Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"María's Story"--2004

The online news magazine El Faro is publishing lengthy weekly discussions with individuals of moderate renown in El Salvador. Under the title, Pláticas en MARTE (a reference to the new Museum of Modern Art), these interviews consistently bring out the poignant human side of social and political actors here, something that isn't always so visible in other formats.

This week they talk to María "Chichilco," who became known to many people abroad through the documentary "Maria's Story," which portrayed her mid-level leadership role in the Chalatenango guerrilla front prior to and including the 1989 offensive. Marìa is also quoted at the end of the story on El Salvador in the recent issue of The Progressive. But that piece fails to capture María's disillusionment with the FMLN. Here are a couple of relevant, and revealing, excerpts:

...Now that you're outside the party, how do you feel about the FMLN as a political party?
That it's not contributing much to democratization in the country...because, as the Frente, we should have been a growing, inclusive political force.... We were much clearer about this then than now. During the war we fought for a population that was suffering. It didn't matter to us whether this person lived somewhere in another part of the country or whether we didn't know each other, whether that person wasn't one of our members. But now the party--as an institution influenced by other political institutions, by other parties--is cloistering itself off into its little fiefdom, and is losing that inclusive, democratic vision....

...And do you no longer think about going into politics?
Yes, I do politics every day.

Party politics, I mean.
The way political parties are right now, maybe not. Probably only if there were a party that offered me a sense of hope, perhaps then, but not just for an elected position. I would participate in a party, yes, because a political party is an instrument of struggle. But when it stops being an instrument of struggle for the people, and it becomes an instrument of struggle for a small group, then I don't care for it anymore. And, unfortunately, that's the way political parties are in this country.

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