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20. El Salvador (1927-present)

Crisis Phase (January 9, 1927-January 8, 1962):  Pio Romero Bosque was elected president without opposition on January 9, 1927, and he was inaugurated as president on March 1, 1927.  The Communist Party of El Salvador (Partido Comunista de El Salvador – PCS) was established by Miguel Mármol on March 10, 1930.  Some 80,000 communists demonstrated in San Salvador on May 1, 1930.  Arturo Araujo of the Labor Party (Partido Laborista – PL) won a plurality of the vote in presidential elections held on January 11-13, 1931.  Arturo Araujo was confirmed as president by the National Assembly on January 30, 1931, and he was inaugurated as president on February 12, 1931.  President Arturo Araujo was deposed in a military coup on December 2, 1931, and General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez took control of the government as acting president on December 10, 1931.  The U.S. government imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez on December 4, 1931.  Municipal elections were held on January 3-5, 1932.  On January 21, 1932, the government declared martial law after 30 individuals were killed in political violence in Ahuachapan.  The government suppressed a peasant uprising led by Agustin Farabundo Marti and Mario Zapata on January 22-25, 1932, resulting in the deaths of more than 30,000 peasants and 100 government soldiers.  Two Canadian warships Skeena and Vancouver anchored near the port of Acajutla on January 23, 1932.  Agustin Farabundo Marti was executed by the government on February 1, 1932.  General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez was elected president by the Salvadorian Congress on February 5, 1932.  On July 11, 1932, the Legislative Assembly approved unconditional amnesty for individuals who participated in the peasant uprising.  The British government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on September 27, 1932.  The U.S. government lifted diplomatic sanctions against the government of President Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez on January 26, 1934.  General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of the National Party (Partido Nacional – PN) was elected president without opposition on January 13-15, 1935.  Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez was inaugurated as president on March 1, 1935.  The Constituent Assembly abrogated the 1886 constitution, and promulgated a new constitution on January 26, 1939.

Map of El Salvador

The government of President Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez suppressed a military rebellion in San Salvador on April 2-3, 1944.  Thirty individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion.  On May 8, 1944, President Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez resigned after several days of unrest.  General Andres Ignacio Menendez was appointed as provisional president on May 9, 1944.  General Andres Ignacio Menendez was deposed in a military coup on October 22, 1944, and Colonel Osmin Aguirre Salinas took control of the government on October 23, 1944.  General Salvador Castaneda Castro was elected president without opposition on January 16, 1945, and he was inaugurated as president on March 1, 1945.  The U.S. government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of President Castaneda Castro on February 19, 1945.  The government suppressed a rebellion in June 1945.  The 1886 constitution was restored in November 1945.  On December 14, 1948, President Castaneda Castro was deposed in a military rebellion after several days of violence in San Salvador.  A five-member military junta headed by Colonel Manuel de Jesus Cordoba on December 15, 1948.  Major Oscar Osorio took control of the military junta on January 6, 1949.  The U.S. government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on January 21, 1949.  A provisional revolutionary government restored constitutional liberties, and Major Osorio of the Revolutionary Democratic Union (Partido Revolucionario de Unificacion Democratica – PRUD) was elected president with 56 percent of the voted on March 26-28, 1950, and he was inaugurated as president on September 14, 1950.  The Constituent Assembly approved a new constitution on September 7, 1950.  The government announced the discovery of a communist plot against President Osorio, and declared a state-of-siege on March 9, 1951. The government announced a communist plot against President Osorio on September 26, 1952.  Government police declared a 30-day state-of-siege, and arrested some 1,200 individuals for their involvement in the plot on September 27, 1952.  Legislative elections were held on May 13, 1956.  Jose Maria Lemus was elected president on September 14, 1956.  The government imposed a state-of-siege on September 5, 1960.  President Lemus was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Cesar Yanes Urias on October 26, 1960, and a six-member junta headed by Colonel Yanes Urias took control of the government on October 27, 1960.  Colonel Castillo was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Julio Adalberto Rivera on January 25, 1961, and the six-member Military-Civilian Directorate took control of the government on January 26, 1961.  Five individuals were killed in political violence on January 25, 1961.  The military government imposed martial law on January 25-30, 1961.  The government of Guatemala provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military government on January 26, 1961, and the U.S. government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military government on February 15, 1961.  Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in December 1961, and the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) won all of the seats in the assembly.  The Constituent Assembly approved a new constitution on January 5, 1962, and elected Eusebia Rodolfo Cordon as provisional president on January 8, 1962.

