|Central American University - UCA
Number 112 | Noviembre 1990
FMLN Proclamation to the Nation: The Democratic Revolution
1. Poverty and injustice have increased; the revolution is necessary! Social injustice and poverty have taken an ever-deeper hold on our country in the last ten years; the military has been more ruthless than ever and continues to murder, repress and dominate the entire society. The ARENA government program would make the rich richer and the poor poorer, neglecting health care, education and the needs of the majority. Our country has been mortgaged and is more dependent than ever on the United States.
More than ever, our country needs a National Democratic Revolution to put an end to the powerful political and economic hegemony exercised by the military and the major families of the oligarchy, and to reestablish national sovereignty and reach a lasting peace.
2. The struggle and the FMLN are Salvadoran The Salvadoran people's struggle against social injustice, military dictatorships and oligarchic governments over the past sixty years has deep historical roots. The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, as both a political and an armed expression of this struggle, is a true Salvadoran force.
Neither the struggle nor the FMLN are dependent on external forces, nor are they the extension of the struggle between the capitalist and communist ideological blocs. In this sense, we celebrate the end of the cold war between East and West. With each passing day, as our struggle remains strong and continues to advance, it will become ever clearer that we are not now and never were a product of the East-West conflict. The only possible geopolitical or international explanation for our struggle and the war that grips our country is not the East-West struggle, which has now come to an end, but the ongoing struggle between North and South, between development and underdevelopment, between wealthy imperialist capitalism and the dependent and poor Third World. This struggle has not ended, and it transcends all ideological molds.
3. The leading force of change is broadly representative Our Front is not alone in striving for the democratic transformation of our country. This struggle takes many forms and involves the entire population. The force for transformation in our country is broadly representative, both socially and politically, and the FMLN is one part of it.
4. The revolution is democratic and Salvadoran The FMLN takes inspiration from the democratic, patriotic, revolutionary and popular history of the nation. The FMLN bears arms not to impose its will on society, but to end militarism and the power to dominate society by means of armed force. The FMLN seeks to restore civil society and thus, in conjunction with other social forces, carry out profound changes in the political and economic systems that will provide an equal opportunity for all to govern the country. Such changes will ensure that the interests of the poorest sectors of society are defended, and so will move the country toward ending social injustice.
The Democratic Revolution is a true national goal. It is profoundly just. It receives the broad support of the population and is historically necessary. The Democratic Revolution means real and lasting peace.
The National Democratic Revolution means four great changes: the end of militarism, a new social and economic order, the democratization of the nation and the restoration of our sovereignty and an independent foreign policy.
The end of militarismTotal demilitarization of society, the end of militarism, is the principal guarantee of a true democracy. The army has betrayed its historic origins, has blocked all political aspirations of the opposition, has cruelly repressed the people and has been the instrument used by the US government to impose its policies on our country. The army is and has been repressive, unproductive, a source of war and a center of corruption. It has now become obsolete as a political, economic and social component of our nation.
In our society, clearly divided into rich and poor, the army has defended only the rich; this is why the FMLN had to emerge as a political-military force and become the army of the poor. It is therefore not possible for the rich to continue dominating society with the power of the army while the poor return to being unarmed and in a state of submission.
In sum, the army has been the guarantor for a small sector of society and a threat to the great majority. The new society must provide equality for all and facilitate participation for all, so that problems will be resolved through true consensus-building and national understanding. Armies are incompatible with our democracy; all arms should be silenced for the last time. Three important measures should be adopted in this vein.
1. Total abolition of the army
Aside from the benefits it will provide for democracy, this measure will permit current large military expenditures to be rechanneled into education and health care. This measure will include plans for providing economic security to all demobilized combatants.
2. New public security forces
It is necessary to establish new public security forces in order to ensure domestic order, prevent anarchy and combat crime. These forces must be prevented from becoming once again the instrument of domination of one sector by another. To accomplish this, they must be highly professional and taught social responsibility and concern for their fellow human beings. Their education must be the responsibility of all the country's political forces. The security forces shall have a civilian director, to be proposed by the democratically elected government and ratified by the legislative branch.
3. Trial of those responsible for crimes, massacres, forced disappearances and torture, and an end to political persecution
Military officers and members of the oligarchy implicated in these acts will be held accountable. The death squads belonging to the armed forces and private businesses shall be dismantled. All clandestine prisons will be publicly destroyed, as will all instruments of torture and intelligence files that may have served to exercise control over the political opposition.
A new economic and social orderEconomic power in our country is concentrated in the hands of a few families that in the last ten years have taken enormous amounts of capital out of the country, which they have invested abroad. This concentration of wealth gives them the ability to exercise political power, purchase the power of the military and the justice system and control the communications media. As long as wealth is concentrated in just a few hands, there will be no true democracy and no equal opportunity for all. All people will not be equal before the law and social injustice in our society will remain untouched. Therefore, a new economic order that will end the oligarchy's economic hegemony must be established. With this in mind, the FMLN puts forth seven important measures:
1. Far-reaching land reform, truly responding to peasant interests
This land reform will deepen and improve upon steps already taken in this area. It will adopt new measures to guarantee that most agricultural holdings will be placed irrevocably in the hands of the poor, small- and medium-scale farmers. This will be done through cooperative ownership and small and medium individual and private ownership. This step will permit the decentralization of the nation's wealth and help solve the enormous problems of poverty and backward conditions in the countryside. This structural change will be the deciding factor in resolving the unjust distribution of land—the fundamental cause of the social conflict and the principal obstacle to the development and economic modernization of our country.
