Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Letter from Radio Victoria in El Salvador

"it is election day"

Election day in El Salvador, the ides of march, oh boy, and it rained last night in the driest time of the year, either it was the "bendicion de Dios" (God´s blessing) or weeping for the sad days to come. I am holding on, trying not to think about it, who will win, what will happen, can it go smoothly, can there really be a change.

i do believe that if things were relatively transparent and fair the FMLN candidate would easily win. But there has been such a dirty manipulative campaign going on, especially this last week, that it´s hard for me to feel sure. AND then there is the "legal fraud" which is people with voting cards that they got under false pretenses, people from neighboring countries who have been given these cards perhaps with a dead person´s name that still appears in the voter registration and their picture dropped in, or they were simply given a birth certificate at some point and then could get their identity card for voting.

there are many reports of people being bussed around to vote where they don´t belong, we just heard of 3 hondurans kicked out of a small town that doesn´t even border honduras, but they had voting cards. And ARENA activists have been trying to buy votes by giving out sheet metal to poor people in rural communities and today they are shamelessly handing out party t-shirts at a voting center which is a clear violation of the electoral laws since all campaigning officially ended 3 days before the elections. This is a violation punished by law yet the police stand by and do nothing. Could it be because the ARENA candidate is the ex-police chief????

also there have been program after program on Venezuela, ha, you´d think Hugo Chavez was one of the candidates here. there is a slogan "i won´t turn over el salvador" as if to say by voting for the FMLN we are opening the door to the great dictator, Hugo Chavez!! the programs on venezuela are aimed at scaring people and that has been the main thrust of ARENA´s campaign.

so it goes, it is really sickening to witness, the whole circus because the right wing has taken this to such a gut level, of fear, using images of children, talking about atheism and that Funes is the enemy of private enterprise, it just goes on and on.

i just watched Mauricio Funes vote on a TV channel, i really got emotional i have to admit, he was pressed upon by all the media yelling mauricio, mauricio and he spoke of massive voting and how this favored the change to come and that all FMLN activists and supporters should remain calm and wait for the results and that he was going to form a government of national unity, i really almost started to cry because i am repressing my emotions, my great hope and desire that he will win, i just can´t completely go there, it´s too scary, but seeing him was amazing, he kissed his ballot before putting it in the box and i just felt so much hope. We are all hoping there will not be violence however it goes.

i will try to send out something a bit later. love to all of you and light a candle for us, there is so much hope and excitement i don´t know if i could bear a big disappointment.

bye, love you, C*

"first results"

preliminary FMLN 57%

still a lot to go but these are many of the major cities

" ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ sí se pudo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

It has happened!!!!!!!!!! incredible, unbelieveable but TRUE !!!! what an
amazing feeling after 20 years and i have been here for all of these 20
years. we have a new president and really a new country, this is just so
exciting. an intelligent, articulate, quick big hearted ex journalist who
has the capacity to make a difference, to form alliances and to try to turn
around 20 years of bowing and pandering to the very rich.

at 9:30 p.m. with 90% of the vote in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal
announced that the FMLN had 51.27% and ARENA 48.73%, that meant a consistent
lead by the Frente since the counting had started.

Funes announced victory amid a massive sea of cameras in a hotel in the
capital, wall to wall national and international press. He could barely get
through to the microphones. I heard that the ARENA candidates campaign head
accepted defeat but the candidate himself has not gone public.

In Funes?s announcement he spoke of hope and reconciliation as in the Peace

oh right now Rodrigo Avila is accepting his defeat !!!! it is for real

it is so unbelieveable after living through these last weeks, months and
years but especially thinking that this victory could happen with all the
millions and millions of dollars that ARENA pumped into the media (there are
no limits here on campaign propaganda), with all their dirty tricks of
buying other politicians to give them a better edge, making pacts behind
closed doors, twisting words like freedom and democracy, with all their
sneaky ways of stuffing the ballot boxes, of bussing in non-salvadorans to
vote, giving out free voting cards, even making the dead vote, their
smugness and superiorness, their hubris, arrogance and disdain, their fear
mongering, their culture of fear, their warping history, that may be what
most angers me, someone said "now all our dead can finally rest peacefully".

to get back to his speech Funes also spoke of tolerance and respect, of a
spirit of national unity, of a government of dialogue and concertation. He
said that he will respect and listen to ARENA as the opposition party, that
he will respect private property and create a regimen of freedoms, freedom
of expression and freedom of religion. He said he would work to make El
Salvador the most dynamic economy in Central America. He also referred to
Monseñor Romero?s example as a prophet saying "my route of acting will be a
directed preference for the poor and excluded", and that he will work for
peace, unity, progress, social justice and development and will leave
vengeance aside.

this is a bright new sun rising and as Oscar wrote in a note he put by a
burning candle: This is the light of hope, the light that shines in the
heart of just people, the light that will see a new day born, this light
represents our leader Mauricio Funes.

it was so great to be here at the Radio waiting and hoping and tense all
day long, carrying out a labor that began at 3:30 a.m. and now it is 11:30
p.m. We sent reporters and 2 groups of visiting U.S. youth off to the
municipalities to cover the elections, brought them back at mid-day to vote
and took them back again to cover the closing of the polls. Waited as
results began coming in but always cautious, afraid that there could be more
tricks sliding out of some very long sleeves. I was here in 1989 when the
first ARENA government was elected so this has been a long long journey, and
a very deserved victory.

and Mauricio Funes has a special place in our Radio?s heart. We visited him
when he was the head of the news team at channed 12 and he spent 3 hours
answering all our questions, showing us around the station and taking photos
with us. And ours was the first community radio that he visited during his

so let this day end, i haven't cried yet but i want to. I want to cry for
all those who have suffered so much because of these selfish and greedy
leaders. And for the bright hope of change.

The day after tomorrow we will think about what new dirty tricks ARENA has
up their sleeves. Until then we will celebrate and enjoy.

love to you all, sorry for going on and on, hasta la victoria siempre,

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