Lying and cheating in El Salvador’s election

I was an official election observer for both the 1st and 2nd rounds of El Salvador’s 2014 presidential election.  The March 9th second round of the Salvadoran election was a close one, with the FMLN winning by only 0.22%, a 6,300 vote lead out of 3 million votes, a record turnout. So how did the right wing ARENA party, with only 39% in the 1st round, come so close to over taking the FMLN, which had 49% in the 1st round?  Well, basically by using lies, threats, intimidation and cheating.  In its 2nd round campaign, ARENA simply promised to do everything that the FMLN had already promised or done, usurping their campaign.  For example, the FMLN government gave free education, school books, back packs, uniforms, shoes and a daily meal with a glass of milk to every Salvadoran school child. 

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As can be seen in this photo, ARENA blatantly steals the FMLN program victory, by proclaiming on its ARENA billboards that “We Eat Well in School”, showing healthy kids in new uniforms and backpacks, with glasses of milk in their hands, all of which was provided by the FMLN not ARENA.

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As part of the intimidation campaign, the pro ARENA media, ran a daily stream of lurid anti-Chavista, Venezuela articles, suggesting that the same fascist violence was in store for El Salvador, if the FMLN won the election.

On election day I saw wholesale cheating and intimidation by ARENA, at the “Feria Internacional” polling station in San Salvador. 

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Election rules state that there can be no campaigning within 300 meters of the polling station entrance, but here you cannot even see the poll entrance, behind all the ARENA campaign propaganda.

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Voters had to line up amongst intimidating ARENA propaganda, activists and huge speakers blaring out ARENA songs, just to enter the polling station yard.

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To enter the outer polling station yard, voters had to literally push their way through crowds of ARENA activists and goons, many illegally handing out propaganda.
 
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Here over 32 ARENA activists jam the entrance to the inner polling station hall at the bottom of the photo, again intimidating voters and handing out illegal propaganda.
 
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Some of the masses of ARENA propaganda being illegally handed out inside the polling station.
 
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But with the support of the majority of Salvadorans, like this vote being counted, the FMLN won, despite ARENA’s cheating, intimidation and lies. 
Now we have to do whatever we can to support the new FMLN government against the expected attacks of ARENA and the US government.  Perhaps consider being an election observer at the March 2015 El Salvadoran legislative elections.  If so, contact the FMLN or the fine Salvadoran NGO CIS.
Thanks for your time and interest.
Kevin Neish
Official election observer for both 2014 presidential elections and the 2000, 2009 and 2012 elections.
 
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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bonnie Weiss on March 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Great reporting, Kevin. Thanks for all you do. Paz, Bonnie

    >________________________________ > From: Kevin Neish >To: bonnie.weiss@yahoo.com >Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2014 1:14 AM >Subject: [New post] Lying and cheating in El Salvador’s election > > > > WordPress.com >kevinneish posted: “I was an official election observer for both the 1st and 2nd rounds of El Salvador’s 2014 presidential election.  The March 9th second round of the Salvadoran election was a close one, with the FMLN winning by only 0.22%, a 6,300 vote lead out of 3 millio” >

    Reply

  2. Posted by Colin Smith on March 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks Kevin. Yes, Id love to be an election observer in 2015. Checked it out for this year and found Id have to pay my own air fare. I dont object, but my short-term debt is $30,000 and Im shifting credit card balances around to survive. And of course theres my feet..But I want to do all these things as well as do some more travelling in Europe, so I have to wait for maybe a year until I can free up some liquidity. This is a great report. I dont know how you kept your cool. Youd think the people would know enough about ARENA after the bad old days of Roberto DAubisson and not believe their bullshit. I hope your report reflected those violations. Keep me in mind for anything that comes up. One day itll all fit in. Great that you were there for the people of El Salvador. Take Good care Colin

    Reply

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