tirsdag 24. mars 2009

15 de Marzo 2009- The battle of the dead!

15 de Marzo 2009- The battle of the dead!
It was the night of the living dead,
From all around the zombie like hordes,
Converged upon the voting centres,
ARENA, vampyric, needed its’ infusion of blood!

Across the frontiers streamed,
The psuedosalvadorans,
The paid vassals of the ruling elite,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of foreign aid!

From the halls of Congress in Washington,
The comfortable cowards of reaction,
Threatened the poor and opressed salvadorans,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of Uncle Sam!

In the voting booths of El Salvador,
The hardly audible click of cellular phones,
Anounced the arrival of 21st century slaves,
ARENA needed its’ infusion of fear!

But the living and heroic dead persevered,
The ghosts of Anastasio Aquino, Farabundo Martí,
Feliciano Ama, Roque Dalton, Monseñor Romero,
The six jesuits priests, their houskeeper and daughter,

The 75 000 killed, the tortured and disapeared,
The ghosts of El Mozote, Rio Sumpul and Rio Lempa,
Gave strength to the Salvadoran people,
ARENA got its’ infusion of defeat!

50 years of military dictatorship,
12 years of cruel and bloody civil war,
And 20 years of savage neoliberal pillage,
This poem was inspired by the recent elections in El Salvador where I was an electoral observer (March 15).

It probably needs some explaining for those not acquainted with the so called “democratisation” process that has taken place since the Peace accords in 1992 ended a 12 year long civil war which killed 75 000 people (most of them killed by government forces and their associated death squadrons – as verified by the UN truth commission report).

The extreme right wing, neoliberal government, ARENA, has been in power for 20 years. Its’ founder, Roberto D’aubuisson, was a death squadron leader, who was held responsible by the UN for the murder of the country’s Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The verses of the poem show how little has been achieved after 17 years of “democratisation”.

The “living dead” of the first verse refers to the thousands of dead people who remain on the electoral register and actually vote for the ruling ARENA party. This is achieved by giving their voting cards to foreigners who are paid to come into El Salvador from the neighbouring countries of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The ruling party has been delaying a thorough review of the electoral register for two decades!

The “cowards of reaction” in the third verse are the Republican Congressmen who in the run up to the elections threatened to deport hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans and restrict the sending of money to relatives from legal Salvadoran immigrants in the USA, if the left wing FMLN were to be elected into government. There are around 2 million Salvadorans resident in the USA, about 300 000 of them have only a temporary residence status.
They send home around $40 billion every year, which is El Salvador’s biggest foreign income and a lifeline for the desperately poor Salvadoran population.

The “click of the cellular phones” in the fourth verse refers to the thousands of employees who were forced to take a photograph of their voting ballot marked for the ruling ARENA party with their cell phones and show it to their employers on the morning after the election, if not they would be dismissed. When most people in El Salvador have no proper, steady work, and earn their money in the informal sector, selling wares on the streets or washing car windscreens at traffic lights, this is not an idle threat.

The final verses refer to the many thousands who have died trying to change this terrible situation. “El cambio ha venido” is Spanish for “the change has come”. "Change is comming!" was the slogan of the left wing FMLN and the popular movement in these elections which they won by a narrow margin.

Please remember this when you next read a bigoted newspaper report on Venezuela, Bolivia or Ecuador, other countries where left wing governments are working for change to benefit the poor majorities, and ask why do they never report on the real abusers of liberty and democratic rights, The US friendly governments that cling to power by whatever means possible.
The picture is by the Salvadoran artist R. Huezo that hangs in the chapel dedicated to the murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero in the Central American University.

2 kommentarer:

  1. Very nice blog, Dave. I have never visited before.

  2. Thanks Alvaro!

    Not as informative as your blog, but part of the same struggle to combat information monopoly and "terrorismo mediatico".