Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dirty Campaign

More Than 140 Latin America Experts
Urge Secretary of State Clinton to
Distance US Policy from Dirty Campaign in El Salvador
Experts criticize campaign of fear being waged in El Salvador, which distorts US stance and manipulates images of President Obama and Venezuelan President Chávez to suppress voter turnout.

March 10, 2009

Santa Cruz, CA -- On Sunday March 15th, Salvadorans will go to the polls to elect a new president. In an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over 140 experts on Latin America urged Secretary Clinton to distance the United States from the fear campaign being waged in El Salvador. Specifically, they asked the Secretary of State to declare that the United States government stands ready to work with whichever candidate is democratically elected by the Salvadoran people, and publicly disavow the ruling party's dirty campaign, which has used President Obama's image in an attempt to coerce Salvadorans from voting for the opposition.

The election in El Salvador is the first Latin American presidential election to take place since President Obama was sworn in. Thus, it represents an important test for the Obama Administration and its commitment to forge a new policy towards Latin America. The signers include academic specialists from leading public and private universities throughout the United States. The letter calls on the United States Government to:

1. Clearly state that neither ARENA, Fuerza Solidaria, Cruzada Pro Paz y Trabajo nor any private U.S. citizen speaks on behalf of the Government of the United States

2. Categorically disavow the allegations made in the above mentioned fear campaigns

3. Emphasize that the Government of the United States is committed to working with any political party that wins the Salvadoran Presidency through the exercise of a democratic electoral process and fully intends to work towards maintaining friendly relations with El Salvador regardless of which political party is in government.

A statement condemning any attempt to intimidate or coerce Salvadorans from the free exercise of their democratic rights would signal the United States' vision for a new foreign policy towards Latin America based on the Administration' s commitment to democracy and respect for sovereignty. The hemisphere is ripe for such an era of cooperation, friendship and shared values around democracy, transparency, human and civil rights. We believe that no nation in the hemisphere is more ready to receive this new era than the people of El Salvador.

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