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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 17:55:07 -0600 (CST)
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Article: 58604
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.29581.19990325181616@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** reg.elsalvador: 21.0 **/
** Topic: Proceso 847 **
** Written 2:34 PM Mar 23, 1999 by cidaiuca@es.com.sv in cdp:reg.elsalvador **

The post-electoral crisis in the FMLN

Proceso, 847, Editorial, 17 March 1999

The FMLN failed in the recent presidential elections and that fact will cause repercussions inside the party. Facundo Guardado's resignation as Coordinator of the FMLN was the immediate result of the "calling in of accounts" which would, unfailingly, be generated in the FMLN once the electoral defeat began to be assimilated. If Guardado's resignation were an expression of the process of organizational and doctrinal change in the FMLN there would be nothing left to do but to congratulate the FMLN leadership because its political survival as the principal opposition party hangs in the balance precisely on the question of its internal renovation. But all seems to indicate that this is not what it is about. Rather it appears to be a recapturing of the party apparatus by those who had been consigned to oblivion when Guardado took over the coordination of that party.

Guardado's rivals, with quite a measure of success, have assigned themselves the task of making sure that the failure of the elections falls upon Guardado's shoulders. From this perspective - which is shared by one and another FMLN militant -, it was not the FMLN which lost to ARENA but Facundo Guardado, whose personal lack of capacity was what led the FMLN to the electoral debacle. And so things go: he had to pay the consequences of his defeat - that is to say, he had to suffer the accusations of some leaders and rank and file militants who felt themselves to have been "betrayed" by someone who, according to their version of things, established himself as their representative without really being one. The FMLN - so goes the corollary of the perspective under discussion - had everything to gain, but Guardado threw it all away; other members of the FMLN, who are more firm in their revolutionary principles, would have guaranteed an electoral triumph.

Obviously, things are not so simple as those who would like to blame Facundo Guardado would like them to be. Before anything else, it is not true that it was he who lost and not the FMLN. It must be said, without any further preamble: the FMLN lost the elections because the nomination of Facundo Guardado, with all of the conflicts around it which muddied the water, was an expression of what the FMLN is and what this party could offer society. To make Guardado the only one responsible for the electoral defeat is to see him as someone who came in from outside the party and who, on his own account and at his own risk, joined the competition for the presidency. But Guardado did not come from outside the party; he arose from the very heart of the party and, in his nomination - in the way in which Guardado ended up being the FMLN candidate - played an important role as much for those who supported it (i.e., the "revisionists") as he did for those who openly opposed his nomination (i.e., the "orthodox" group). The fi [sic]

Both groups -both of which are integral parts of the FMLN - wished to impose their presidential formula and mutually exclude the other. Both groups are equally ambitious. In the context of the unresolved conflict between them stood Facundo Guardado who established himself as candidate. But not only this. Also in the context of that conflict was where the electoral failure of the FMLN, of which the electoral formula is only one of the components, began to take shape. In this sense, both the "orthodox" group as well as the "revisionist" group are directly responsible for the FMLN failure in the 1999 elections. The ambitions for power which both tendencies espoused, the exclusive messianism of both, the pretension of others to be the ones to save the country.... All of this translated into a party without clear ideas and without the capability to convince anyone, with a confused political offer communicated in the poorest possible way: in summary, a party which, far from competing to win, was dooming itself to f [sic]

In view of what occurred, it is not surprising that the "orthodox" group is seeking to take control of the FMLN and that Facundo Guardado had to leave by the back door. A victory for the FMLN in these elections (or, at least, to the point of being able to force a second round on ARENA) would have left them with nothing to show inside the party. At this point in time, without succumbing to the sorrow of defeat, they have puffed themselves up and consoled themselves with the idea that they had nothing to do with all that happened. If Guardado is the one who lost - and not the FMLN -, they had always been against him, it would only be legitimate that they now take up the reins of the party - a line of reasoning which appears to be simple and apparently coherent with the facts. Nothing, however, is farther from reality. If they begin from this premise, it is not even remotely possible that the urgently needed internal transformation of the FMLN will follow. Such a transformation would have to imply a renewal of the [sic]

The leadership of the FMLN - the "orthodox" as well as the "revisionist" group - has always fled from open, in-depth debate of the problems which divide it. It has preferred to deny that something serious is happening inside the party than to accept the difficulties and try to resolve them. The FMLN is not well served by attitudes such as that expressed by Nidia Diaz when she says, "I believe that this is an opportunity to analyze the results of the election and strengthen the party...it would be an error to fight among ourselves". Nidia Diaz wishes notwithstanding, internal struggles in the FMLN are a reality and have been for some time now. And because this is true, instead of longing for peace and cordiality in the party, it is better to openly examine the reasons for the internal struggles and those who are engaged in them. It is precisely because this examination is not taken up, or, because the dreams of brother and sisterhood continue to be dreamed, that the internecine warfare inside the party is not going to subside; and even less likely will it be resolved.

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