Translated by Nikita Shah
(l’Humanite) Nohemy Coto is member of Salvadorian parliament for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).
Huma: What is the impact of the FMLN’s victory?
Nohemy Coto: The triumph gained is the result of a multitude of struggles over a period of many years. Since 1821, the Salvadorian people have not ceased in their struggle. We have lived through a war which culminated in peace treaties. But important structural changes have been left in suspense. The FMLN has joined the political struggle by transforming an armed front into a political party. Since 1994, we have not ceased from participating in political life, and today in 2009, we will realise an ambition for which we have so long hoped. A new history is beginning. It is the result of a whole people’s struggle, and not just a single party. It is the victory of a people which intends to guarantee the creation of a government of unity for the country, capable of initiating a new stage in Salvador’s life.
Huma: Emigration, economic dependence, social crisis, insecurity… How is the new government going to manage all these issues and respond to the people’s social demands ?
Nohemy Coto: The new President and Vice-President, Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sanchez Ceren, have been clear and visionary in defining the direction of government policy. It is a question of energizing political, economic and social reform. It is urgent to take the path of development and to consolidate democracy in face of a multidimensional crisis : energy, economics, environment and politics. Our development indicators are lamentable… The issue of emigration is not only an economic matter. We are not talking solely about money handouts, but of broken families, of the disintegration of social fabric… It is necessary to build national entities in order to get the country out of the crisis.
Huma: This election also has an echo across the continent. What will be Salvador’s regional policy, particularly with respect to leftist governments?
Nohemy Coto: The foreign policy defined in our government program rests on the respect of the autonomy and sovereignty of peoples, of their self-determination. It is also about a policy of peace, in which we give priority to the maintenance of relations with all countries. We will institute relations with Cuba. Entrepreneurs have commercial relations with Cuba, but, historically, right-wing governments have never opened dialogue with that nation.
We will have the best possible relations with the United States of America, aided by the fact of two million Salvadorian people present within its territory, but also because it is our main commercial partner. Our priority is also to unite Central America to work toward common interests. The election demonstrated that the population rejected dirty campaigns against President Hugo Chavez, or those aiming to say that we were going to break relations with the United States. Our foreign policy will be based on self-determination and respect. The cooperation with other peoples (Cuban, Venezuelan and others) has been historically beneficial. We aim at consolidating solidarity between nations. That is what humanity demands.