El Salvador. In elections to the congress March 12, the
old guerrilla organization FMLN (Frente Farabundo Martí para
la Liberación Nacional) became the largest party with 31
seats, but will face opposition in the form of temporary
alliances between the ruling party ARENA (Alianza
Republicana Nacionalista) and others. At the same time,
mayoral elections were held, and despite the fact that the
FMLN retained the mayor's post also in the capital San
Salvador, ARENA won in most other cities.
COUNTRYAAH, the unity and strength of the FMLN has grown since the
unsuccessful presidential elections in 1997. through a
competent administration in San Salvador by Héctor Silva,
which also probably explains why the turnout in the
congressional elections was higher than at the 1997
On February 15, 1993, the last 1,700 rebels handed over
their weapons at a ceremony attended by several heads of
government of the Central American governments as well as UN
Secretary General Boutros Ghali. The Civil Police Corps was
created, a new state-run human rights organization and a new
The result of the investigations into human rights
violations, launched by the UN Commission on Truth, caused
the Secretary of Defense, General René Emilio Ponce, to
withdraw; he was revealed to be one of the chiefs behind the
killings of the 6 Jesuit priests at the University of San
Salvador in 1989. The Commission's final document was the
army and its death patrols as well as the Salvadoran
authorities responsible for 85% of human rights violations
committed during the civil war.
The Truth Commission recommended the dismissal of 102
military leaders and deprivation of the opportunity to
conduct political activities for some of the former
guerrilla leaders. President Cristiani proposed issuing a
general amnesty for human rights violations; a proposal
adopted 5 days after the publication of the Truth Commission
report, on March 20, 1993. Thus, the most serious crimes
committed during the Civil War remained unpunished.
A year later, on March 20, 1994, the first elections were
held after the end of the Civil War. Left-wing coalition
Convergencia Democrática, composed of FMLN and other groups,
gained 25.5% of the vote in the first round of elections,
while ARENA's candidate, Armando Calderón Sol, gained 49.2%.
Although the Left complained of fraud, UN observers from the
ONUSAL Corps assured that the election had been fair. After
the election, the FMLN rallied in internal conflicts, the
cause of which was divergent attitudes among the 5 former
According to ONUSAL, the violence did not stop the
signing of the peace agreements. In addition to intelligence
activities within the army, relations between the active
soldiers and organized crime and the lack of job offers to
the demobilized from both the former parties to the conflict
led to an increase in crime.
The prisons were crowded; the capacity of 3,000 inmates
doubled. The miserable living conditions and the failure to
fulfill the peace agreements led to widespread
dissatisfaction and the ensuing riots cost 70 people their
lives, while hundreds more were wounded..
The distribution of land to the demobilized soldiers was
slow and ineffective. By 1994, almost a third of the benefit
seats - 12,000 out of a total of 37,000 - had been allocated
their land; the rest were concentrated in temporary camps
and some of them fell into crime.
Regarding regional policy, Calderón Sol resumed dialogue
with neighboring Honduras on the old border disputes.
The new government succeeded in securing annual economic
growth of 5% and at the same time gaining control of
inflation, which reached 5% in the first six months of 1995,
but poverty was not controlled. The official figures
revealed that 29% of the population lived on the poverty
line, while 22% were below this limit. More than 400,000
children suffered from chronic malnutrition, while 15% of
children under 5 showed signs of severe malnutrition.