On Sunday, September 2, a red-clad sea of 15,000 gathered at the 30th annual convention of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party for the public presentation and formal ratification of the party’s platform for the 2014 presidential elections campaign.
FMLN presidential candidate and current Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén addressed the massive crowd, which included invited guest Rigoberta Menchú, international delegations from Venezuela, México and Cuba, government ministers, students, unionists, farmers, children, journalists and 735 voting convention members, to outline the platform for a 2014-2019 FMLN administration. The policies proposed are based on a vast citizen consultation, which drew proposals from some 85,000 Salvadorans at home and abroad through 43 roundtable working-groups, open online questionnaires, and door-to-door visits across the country. “For the first time in our history, a government platform originated in the heart of the Salvadoran people,” said Sánchez Cerén.
The platform, which centers on employment, education and security, includes many programs for the country’s youth: Cerén promised to extend the full-day school program begun under the current administration to a national level, broaden the meals and school supply programs to all public high schools, and implement a “One Child, One Computer” program to ensure technological literacy for the nation’s young people. The candidate also vowed to establish a 50% bus fare rate for youths, create a public Digital University and open a “Youth City” to provide services, trainings and recreation space for young people in the model of the highly successful “Women’s City” program.
In policies for women, Sánchez Cerén pledged to install a “Women’s City” in every province of El Salvador and establish a network of public domestic violence shelters. To continue the Funes administration’s historic public recognition of indigenous communities, Sánchez Cerén agreed to implement a nationwide Nahuatl language program. Sánchez Cerén also agreed to conduct the nation’s first census of disabled people, and to improve accessibility in major cities.
In the area of security, Cerén proposed rehabilitation centers with job training for those convicted of minor crimes, increasing the size and capacity of the National Civil Police force and increased investment in education, sports, and culture. The candidate also vowed to extend the new modernized metropolitan transit system SITRAMSS to major cities across El Salvador, as well as update existing buses. Finally, Sánchez Cerén pledged to join Petrocaribe, the multi-nation oil alliance with Venezuela, which would allow the state to buy oil at 60% its current cost and free up an additional $640 million to fund the expanded social investment proposed in the 2014 FMLN presidential platform.
Right-wing “Unity” coalition candidate Tony Saca presented his platform on August 15 (although he has yet to announce a running mate or officially register as a candidate), leaving the ARENA ticket as the only other major contender to yet make public their party’s government plan. Candidates have until the end of September to register, and the campaign officially begins at the start of October. For information on joining CISPES as an international observer or to intern for the February elections, click HERE!