El Salvadoran appeal to Australia - Lara Pullin, on Schafik Handal

Lara Pullin talks about Jorge Schafik Handal, a visiting dignitary from El Salvador currently touring Australia and bringing us up to date on the situation in El Salvador that is becoming increasingly volatile.

Jorge Schafik Handal is in Australia to invite independent observers to come to next year's elections to frustrate anticipated attempts at fraud, and to ensure that the election results are recognised. The pro US ARENA party, which presently leads a coalition that keeps the FMLN out of power is notorious for fraud, corruption and the use of violence to intimidate opponents. Already a number of public figures associated with the FMLN have been brutally assassinated by Death Squads.

10Mb. mono 64kbps 20 mins



Anonymous said...

What crap.
I am an Australian working in El Salvador, and I agree in part for people to visit and support the elections in 2009. However, the killing by death squads is pure rubbish, and are fabricated stories to put a bias on the Arena political party. The FMLN party are not saints, and have kidnapped and tortured people themselves in the name of politics, and the leading people in the party were the same leaders during the civil war and massacres committed by both sides. BTW, I am not an Arena supporter, I believe in the true sense of democracy, and for that another possible party should win and rule the country. Arena and FMLN are both as evil as each other.

Wrick said...

I too have worked in El Salvador. I worked there during the early 1980s, and the late 1980s. A spent a total of five years in the region. I'm sorry to be the one who has to tell you this, but the death squads were, and are, real. They killed a Catholic Archbishop ( who originally was not particularly sympathetic to the FMLN) with impunity. They killed a lot of other people, including friends of mine. They killed people whose only crime was poverty.

The FMLN (two individuals) has only once been found to have contravened the Geneva convention. And the perpetrators were punished, and handed over by the FMLN. the FMLN grew out of a humanistic philosophy. One of the most inspiring aspects of the struggle was that the FMLN never descended into the thuggery and brutality of State sanctioned, and deliberately implemented, terrorism, with serial violations of human rights and decency.

The war is over, so let us put aside the bean counting of who killed who (bullying, greedy landlords, kidnapped and sometimes executed, for the vicious terrorisation of their peasant tenants; or US funded and trained paramilitary gangs 'taking out' priests and social workers, trying to implement programs to minimise malnutrition and child mortality).

This is all well documented.

If you are an Australian working in El Salvador, you should know this history. If you don't, perhaps you shouldn't be working there. I'd like to know what kind of work it is that you are doing. We might be able to find something better for you to do.

But don't call something crap, before you've had it stuffed up your nostrils. I know what corpse gas smells like. I know what burnt human flesh smells like.

Do you?

When you do, come and tell me what is invention, and what isn't

Warwick Fry

Anonymous said...

What a sadly ignorant comment. Perhaps you are young, but that is no excuse for not looking closely at the facts of the atrocities carried out by the US backed fascist forces and at the role of the revolutionary forces. The Truth Commission documents are a good start.http://www.usip.org/library/tc/doc/reports/el_salvador/tc_es_03151993_toc.html It speaks for itself about the outrageous behavious of the State and the Death Squads. People denied the existence of the Death Squads for a long time when they first became active.

Your comments about 'democracy' and an alternative force may be relevant if there was an alternative, but there isn't. If you have been working there you know that. With over 1000000 members, with over a million people at Comandante Simon's Schafik Handal's funeral, there is NO denying the massive basis of support for the FMLN, even less so when you see the municiple and state representation. The reality is that the FMLN even hold 32 seats in the National Assembly as opposed to the 34 held by ARENA - the remainder go to small ultra-right parties.

The only democratic space in El Salvador is there as a result of the 12 years civil war - which the popular people's revolutionary guerilla army won despite a million dollars a day of US funding going to a 630000 strong fascist military force.

The FMLN continue to lead their people as a revolutionary party rather than a guerilla army, to face the challenges of the ongoing attempts to force them to live subjugated to the US state department, multinationals and domestic oligarchy. Meanwhile what was the most industrialised country of Central America faces an exodus of 700+ per day - higher than at the height of the civil war.

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