly developed. This impacts even upon political parties, which neither express nor channel popular demands and lack the capacity to play an intermediary role in the conflicts caused by the demands of different sectors of society.

Who’s afraid of Liberation Theology?

By Barry Healy

[This is the text of a talk presented at the Marxism Summer School conducted by the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective in January 2005. The pope referred to is the then-reigning Pope John-Paul II. The current Pope Benedict XVI is mentioned, being Cardinal Ratzinger at the time this talk was presented. See the appendices for more on Ratzinger and his background.]

I have an acquaintance who is a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party and a fundamentalist Christian, she occasionally gives me a lift to the railway station in the morning, which I appreciate. I didn’t know her religious bent until one morning she started regaling me with her opinion of Marxism, which was entirely based on the one sentence written by Marx that she knew: “Religion is the opium of the people.”

I don’t think she could even give a coherent explanation of the sentence, let alone an understanding of its context. She just knew that it was godless communism and that was enough for her.

Pope's immoral stance a death sentence; protest the unholy father

By Tony Iltis

July 12, 2008 -- The visit to Sydney for World Youth Day (WYD), July 15-20, by Pope Benedict XVI and 300,000 Catholic pilgrims is set to become the scene for protests. Ironically, the protests are being fuelled by the clumsy efforts of the NSW state Labor Party government to suppress them — passing laws making it illegal to “annoy” pilgrims and defining “annoy” broadly enough to include having signs, or even wearing t-shirts, with messages that the doctrinally rigid pope or his followers disapprove of.

* * *

No to Pope Rallies, July 19, 2008

El Salvador: FMLN's Jorge Schafik Handal Vega discusses the 2009 election

May 24, 2008 -- Jorge Schafik Handal Vega --son of the legendary FMLN founder ``Comandante Simon''' Jorge Schafik Handal -- joined the militant left in El Salvador in 1968 as a student. He was a combatant commander throughout the people’s war in the 1970s and 1980s and, following the 1991 peace accords, was integral to the successful transition of the FMLN’s combatant structures into the political and civil institutions of El Salvador. He is currently a deputy for the FMLN in the Central American Parliament.

Handal Vega is toured Australia in May 2008 to build solidarity with the FMLN’s 2009 election campaign, a message that was enthusiastically received. All recent opinion polls in El Salvador indicate that the FMLN will win both the mayoral and presidential elections next year, wresting the last Central American country to be governed by the extreme right wing out of its control. Desperate to prevent this, the US-backed ruling Arena party has launched a massive campaign of bribery and intimidation, which is accompanied by a growing number of brutal attacks on, and murders of, FMLN leaders and activists.

The FMLN is expecting Arena to also use fraud to try to win the elections, and is urging Australian activists to travel to El Salvador in December-January to act as international observers of the election.

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