2. Creation of a popular economic sector
The formation of this sector will result in the strengthening, expansion and development of cooperatively-owned and self-managed property, as well as other forms of property under social or collective ownership, in all areas of production. In this manner, an important percentage of the economy will be in the hands of rural and urban workers under different forms of social ownership. These new economic groupings, in conjunction with the great number of small- and medium-sized private businesses, will be central to the nation's economy; they can constitute a popular economic sector that will be able to bring about a much-needed balance in the nation's economic structure. The emergence of this new sector will open up universal participation in decisions shaping the nation's economic policies and will foster competition with equal opportunity for all.
3. Urban reform to fight marginalization in the cities
This measure proposes a just property ownership system in the capital and other major cities, and will provide a socially responsible orientation to the urbanization policies of the state. It will ensure that the majority has access to financing and technical resources for housing construction and will guarantee access to water, health care and public services. This measure will resolve unfair rental prices and the lack of security for the large sectors of society living in the marginalized areas, shantytowns, tenements and squatter settlements.
4. A state with the economic resources to ensure full access to water, health care, literacy, education, housing, culture and recreation
The state should have the economic strength to secure the resources that allow it to fulfill these obligations. As matters of priority, extraordinary plans for literacy and health care will be implemented, as will a special plan to assist the victims of genocide and the war—mothers, orphans and civilian and military wounded from both armies—to promote the reconciliation of society in the postwar era. To ensure the economic strength of the state, banking and foreign trade will be nationalized. A fair taxation policy will be applied in accordance with income, and measures will be taken to stop capital flight. These actions will be implemented as the result of a national understanding; they will be made to conform to the reality of the country and to respond to the interests of all social forces, and they will establish irrevocably the state's social obligations and its role in the economy.
5. A permanent national consensus-building process around salaries, prices, employment and fair credit for the majority
This process will engage state institutions in ongoing dialogue with workers, large-, medium- and small-business owners, members of cooperatives and all other economic sectors, to agree upon fair minimum wages, establish price stability and guarantee employment and the democratic distribution of credit. Policies placing the burden of the economic crisis on the poor should end; sacrifices and benefits should be distributed fairly.
6. The end of pollution, deforestation and ecological chaos
This measure calls for the enactment of an ecological protection law that regulates all economic activity regarding land use, natural resources, deforestation and any activity that might pollute the environment. It will promote the formation of civic organizations to defend the ecological system. These steps will seek to end the present chaos resulting from false development policies that focus on obtaining profit while sacrificing our ecosystem and the future of our country.
7. The end of women's unequal status in society with special legislation and a women's ministry
The aim of this measure is to grant women equal rights and protection from the enormous exploitation and degradation to which they have been subjected, and ensure women’s full and equal participation in all areas of society. Improvements in women's working conditions will be ensured, as will the protection of mothers and infants. This will be done with the participation of the women's organizations that now exist or are developing in our country.
National democratizationHaving ended militarism and guaranteed a new economic and social order—the two fundamental components of a balanced power structure—a series of measures will be necessary to set the rules for a democratic political system granting equal rights and responsibilities to all sectors of society. We understand democracy as a system in which individual liberty and respect for the human person are the primary foundations and the central objectives of society and the state. The concrete measures will be:
1. The broadening of the legislative branch and the democratization of municipal government to guarantee a representative, participatory and pluralistic political system
As a clear expression of democracy, the Legislative Assembly will increase its number of members and its power, and the Municipal Councils will have a pluralistic membership according to election results, guaranteeing that they be an authentic instrument of participatory and democratic local government in the communities. The strengthening of parliamentary power will mean the end of the structures that have supported corruption, absenteeism, negligence and vice in the current legislative branch.
2. An independent and impartial judicial branch
This change will be determined in consensus with all the political forces and lawyers' associations of the country and will guarantee true equality for all persons under the law. This will be accomplished by ensuring that no sector of society shall be able to violate the law with impunity by virtue of its political or social position, and by putting an end to corruption in the judicial branch.
3. Legislation for protection of human rights
Full respect for human rights will be guaranteed by law. A human rights office will be created whose purpose will be to protect citizens from any abuse by civil authorities or public security officers.
4. Freedom of expression and the press for all sectors
It is necessary to balance and democratize ownership of the media in accordance with the new economic order and the existence of political pluralism. It is fundamental to break the oligarchy's monopoly on the media and thus ensure that the new political and economic sectors representing popular interests not only have access to existing media, but also develop the capacity to obtain their own outlets. This implies legal and even financial support for new sectors seeking to compete with existing media, and facilitating the installation of new radio and TV frequencies and newspapers. The Left, all the forces of the traditional opposition, and the grassroots economic sector have always fallen victim to the government's arbitrary interpretation of freedom of expression and have often been denied media access. With this measure, these sectors will have the opportunity to establish their own radio network, newspapers and television.
