Even to many who paid attention to the rest of Latin America, Central America was terra incognita into the 1970s. I distinctly remember one night in the late 1970s when I pulled out the atlas and located the Central American countries in the very small area that they occupied on the continental map. This was the beginning of my intense engagement with Central America, and there was much more to learn.
With shouts of “Presente por la patria” (“Committed to the homeland”), spirits were high on Sunday night amongst right-wing supporters at the Feria Nacional polling center in San Salvador, where international observers watched the vote count in El Salvador’s first election since the historic victory of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in 2009.
Voters in El Salvador took the first step on March 15 toward turning the tide against 130 years of conservative rule over the country by electing Mauricio Funes of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party as president. The FMLN's resilience and persistence has finally paid off. But after nearly three decades of struggle – on the battlefield, in the streets, and at the ballot box – the political forces that make up the FMLN now face perhaps their greatest challenge: governing.