“Dirty” Campaigns

The Solidarity Force (Fuerza Solidaria), an ARENA backing organization, recently ran television adds that connect a photograph of Mauricio Funes, to the FMLN icon, to a photograph of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The FMLN acted immediately, calling the Tribunal Suprema Electoral (TSE) to take a strong position in ensuring clean campaigns and a transparent electoral process.

FMLN representatives have accused the ARENA campaign of using “scare tactics” to win votes as they remain about 10% behind the FMLN in public opinion polls.

This particular smear campaign is seen as even more dangerous with the approaching XVIII Cumbre Iboamericana to be held in San Salvador in coming weeks. President Chavez is supposed to attend but is currently refusing to participate in the conference set to discuss “Childhood and Development” because of fear for his security.

All of this conflict comes only a few weeks after FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes and ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila both signed a decree calling for non-confrontational campaigns and a non-violent electoral process.

(See www.diariocolatino.com.sv for articles)

Fuerza Solidaria Ad Video, “Riesgosos” (Risky):


ARENA and party affiliates continue to deny they are running a “dirty campaign” or “dirty war” in the media. Addtionally, a representative who once ran for President of Venezuela and now represents the Fuerza Solidaria has called on FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes to “speak frankly” about his relationship with current Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Jaíme Handal, who ran unsuccesfully for Mayor of San Salvador for the ARENA party, is now the face of Fuerza Solidaria. ARENA Presidential candidate Rodigo Avila has said that he considers Handal an important part of the ARENA party.



Anna Sanger. SHARE Foundation. Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern.


More Election Reforms

There was major disagreement amongst the five majority parties in the Hacienda Commission of the Legislative Assembly discussing electoral reform once again.

The argument over whether ballots will need to be signed and stamped by an official of the Vote Receiving Committee (JRV) in order to be counted has been ongoing since December of 2007 when the PCN and ARENA decided that neither was necessary to make a vote official.

Early this year, FMLN, PDC, and PCN were all able to agree on a proposition of certain electoral reforms. The agreement was that all ballots had to be signed and stamped or officially verified (by serial number for example) and that any JRV official who violated official handling of the ballots would be fined.

On October 15, 2008, the ARENA representative realized the other parties had agreed and asked to be given time to mull over the agreement. When the party representatives came together for what was supposed to be a final meeting the reforms seemed consensual.

Within forty-seven minutes of the meeting ARENA representative Romero claimed that there was no consensus on the new accords, causing an FMLN candidate to leave the room in frustration. Ultimately the PCN party seemed to have been swayed by ARENA to join their attempt to stop the agreement from moving forward.

Since there was no agreement reached amongst the parties the reform will be filed for another six months, and evaluated at a later date.


Anna Sanger. SHARE Foundation. Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

right-wing smear campaign ads targetting Mauricio Funes

a group called “Fuerza Solidaria”, clearly linked to the ARENA party, has been broadcasting these advertisements recently in El Salvador.  The ads recall the dirty campaign against Schafik Handal and the FMLN in 2004.  Check out the ads here and a popular blog in Spanish criticizing the ads here.

Report by Delegation to El Salvador Challenges US Government’s Role in Human Rights Abuses and Political Intervention

October 8, 2009

Download report at www.cispes.org/2008delegationreport (Spanish version coming soon)

A recently returned delegation to El Salvador has published a report on human rights abuses, the potential for fraud and intervention in the 2009 Salvadoran elections, and the role that the US government has played in the cited injustices.  The delegation was organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and was made up of 17 US citizens and residents.  The introduction to the report explains its intended purpose of “offer[ing] elected officials, the media, and concerned citizens a description of the deterioration of human rights in El Salvador…[and] the potential impediments to true democracy faced by the Salvadoran people as they approach a crucial election period in their country.” Continue reading

UCA poll shows large lead for FMLN candidate

from http://luterano.blogspot.com/2008/10/new-uca-poll-regarding-2009-elections.html

The University of Central America’s Public Opinion Institute has released a new poll regarding the views of Salvadorans about the upcoming national elections in 2009. The press release with the poll results highlights these conclusions from the study:

  • More than half of Salvadorans have little or no trust in the electoral process.
  • More than half of the people believe that there will be fraud in the upcoming elections.
  • A significant percentage of the citizens consider the economy to have worsened under the existing government.
  • The FMLN and Funes maintain their advantage over ARENA and Avila in voters’ preferences at the national level.

In the poll, Mauricio Funes leads Rodrigo Avila 49.7% to 34.2% for president while the FMLN also leads in preferences for mayors and deputies to the National Assembly, and 58.8% of respondents believe that ARENA should not continue to govern the country. Continue reading

Avila choses Zablah

ARENA party presidential candidate Rodrigo Avila has chosen Arturo Zablah as his running mate.

Zablah, in the past, has been seen as a centrist, previously criticizing ARENA party actions. Even with his centrist view, he is not considered very popular with people on the left or right politically.

The decision of Zablah is seen as a sign that Avila is going for a platform of change. Salvadorans show much discontent with ARENA performance in the past, including with current ARENA President Saca.

ARENA party founder, Hugo Barrera, also acknowledges that ARENA has had its failures, especially when it comes to the job market and social improvements. Public order, he knows, must be established.

The position of Vice President has previously been a merely decorative position, but Zablah has expressed desire to increase the power of the VP.

FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes demonstrated an indifferent attitude to the news.



  • The Supreme Electoral Tribunal has announced that elections will be conducted using unsmudgeable ink when voting. The ink will remain on voters’ fingerprints so that they can only vote once, in one location. http://www.diariocolatino.com/es/20081013/nacionales/59724/
  • Salvadoran foreign minister Marisol Argueta has stated that her speech recently made at American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, seemingly calling for US intervention in the elections and warning about the dangers of an FMLN win, was misconstrued in a “highly politicized atmosphere”. http://www.diariocolatino.com/es/20081011/nacionales/59685/

ARENA Candidate Avila narrows down Vice President picks

FMLN Presidential Candidate Mauricio Funes chose his running mate weeks ago, while ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila has just recently narrowed his potential partners to three.

José Ángel Quirós, Patricia Figueroa and Arturo Zablah are officially Avila’s top vice presidential picks.

Quirós is said to be more of a technically profficient potential. He has served with presidential administrations before, for example, serving as the Minister of Public Affairs under Francisco Flores.

Figuerosa would bring a combination of skills; she has served as ambassador to India and worked in the Ministry of the Economy.

Zablah is supposed to be able to sway undecided voters on the center and left.

Avila says he is not postponing his decision as part of a strategy, but was hoping to consolidate the ARENA party before making his next move.