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El Salvador Voters Perplexed Between the Left and the Right

El Salvador Voters Perplexed Between the Left and the Right

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El Salvador voters face runoff between the Left and the Right
El Salvador voters face runoff between the Left and the Right

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Feb 15, 2014
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03/25/2014

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Column 021014 Brewer 
 
Monday, February 10, 2014
 
El Salvador Voters Perplexed Between the Left and the Right
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
On February 2, 2014 voters in El Salvador went to the polls to elect a new president to a single five year term that  will begin June 1st. Voters faced the critical dilemmas of a homeland and government racked by fear, murder with impunity, intimidation, and lawlessness. They must have also been pondering the
government’s increased social spending
 by taking on yet more debt, with little regard for how it will be paid back. The government debt is set to reach 60 percent of gross domestic product this  year, up from 50 percent four years ago. In the face of indecision amidst considerable confusion and despair, no candidate reached the requisite vote total for a first round victory, thus the need for a runoff election in March. The choices will be two candidates that are polar opposites. One a member of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which has
 been labeled by El Salvador’s right wing
as communists favoring a Cuban-style dictatorship; and the other the candidate of the Nationalist Republican  Alliance (ARENA), described as a party of widespread corruption and capitalist greed.
 
 
Political paralysis has set in. However, it appears that many Salvadorans made up their minds long ago as to their political leanings and choice between two such ideologies. An estimated one-fifth of people born in El Salvador now live in the United States.
 
This, perhaps, after studying the failures and misery of regional neighbors like Cuba and Venezuela that suffer under determined dictatorships, with ongoing human rights violations, oppression, and hunger. It is estimated that over 100,000 (10 percent) of Salvadoran immigrants in the US live in the Houston, Texas area.
 
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated nation in Central  America, and it is experiencing slowed population growth, a decline in its number of youths, and a gradual aging of the population. In 2008 a national family planning survey indicated that female sterilization remained the most common contraception method in El Salvador, with its sterilization rate among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
 
Salvador Sanchez Ceren (69), of the FMLN, took 48.9 percent of the vote in the recent election, just short of the 50 percent needed that would have avoided the second round. Norman Quijano Gonzalez
(67), of ARENA, placed second with just under 39 percent. They  will face off again on March 9 in this most important election for El Salvador, as well as neighboring nations in the hemisphere that will feel the actions or inactions of the elected party. Sanchez Ceren is a former Marxist guerrilla who is currently seen as
 
leading in the polls.
 
Opponents to Sanchez Ceren cite his anticipated propensity for El Salvador to rely on assistance and/or counsel from Venezuela's Chavez-molded government, and the Castro regime in Cuba. Quijano Gonzalez is the current mayor of San Salvador. A dentist by profession, his introduction to the political domain  began as Manager of Social Action of the Municipality of San Salvador from 1989 to 1994. Since 1994 he participated in five continuous legislative periods, holding the position of secretary of the Board of the Legislative Assembly from 2006 to 2009.
 
Sanchez Ceren’s political ideology
derives from various democratic and revolutionary (i.e. leftist) organizations that he has been a member of over the  years. Today he belongs to the FMLN,  which is a left-wing political party that prior to 1992 was a coalition of five guerrilla organizations, and its ideology is described as Marxist-Leninist.
 
Over the years, US funding for training and material has been in abundance to many of the affected regions of the northern cone of Central America. However, many political critics in the region complain that they in fact are ignored, and receive second-class status  behind other world areas and issues.
 
There is little doubt that a failure of a new administration in El Salvador, to make significant proactive progress against transnational organized crime, and gang and insurgent violence, could prove disastrous to the entire region. Many voters lamented that neither of these two politicians presented a

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