Salvador Sánchez Cerén
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Salvador Sánchez Cerén (born June 18, 1944) is a Salvadoran politician and former teacher. Following the 2009 presidential election, he is the Vice President of El Salvador and is currently running for presidential position under the FMLN political party for the 2014 elections.
|Salvador Sánchez Cerén|
|Vice President of El Salvador|
June 1, 2009
|Preceded by||Ana Vilma Albanez de Escobar|
June 18, 1944 |
Quezaltepeque, El Salvador
|Political party||Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional|
Salvador Sánchez Cerén was born in Quezaltepeque on June 18, 1944. The ninth of twelve children, unfortunately three of his siblings died at young age. Although, they struggled to raise nine children, his father Antonio Alfonso Sánchez a carpenter and his mother Dolores Rodas a market seller worked hard so that their children could have a better future. Salvador Sánchez Cerén at a young age worked side-by-side with his family to provide and survive. At a young age he was exposed to collective work. His working-class background has always characterized Salvador Sánchez Cerén as a man of integrity, honesty and hard work. His services to the community and his effort in bettering the lives of the Salvadorian people traces back to his early stages of life, when he experienced poverty and saw his dreams and ideas becoming a reality by achieving an education and empowering those around him. He attended Escuela de Varones Jose Dolores La Reynaga for his middle school education. He attended Alberto Masferrer School (school for teachers) in San Salvador and it was there where his political consciousness and participation expanded. After graduating from Alberto Masferrer—a school for teachers—with a degree in primary education, he taught for ten years in public and rural schools.
His political ideology derives from the various democratic and revolutionary (leftist) organizations that he was a member of. In essence he became politically active in the late 1960s when he was a student at Alberto Masferrer School. There he was exposed to the politics of the country. He learned about the political awakening happen in Latin American and as his interest grew so did his participation. He became part of the student movement in El Salvador against the United States policies and interventions in countries like Cuba, Vietnam and his own country. Along with classmates and students he marched and demonstrated in opposition to the foreign power and government that controlled and exploited El Salvador. He was not part of any political organization until he was introduced to the FUAR (Frente Unido de Accion Revolucionaria). The FUAR exposed him for the first time to the political arena and allowed his involvement in the student movement. His interests in the country’s politics and human rights grew and so he decided to become a protester of the injustices and undemocratic environment of the country. Overtime he became familiarized with the structures that triggered poverty, and other problems of the country. Based on his experiences in San Salvador he decided to join political organizations that allowed his growth and exposure to the reality of the country. He became an activist of the community in Quetzaltepeque because he believed in change and justice for all. He was a member of the PRAM (Partido Revolicionario Abril y Mayo) a political party that was against the dictatorship and advocated anti-imperialism. Then he joined (UDN) Union Democratica Nacionalista and PAR (Partido Accion Renovadora) organizations that pushed for the national liberation of El Salvador. PAR’s leader Dr. Fabio Castillo had won elections but immediately was removed due to fraud in the elections by the military power. He led the group and advocated for an Agrarian reform, workers rights and respect for unions to organize. He was also a participant of the (UNO) Union Nacional Opositora as member of the UDN. In essence his experience and the things he learned in San Salvador at Masferrer school from his peers he took back to his town and began to implement it. He was an active member of the ANDES 21 de Junio, a teachers union that practiced and believed in the ideas of Paulo Freire and his analysis on pedagogy. The teachers association advocated for equal education and to break away from the traditional ways of teaching. They believed in freeing education and giving power to the people and teachers. ANDES also promoted national debates against the education reform, which was supported by the United States. The U.S. proposed to focus on certain careers that would not benefit the people and the country’s growth instead, the agro-industrial interest of the Americans and their empire. Around the same time he was part of the Communist Party of El Salvador (PCS), and participated in several demonstrations against El Salvador's military dictatorship, which took many lives and left the country devastated. In the 1970s he joined the Fuerzas Populares de Liberación "Farabundo Martí" (FPL), one of the five left-wing organizations, all of differing Marxist-Leninist tendencies, that later merged to form the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN).
Commander Leonel González
With the start of the Salvadoran Civil War in 1980, Sánchez Cerén adopted the pseudonym Commander Leonel González, as he was also appointed to the position of "comandante" or commander. Like other times,he took his position with respect and dedication. He became a respected and admirable leader of the FMLN. His work has always been collective and has inspired those around him. He has been part of the progress in El Salvador and has contributed to the democratization of the country. A US Embassy cable describes the FMLN at the time as follows: "During the 12 year Salvadoran civil war (1980-92), the FMLN attempted to implement a government for the people and by the people. Although, during those times of war, the problems of the country were resolved in an armed struggle, the FMLN and the government(which was made up of the bourgeois of El Salvador and north Americans )resolved the instability of the country in a peace agreement .... The group also received support from Latin American countries and Salvadorians living in the United States."
In 1984 Sánchez Cerén became a Commanding General of the FMLN, until the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords in 1992, when the guerrillas surrendered their weapons and became a legal political party. Under the leadership of Sánchez Cerén, the FMLN conducted itself in the following manner, according to US Ambassador Charles Glazer in a classified diplomatic cable:
The FMLN leadership described its ideology during the war in a document called "Fundamental Programs for the Salvadoran Revolution," a guerrilla manifesto captured from FMLN Commander Nidia Diaz (who would join Sánchez Cerén as an FMLN politician in the Salvadoran legislature) in April 1985. The FMLN's "fundamental programs" included the following points:
- "To establish economic, political, cultural, technical and social bases to build the construction of socialism."
- "The construction of democracy and socialist."
- "Our organization is a working class party. Our ideology is Marxism-Leninism. . . ."
In 2000, Sánchez Cerén was elected deputy for the FMLN in the Legislative Assembly and was re-elected in 2003 and 2006. Between 2001 and 2004 he served as the general coordinator of his party. In 2006, following the death of Salvadoran Communist Party leader and FMLN Commander Schafik Handal, he succeeded Handal as head of the legislative portion of the FMLN. In April 2007 he was chosen as the running mate of Mauricio Funes in the 2009 presidential election. On March 15, Funes and Sánchez Cerén defeated the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), ending two decades of conservative rule in El Salvador.
In June 1, 2009 Salvador Sánchez Cerén was sworn in as vice-president and Mauricio Funes both representatives of the FMLN marking the first time there will be a leftist government in El Salvador’s history. Salvador Sánchez Cerén had been a member of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a leftist political party, which was formerly a guerrilla movement that fought against the U.S.-backed right wing dictatorship in El Salvador in the 1980s. Presently he is the vice president and minister of education, his goals have been to bring about deeper social, economic and political developments.
- Ambassador Charles L. Glazer, "A Pragmatic Shift or Merely a Tactical Move to Win? How the FMLN's History Is Influencing Its Actions Today," classified diplomatic cable, June 2008 .
- (Spanish) "Sánchez Cerén (Biography)". Mauricio Funes: Un cambio seguro. Retrieved 16 March 2009.[dead link]
- As cited from the original in J. Michael Waller, The Third Current of Revolution: Inside the 'North American Front' of El Salvador's Guerrilla War (Lanham: University Press of America, 1991), p. 19.
- (Spanish) "Salvador Sánchez Cerén". Asamblea Legislativa de la República de El Salvador. Archived from the original on 2008-02-07. Retrieved 16 March 2009.