El Salvador's self-proclaimed Obama, a Marxist, wins top spot

A former CNN correspondent has won the presidency of El Salvador. The new leader campaigned, in his own words, as the Obama for El Salvador, to the chagrin of U.S. State Dept. He is considered a far leftist Marxist and was running on the ticket of a former guerrilla organization.

El Salvador Former Rebels Win Their First Presidential Election - Bloomberg.com
El Salvador’s former rebel party won its first presidential election, ending two decades of rule for one of the staunchest U.S. allies in Central America.

Mauricio Funes, the candidate of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, said he would usher in a new type of leadership for Central America’s smallest country.

“Thank you for choosing hope over fear,” Funes said in San Salvador late yesterday in a speech carried on CNN Espanol. “This is a victory for all of El Salvador.”

Rodrigo Avila of the National Republican Alliance conceded defeat after results from yesterday’s election showed he trailed Funes. It is the first presidential loss in two decades for the ruling party, which squared off against the Marxist rebel group in a 12-year civil war that ended in 1992 and has remained close to successive U.S. administrations.

Funes, 49, a former television journalist, said he is willing to work with U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders. He campaigned on a slogan of “hope is born,” saying he represents the same type of change as Obama.
The former rebel FMLN emerged as El Salvador’s second-largest political party after signing peace accords in 1992, ending a civil war with a U.S.-backed military government that left about 75,000 people dead.
Funes never took up arms for the FMLN. His vice-presidential candidate, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, is a former rebel commander.
The former rebels made their greatest electoral gains at the beginning of this year, picking up 35 of 84 congressional seats, three more than they held before. Arena candidates won 32 legislative spots, down from 34 in 2004 elections.
The conservative party for which Avila was candidate had been in charge for two decades.

There is a troubling facet of this election campaign, and this win, for Obama, and perhaps it is also a welcome parallel for Obama's political foes to exploit into the future. Seeing as El Salvador is a very small country, it might get no traction, in any way, here in the U.S. However, supposed Democratic Party and liberal philosophy wonks, such as the blow-hard too-dumb-to-know-he's-an-angry-socialist Sean Penn, and TV/radio host and socialist apologist and Castro fan Tavis Smiley, are likely rejoicing this win.

The leftist was patterning his campaign and self-identification with not some Marxist or socialist leader such as Castro, Chavez or even a French or Swedish leader, but with Barack Obama. While Obama claims to be no leftist nor interested in harming private sector determination of the economy in favor of government-controlled economics, he has some extremists identifying with him. This El Sal. guy proclaimed his blatant Marxism to be the Obama tactics for that country.

- jR

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