5. Legislation for full protection of independent journalism
This measure will provide freedom for journalists to express their opinions, disseminate information, provide the right to equal time and guarantee society's right to truthful information. Journalists should not be subject to reprisals, including loss of employment, by media owners who differ with their point of view.
6. Law to protect the freedom to organize, demonstrate and protest
Up to now, workers' efforts to organize, demonstrate, protest and strike have been considered illegal acts of disorderly conduct or subversion. On the other hand, government repression and mass firings by business owners have been declared legal. Laws have been approved to restrict, not protect, the right to organize and to strike.
7. A new system for free elections
New legislation would guarantee free and fair elections ensuring the participation of the entire voting-age population, granting equal opportunity to all political parties and establishing the right to vote at sixteen years of age.
8. A new political constitution as a basis for democracy
The design and approval of a new political Constitution will be the responsibility of a freely-elected Constituent Assembly. The historic pact among all the forces of the nation will be established in the Constitution, consecrating under the new rule of law the fundamental changes needed in the political and socioeconomic systems to ensure democracy, justice and peace for society.
Restoration of sovereignty and an independent foreign policyThe measures proposed for this purpose are:
1. Relations of mutual respect with the United States
Relations with the United States will be broadened and improved, beginning with a new policy based on recognition of our sovereignty and self-determination and on mutual interests and respect.
2. A foreign policy based on Central American integration and Latin Americanism
Having redefined relations with the United States, we will join efforts to build a new international economic order and will take up the defense of Central American, Latin American and Third World interests, without ideological preconditions, in the conflict between North and South—the conflict between developed and underdeveloped nations, creditor and debtor nations, rich countries and poor. As a first step toward Latin American unity, we will join the group of countries on this continent that have reestablished diplomatic and trade relations with the government and people of Cuba.
3. An independent and multi-polar international policy
This policy will seek to put an end to political alignment and economic dependence, enacting a multilateral policy that focuses on our own development and the construction of a just international order. We will aggressively attempt to extend our relations with other centers and blocs of development in the world—in Asia, Europe, China and the Americas.
4. A policy of neutrality and withdrawal from military pacts
This policy implies El Salvador's withdrawal from any type of international military pact, whatever its purpose, establishing a policy of military neutrality and support for negotiated solutions to international and internal conflicts abroad.
5. Agreements for the protection of Salvadorans living in the United States
Agreements with the Government of the United States will be sought in order to ensure the protection and stability of the entire community of Salvadorans living in that country, support them in their struggle to obtain legal documentation, guarantee their political and immigration rights as Salvadorans, establish mechanisms for the preservation of their cultural roots and strengthen and develop their economic links with our country.
6. Cooperation in the international struggle against drug trafficking
This step will be implemented based on a policy of full cooperation and participation in regional or bilateral agreements, provided they do not infringe upon our sovereignty.
7. Definitive resolution of the border dispute with Honduras
This dispute will be resolved based on a realistic policy that takes the concrete interests of both nations into account.
This program means peace for the nation; we will struggle for it to the final consequencesThe Democratic Revolution expresses and fulfills the aspirations of our nation throughout our history. It embodies the patriotic spirit for independence of Father José Matías Delgado and General Manuel José Arce; the unionist thinking of General Francisco Morazán; Anastasio Aquino's grassroots rebellion against injustice; General Gerardo Barrios' vision of a modern society; Farabundo Martí's conception of social liberation for the oppressed majority; and the nobility and deep love for the poor, peace and justice expressed by the greatest martyr of our nation's history, Monsignor Romero.
These ideas are opposed by the most regressive forces in society, those responsible for injustice and thousands of crimes. The hatred expressed by these groups has reached monstrous proportions in genocidal massacres of the general population and the assassination of archbishops, priests and nuns... It is as if, knowing God is not on their side, they were attempting to crush the highest Christian values of our society, trying to erase the very idea of God from our people's consciousness. These groups are trying to negate our history, and represent darkness and deceit for the nation.
The grassroots forces struggling for a Democratic Revolution represent the light of our country's future, the true fulfillment of its history and justice and life and peace for all people.
We have placed at the service of these ideas all the power of our arms, all the heroic spirit of our valiant combatants forged in decades of struggle and sacrifice, and our unshakeable will to victory.
We will never renounce these goals. They are what we fight for and defend, be it at the negotiating table or on the battlefield. This is the noblest task of our history. It is worth every effort for peace; it is a cause worth fighting for, a cause worth dying for.
Revolution or death! Victory will be ours!
General Command of the FMLN
Cmdr. Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Cmdr. Francisco Jovel
Cmdr. Eduardo Sancho
Cmdr. Shafik Jorge Handal
Cmdr. Joaquín Villalobos
El Salvador, September 24, 1990