SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s presidential candidate for the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), Mauricio Funes, presented his party’s national government plan this week calling for the reactivation of the economy, the opening of the country to new markets and the strengthening of science and technology.
Funes, a popular TV journalist, said during the XXIV National Convention of the FMLN that he feels proud to be “part of a team of men and women who will do what’s possible for the unprecedented transformation of this country.”
The party’s government plan, titled “Hope is Born, Change is Coming,” was approved by 584 delegates at the party convention, attended by more than 8,000 party supporters in San Salvador’s International Convention Center.
Funes, 48, said that during his 21 years as a journalist in El Salvador he’s had the opportunity to “construct a direct and close relationship of the soul with our people,” as well as understand the country’s needs and poverty.
In that sense, he said, he could “no longer continue being just a commentator on the drama that El Salvador is living,” and that he couldn’t remain “indifferent to the ruinous and destructive path that the country is on.”
“I got on the political cause because only politics will allow me to fight to change this dramatic situation,” Funes said, adding that he is confident that he and the FMLN will win in the first round of voting March 15.
Funes, who is leading in the polls, will face off against Rodrigo Avila, candidate for the ruling right-wing Republican Nationalist Alliance, ARENA, which has been in power since 1989.
Funes said the FMLN program is based on a “change that implies wellbeing and security for families, stability for workers, confidence for the business class and opportunities to return to El Salvador for those who have moved out of the country.”
He said the principal focus of the government plan will be the reactivation of the agricultural sector, creating jobs and business freedom to energize the local economy.
Funes said he’ll also look for ways to consolidate trade relations with Europe, Russia, India and China, and open diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Funes guaranteed an increase in pensions for the elderly and called on the country’s intellectuals to work together to guarantee a better education system to develop science and technology, as well as include gender equality in the curriculum.
Funes’ running mate and party ideologue Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the last remaining of the historic comandantes of the FMLN guerrilla movement, said that the party program has been developed for the past 10 months through a process of consultation with party committees and various sectors of the population, both inside and outside the country.
In his speech, Sánchez Cerén asked for forgiveness of the victims and families of the civil war in El Salvador (1980-1992).
Avila, for his part, published a message to the nation in the daily newspapers saying that his government plan was to “install the first citizen government in El Salvador.”
He said the 2009 election represents an option between “a dogmatic and authoritarian party of the FMLN, or the installation of the first citizen government in the history of El Salvador.”