El Salvador: Funes a leader for recognizing Lobo as legitimate Honduras president (FMLN fiery radical Chavistas) –FIU-SOUTHCOM

El Salvador Strategic Culture Report-September 2010 (Click for pdf version of full report), by Cristina Eguizábal, vice-chair of the board of director's of Washington Office on Latin America. The excerpts included here are more extensive than some of the others because of the numerous references to Honduras. Not all of the events or fact mentioned are egregiously inaccurate; what’s egregious in most cases is the analysis and what is not being said, given the exclusion of the necessary historical, political-economic, and imperial context. In particular, the brief comments on the coup show precisely where Eguizábal, WOLA, and SOUTHCOM stand.
Quotes culled by Jenny Grubbs

Today, the Salvadoran army is now fully under civilian control. It’s [sic] newly founded doctrine, professionalism, and its complete withdrawal from political and economic affairs, has transformed it into one of the most respected institutions in El Salvador. P. 4

Economic prosperity produced a growing middle class formed of teachers, sales clerks, civil servants, and other professionals as well as artisans—all increasingly well organized in all sorts of associations. While civil society thrived in the cities, despite repression, the rural masses continued to be immersed in poverty and ignorance. P. 5

Relations between El Salvador and Honduras had always been difficult. Historically, the border between the two countries has been a source of tension and has since been resolved with the exception of Conejo Island. P. 5

The two countries had benefitted very differently from the regional integration policies launched in the 1960’s. El Salvador’s overpopulation spilled over to Honduras where the agricultural frontier was still wide open. In 1969 tensions between the two countries were high. The most visible "threat" posed by Salvadorans was the increasing number of undocumented migrants that had settled in the Honduran countryside. These existing tensions coincided with inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 World Cup and disturbances broke out. Fearing for their safety, Salvadoran migrants were returning home in droves. The influx of displaced Salvadorans was placing a burden on services and threatening to provoke widespread social unrest. The specter of 1932 loomed large. It was clear that war with Honduras would lead to the breakdown of the regional integration process that had benefitted El Salvador so much, however, the Salvadoran elites, military and civilian, were willing to pay that price and went to war. Eleven years later, under extreme pressure from the Reagan administration, the two nations signed a Peace Treaty on October 30, 1980. P. 6

El Salvador lost the economic "safety valve" formerly provided by illegal emigration to Honduras; land-based pressures again began to build. Although the vast majority of Salvadorans, including all of the legal political parties, had united in support of the war, unity did not last long. P, 6

The Chortí lived throughout western and central El Salvador north into western Honduras, including Copán, and in the area of Escuintla and Quirigua in the Motagua Valley, Guatemala. The Lenca were settled in the east-central portion of El Salvador, east from the Lempa River, and in central and western Honduras. P. 7

The Pipiles were Nahuat-speaking [sic] people and settled in coastal Guatemala and Nicaragua, as well as in El Salvador and Honduras. P. 7

In 1969, however, the war with Honduras derailed the process of what in hindsight we can call a gradually unfolding democratization process. P. 14

El Salvador had been one of the main beneficiaries of the Central American Common Market (CACM). Always conscious of the small size of their territory, the Salvadoran elites had historically been in favor of all kinds of Central American cooperation and embraced the integration project proposed by the United Nations with great enthusiasm. On the contrary, trade dynamics had been unkind to Honduras, the least developed of the five countries, despite trade preferences that the integration treaties gave the Honduran economy. The balance of trade between El Salvador and Honduras clearly benefited the former. Salvadoran investment in Honduras was growing, but the most visible "threat" posed by Salvadorans was the increasing number of undocumented migrants settling in the Honduran countryside. Salvadorans had begun migrating to Honduras since the first decades of the twentieth century, initially attracted by the job opportunities offered by the fruit companies on banana plantations. But they soon found out that land was plentiful in Honduras, and that they could easily either settle on unclaimed national land, buy land to cultivate for their own consumption, or become sharecroppers. (Footnote: In 1952, 88.6% of Honduran territory was still national land. See A. White, Op.Cit. p. 185.) p. 14

The Guatemalan-Salvadoran border was established very early after the dissolution of the Federation, and the Guatemalan government never contested Sonsonate and Ahuachapán belonging to El Salvador. The border with Honduras was, on the contrary, ill-defined and border clashes were common. Ill-defined borders, uncontrolled migration, and trade imbalances, all contributed to tense relations between the two neighbors. P. 15

In July 1968, the Honduran military government issued an Agrarian Reform decree distributing national land. Only native-born citizens were to benefit from the new measure. Increasingly, the Honduran government and the powerful rural lobby blamed the approximately 300,000 undocumented Salvadoran immigrants for the nation's economic problems. The media denounced the negative impact of Salvadoran labor on unemployment and wages on the Caribbean coast. In January 1969, Honduras refused to renew the Bilateral Agreement on Immigration established between the two countries in 1967 to regulate the flow of people across their common border. These existing tensions coincided with inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 World Cup. Disturbances broke out during the first game in Tegucigalpa, but the situation got considerably worse during the second match in San Salvador. Honduran fans were roughed up, and in response Salvadorans were killed and brutalized in Honduras. A massive Salvadoran exodus began. On June 27, 1969, Honduras broke diplomatic relations with El Salvador. P. 15

