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Open Letter by U.S. Academics on Salvadoran Ballot

The Readership Responds to the Open Letter by U.S. Academics on Salvadoran Ballot

In the service of scholarly debate, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs is continuing the analysis of U.S. policies associated with the upcoming presidential election in El Salvador. This includes running here some of the issues raised, positive as well as negative, by the original scholars’ letter (click here to view) which was signed by some 200 U.S. and foreign scholars, and which was distributed two days ago to COHA’s mailing list via email.

Former U.S. ambassador Rose M. Likins, whose three year stint ended in 2003, noted at the time (as did her colleagues in Bolivia and Nicaragua, in other regional countries) that the Bush administration was prepared to “re-analyze” relations with El Salvador if the FMLN happen to win even in an entirely free and fair election. The Bush administration’s strategy was to warn conservative Salvadoran parties against splitting the vote by running several pro-U.S. candidates, urging them to unite behind one Republican candidate friendly to the current rightwing Salvadoran regime. At the time, Likins insisted that if the leftist FMLN opposition party assumed power, the U.S. would consider revoking “parole status” under which tens of thousands of undocumented Salvadorans now reside in the US, as well as potentially making billions of dollars in remittances subject to taxation. Even in a completely democratic election, favorable trade arrangements could also be revoked, if the FMLN was allowed to take office.

Below are several points of view coming from the public who are opposed to the scholars and COHA’s position outlined in the original letter. We invite further expressions of various points of view on the subject.


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