Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Fresh face lifts ex-guerrillas in Salvador election
Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:36pm EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Catherine Bremer
SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador's former Marxist rebels have their best odds yet of ousting a right-wing party in power since the end of a 1980s civil war when the country votes on Sunday in a charged presidential election.
Leftist Mauricio Funes, a dapper former TV journalist, is leading polls for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front as he promises to soften the blow of the world economic crisis on El Salvador's poor yet get on well with ex-foe Washington.
Rodrigo Avila, a former national police chief running for the long-ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance, ARENA, is close behind in the latest polls.
Many Salvadorans want a break from two decades of right-wing rule, but others are squeamish at the thought of putting the economy in the hands of leaders schooled in Cold War-era Marxism just as the economic crisis bites.
"I never voted for the FMLN before, but with Mauricio it's different," said Martha Martinez, 50, a prim housewife whose flowery satin blouse stood out from the red T-shirts of hardline FMLN voters at a rally in the capital.
Memories of the 1980-92 conflict which killed 75,000 people still hang over El Salvador and the election race has been loaded with barbs by the rival parties born out of former enemy camps.
Avila, who once acknowledged shooting leftist fighters as a soldier during the war, has called the FMLN "communists" and "terrorists" and Funes, who reported on but never fought in the conflict, has accused ARENA of using smear tactics.
Economic gloom is playing a part too, as El Salvador stings from a recession in the United States, the main buyer of its factory goods and the source of some $3.5 billion a year sent home by a huge Salvadoran diaspora there.
"If there was a third party I'd vote for it. Things are terrible economically and with ARENA they will stay the same," said Jose Rodriguez, 37, who says business has dwindled at the market stall where he repairs and sells old televisions.
"But I can't vote for the FMLN. I saw what they were like in the war and I don't know if they've changed," he said. "With them, things could get three times worse."
Funes, 49, who won fans presenting TV news programs critical of the government, calls himself a center-leftist closer to the moderate left of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva than the more radical governments of Nicaragua and Venezuela.
He says he seeks close ties with Washington and wants to reform institutions to spread the wealth in a country where factory workers earn around $5 a day but inflation has sent some prices soaring to developed world levels.
"We are seeing the birth of a new El Salvador," Funes, who wears white rather than red shirts, told supporters. He promises to invest in farming to avoid high food imports and crack down on tax evasion by the rich.
Avila, 44, who failed as head cop to curb rampant street gang violence, says his party is best placed to weather an expected shrinking economy this year. "We have the capacity to deal with the crisis," he said this week. Continued...
View article on single page
China says willing to meet Dalai Lama's envoys
Video: American men opt for credit crunch snip
Blog: Your newspaper died? People don’t care
Commentary: The Dow at 36,000 and the end of history
More International News
South Korea, Japan warn North Korea on missile
Pakistan seeks way out of crisis, detentions multiply
Hamas, Fatah still at odds over Israel attitude
Former Northern Ireland foes grieve at policeman's funeral
World court prosecutor to appeal Bashir genocide ruling
More International News...
FACTBOX - Key facts about El Salvador presidential candidates
FACTBOX - Key facts about El Salvador
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Citi doesn't need more government capital: Parsons
Stewart, Cramer square off over market meltdown
Anna Nicole doctors charged with providing drugs | Video
RPT-FEATURE-Corporate oil booms in low-tax Switzerland
45 percent of world's wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO
"Vampire" unearthed in Venice plague grave
Long-term GE investors fret, fume over stock slide
BofA seeks more jumbo mortgages: report | Video
Doubts arise over threat by German teenage gunman | Video
Debris briefly forces astronauts from space station | Video
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Serb paramilitaries jailed
Gunman appeared to target women
Minefield rescue ends in tragedy
Gunman warned of plans in chatroom
Madoff in jail
Aid workers kidnapped in Darfur
Tent City: The recession's new face
Close call in space
China pays a White House call
Tibet tense one year after riots
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
Dalai Lama slams China over Tibet "suffering"
The Dalai Lama said more and more Chinese were beginning to see a problem with Beijing's rule over Tibet, lamenting how the homeland he fled 50 years ago had become a "hell on earth." Full Article | Topics
Heavy security as Tibetans mark Dalai Lama's exile
China's Hu demands wall of stability in Tibet
Question marks over succession of Dalai Lama
Factbox: Historical ties between China and Tibet
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.