SALVADOR SÁNCHEZ CERÉN

Making the transition from guerrilla to president

 

elsalvador.org

On March 9, the Salvadoran people elected Salvador Sánchez Cerén as president of El Salvador in an election that reflected the maturity of our democracy and the progress of our society since the end of the civil war in 1992.

The election was free, transparent and extensively observed by international actors such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States and the Department of State. This provides our newly elected president and Vice President-elect Óscar Ortiz a strong legitimacy to continue the policies started by president Mauricio Funes in 2009, particularly our emphasis on social measures to alleviate poverty, and incorporate our citizens in the global workforce.

A couple of weeks after the election I had the opportunity to talk to Sánchez Cerén, accompanied by Óscar Ortiz; he is aware that almost half of the country voted for an alternative option. He acknowledges that an important part of Salvadoran society is afraid that instability and political confrontation are serious challenges for his five-year tenure.

Taking this in consideration, President-elect Sánchez Cerén is committed to launch a national agreement with all sectors of our society in order to find common ground on issues such as citizen security, tax reforms, and attraction of foreign investment; he emphasizes the need to improve our relationship with the Salvadoran private sector.

He stated: “The government will remain loyal to its commitment to reduce inequality, and keep its promise to promote social mobility.” Therefore, the expected national agreements will be based on the respect of the Salvadoran Constitution and the defense of rule of law, freedom of expression and private property.

On another issue, President-elect Sánchez Cerén will continue the strong relationship with the United States that former President Funes consolidated; he referred specifically to facilitating and implementing a second compact approved by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Furthermore, Sanchez Cerén will maintain constant contact and communication with people in both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.

It is clear that relations in Sánchez Cerén’s administration will be instilled with a pragmatic consideration of El Salvador’s interest. The fact that 2 million Salvadorans live in the United States represents a powerful factor to developing our ties and working relationship on ways that benefit our immigrants.

The president-elect believes that we can prevent high immigration flows and overcome the challenge of citizen security through the development of education, creation of jobs through the private sector and the empowerment of civil society.

In this new age, Sánchez Cerén’s positive attitude towards national reconciliation will be relevant to reducing political polarization and dismantling the fear of many Salvadorans regarding a new FMLN government.

In 1992, as a former guerrilla commander of the FMLN, the newly elected president was a key actor in achieving peace in the political negotiations brokered by the United Nations and supported by the United States.

As ambassador of El Salvador to the United States, friend of both Sánchez Cerén and Vice President-elect Óscar Ortiz, I am convinced that the new Salvadoran leaders will move our country along the path of openness and democratic consolidation.

Both have demonstrated honesty, fairness and governing capacity in their former positions: Sánchez Cerén as a former minister of education and Ortiz as mayor of a populous city for over 14 years.

Few Latin American leaders have been able to transform an insurgent movement into a progressive and functioning party in a 20-year period. The newly elected president and vice president have made a fundamental contribution to this task with a modern vision of politics and opening the participation in government to the diversity of Salvadoran society.

In short, Sánchez Cerén and Ortiz have demonstrated over time that both are loyal to the pursuit of peace and reliable international partners.

Rubén Zamora is the ambassador of El Salvador to the United States. Salvador Sánchez Cerén will be sworn in as president on June 1.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
SHARPLESS

    DETAINED IMMIGRANTS

    Dade, Broward lead the way

    Miami-Dade and Broward county jails have stopped detaining immigrants for the federal government at taxpayers’ expense. Florida’s other jails and prisons should do the same.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">GANG WARFARE</span>: The end of a truce between street gangs in El Salvador has led to a steep rise in homicides this year, adding impetus to the migration of youths and children to the United States.

    MIGRANT CRISIS

    The real failure in Central America

    The failure to manage the crisis of Central American child refugees at the Mexican border is not only about the inability to enact a comprehensive immigration policy reform. The real problem is the failure to build transparent and competent criminal justice institutions in Central America, especially after millions of American dollars have been provided to reform and strengthen security institutions there.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">EXULTING:</span> Vladimir Putin is still refusing to accept complicity in the shootdown of a Malaysian airliner as Western leaders fail to agree on sanctions.

    WESTERN LEADERS

    Historians will recall our leaders’ inaction

    When historians look back on 2014, they will note not just how flagrantly Vladimir Putin disregarded international law or how stubbornly Gaza and Israel kept firing missiles at each other. They will also be puzzled at how poorly the United States handled its economy.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category