Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I haven't mentioned it yet, but the big topic in El Salvador now is the elections - coming this Sunday, Jan. 18th, the legislative and municipal elections, to be followed in March by the Presidential election. Everywhere in the country, this means that all the lampposts are covered by posters just showing the party identification - mostly ARENA (the conservative party) and FMLM (the party of the left). This is called pinta y pega according to the papers here - pinta for the signs and pega (I'm guessing here) because each sign is crossed through with a thick black marker by the opposite party almost as soon as it's put up. This causes fights and wild accusations that the other side is using gangs or urging its militants to commit crimes. Somewhere a printer is doing very well out of all this paper going on all these lampposts.

In San Salvador the mayoral contest is between the current FMLN Mayor, Violeta Menjivar, whose signs say Violeta Sigue (Violeta continues!) and the ARENA candidate, Norman Quijano (Seguridad, Orden, Limpieza - security, order, cleanliness). Not only are the signs everywhere, but there are parades, demonstrations, accusations and counter-accusations. The cartoon above comes from a little broadside published by Equipo Maiz and shows a happy FMLN crowd in full swing of demonstrations. I'll let you know what happens - that is, I should be able to let you know if TSE, the Bureau of Elections, manages to get its reporting and tabulating systems running. Sound familiar?

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