The Salvadoran Air Force attacked targets inside Honduras and the Salvadoran army launched major offensives along the Pan American highway and against Honduran islands in the Gulf of Fonseca. At first, the Salvadorans made fairly rapid progress. By the evening of July 15, the Salvadoran army, considerably larger and better equipped than its Honduran counterpart, captured the towns of El Amatillo and Nacaome, and the departmental capital of Nueva Ocotepeque. Despite early Salvadoran air strikes, the Hondurans eventually dominated that area, destroying most of the Salvadoran Air Force. The Salvadoran Army, however, clearly dominated on the ground. It had pushed rapidly into Honduran territory before fuel and ammunition shortages and diplomatic efforts by representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) eventually convinced El Salvador that it had to halt the offensive. Approximately 2,000 people— mainly Honduran civilians—were killed during the hostilities that ensued between the two countries. P. 15

Beyond national pride and jingoism, the Salvadorans had important motivations for launching a military strike against Honduras. P. 15

It was clear that war with Honduras almost certainly would lead to the breakdown of the CACM, the Salvadoran elites, military and civilian, were willing to pay that price. In their estimation, the CACM was already close to a breakdown anyway over the issue of comparative advantage; open hostilities with Honduras would only hasten the inevitable outcome. P. 16

The war produced losses for all in the region. Between 60,000 and 130,000 Salvadorans had been forcibly expelled or had fled from Honduras, producing serious economic disruption in specific areas of both warring countries p. 16

In 1992, the Court awarded most of the disputed territory to Honduras, and in 1998 the two countries signed a border demarcation treaty to implement the terms of the ruling. The total land area given to Honduras from El Salvador after the court's ruling was around 374 square kilometers. P. 16

El Salvador lost the economic "safety valve" formerly provided by illegal emigration to Honduras; land- based pressures again began to build. P. 16

During the 1980s, the Reagan Administration, eager to "draw the line against communism" in El Salvador, promoted a counterinsurgency strategy designed to defeat the popular uprising taking place in the country at the time. That strategy included a military campaign against the insurgency, a non-military effort designed to "win the hearts and minds" of the civilian population, and an effort at nation building by promoting free and regularly-held elections. P. 18

The Salvadoran army is now fully under civilian control. Its newly founded doctrine, professionalism, and its complete withdrawal from political and economic affairs, have transformed it into one of the most respected institutions in El Salvador p. 19

El Salvador competed with Guatemala for hegemony in the regional market, and the Salvadoran elites, conditioned by the small size of the country, became the champions of economic integration. p. 20

Following the war with Honduras, the collapse of the common market, and the closing of the migration escape valve, the Salvadoran political (military) and economic elites frantically looked for another development model. p. 20

The authorities’ focus on cutting government spending, privatizing state-owned enterprises, and, subsequently, adopting the U.S. dollar as its national currency, have made El Salvador one of the most open economies in the world. p. 21

Some of the most critical disagreements have included the country’s stance on the July 2009 coup in neighboring Honduras. While the FMLN has echoed Hugo Chávez ́s fiery rhetoric and radicalism, Funes opted for a more judicious and pragmatic view. In fact, Funes is currently one of the Isthmus’ leading voices in seeking international recognition of Porfirio Lobo as Honduras’ legitimate president. p. 23

The Honduras coup of July 2009 seems to have inspired some hard-line sectors of the right and ARENA to hint at the viability of implementing the "Honduran Model"38 in El Salvador. A recent visit to San Salvador by former de facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti—at the invitation of sectors closely tied to ARENA—prompted President Funes to publicly chastise those "economic, political and military sectors that justify coups and that publicly support leaders and practices that are outside a democratic system." p. 24

Salvadoran political parties lack credibility; only 35.6% of Salvadorans have any confidence in them. They are deeply corrupt, and corrupt politicians are easy prey for drug money. P. 24

The last intra Central American war was the so-called "Soccer War" in 1969. Nevertheless, for Salvadoran elites the main threats to their security have not been external, in their eyes, the main threats have come from within: natural disasters that threatened all and more directly aimed at them as ruling class, the menace posed by the "peasant masses." P. 25

Historically two dates are cited by Salvadoran historians as the key points of discontinuity in the country’s independent history: 1932, the year of the peasant insurrection in the Western highlands and following massacre and 1992, the signing of the Peace Accords putting an end to the bloody 12 year civil war. What about the war with Honduras? As we have tried to show, the 100 hours was a war against Honduras insofar as the Honduran elites were menacing the status quo in El Salvador by massively deporting Salvadoran peasants. The Salvadoran military clearly demonstrated that they were ready to use force and the war propaganda contributed to the creation of a "Honduran enemy" that all Salvadoran society, regardless of social classes, could abhor. P. 25



Thanks for organizing this analysis. Athough I'd had a brief scan of a few of the documents, it helps clarify their stance.

Reading this I remembered that (now offline) IRI video (mentioned: http://www.chavezcode.com/2009/07/role-of-international-republican.html) where the same was said about Honduras just before the coup:

"LAPOP surveys i...n 2008 in Guatemala reported that support for democracy stands at 60.5% (only Honduras is lower in Latin America)"

Somehow I didn't expect them to be as explicit as this though:

"LAPOP reports that 40% of Guatemalans would support a coup for security reasons.20 Thus, there could be a popularly supported coup in Guatemala. P. 32"

Certainly the worse the scholarship is the better news that is for Latin America I guess.