By Vic Hinterlang, Austin-Guajoyo Committee

Following up on our trip last May to Guajoyo, Austin’s Salvadoran Sister City, (See Austin-Guajoyo Sister City Project, May 31, 2014), Jennifer Long and I decided to return to El Salvador as International Observers of the February 2nd Presidential Election. Three parties, the FMLN, which currently holds the presidency in the person of Mauricio Funes, ARENA and UNIDAD would be contending. The FMLN, with Salvador Sanchez Ceren as its candidate (presidents serve one five year term), is the peacetime successor to the wartime guerilla organization of the same name. ARENA, whose candidate is Norman Quijano, has been the FMLN’s right wing nemesis since the war and held the presidency from 1989 until Mauricio Funes was elected in 2009. UNIDAD, a new coalition party made up of three small parties, is basically the creation of its candidate, Tony Saca, who was president from 2004 – 2009, and is supposedly intended to split the difference between the FMLN and ARENA. The Election Observer Delegation was under the auspices of the U.S. – El Salvador Sister Cities Network (www.elsalvadorsolidarity.org) and the SHARE Foundation (www.share-elsalvador.org), an organization doing similar work but not in a city to city format.

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