Post-Crisis Phase (January 9, 1962-March 24, 1972): The U.S. government agreed to provide military assistance to the government on April 13, 1962.  Colonel Adalberto Rivera of the National Conciliation Party (Partido de Conciliacion Nacional – PCN) was elected president without opposition on April 29, 1962.  Opposition political parties boycotted the presidential election.  Legislative elections were held in 1964. Congressional elections were held on March 13, 1966, and the PCN won 32 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly. The Christian Democratic Party (Partido Democrata Cristiano – PDC) won 15 seats in the National Assembly.  Colonel Fidel Sanchez Hernandez of the PCN was elected president on March 5, 1967.  Legislative elections were held on March 12, 1968, and the PCN won 27 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly.  The PDC won 19 seats in the National Assembly.  Legislative elections were held on March 8, 1970, and the PCN won 34 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly.  The PDC won 16 seats in the National Assembly.  Colonel Arturo Armando Molina of the PCN was elected president on February 20, 1972.  Opposition political parties claimed election fraud.  Legislative elections were held on March 12, 1972, and the PCN won 38 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Opposition Union (Union Nacional de Opposicion – UNO) won seven seats in the National Assembly.

Crisis Phase (March 25, 1972-October 9, 1980):  Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Colonel Benjamin Mejia on March 25, 1972, resulting in the deaths of some 100 individuals.  Jose Napoleon Duarte, the PDC candidate for president, was forced into exile in Guatemala.  Colonel Fidel Sanchez Hernandez proclaimed martial law, and declared a state-of-siege. The National Assembly voted to approve a 30-day state-of-siege on April 3, 1972.  Colonel Arturo Armanda Molina was inaugurated as president on July 1, 1972.  The People’s Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario del Pueblo – ERP) was established in opposition to the government in 1972. Cuba provided military assistance (weapons and training) to ERP.  Legislative elections were held on March 10, 1974, and the PCN won 32 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly. The PDC won 14 seats in the National Assembly.  The Armed Forces of National Resistance (Fuerzas Armadas de Resistencia Nacional – FARN) was established by Ernesto Jovel Funes in opposition to the government in April 1975.  The Cuban government provided military assistance to FARN.  Government troops and demonstrators clashed in San Salvador on July 30, 1975, resulting in the deaths of 12 individuals.  Legislative elections were held on March 14, 1976, and the PCN won 52 out of 52 seats in the National Assembly. Opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections. General Carlos Humberto Romero Mena of the PCN was elected president with 67 percent of the vote on February 20, 1977. Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. Some 50,000 individuals demonstrated against the government after the presidential election.  Eight supporters of the National Opposing Union (Unión Nacional Opositora – UNO) were killed in political violence in Santa Ana and San Salvador on February 26-28, 1977. The government declared a 30-day state-of-siege on February 28, 1977. General Romero Mena was sworn in as president on July 1, 1977.  Legislative elections were held on March 18, 1978, and the PCN won 50 out of 54 seats in the National Assembly. Opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections. Some 14 government soldiers and two civilians were killed in bombings by ERP rebels in San Salvador and San Miguel on February 1, 1979. President Romero Mena declared a state-of-siege on May 23, 1979, and President Romero Mena lifted the state-of-siege on July 24, 1979. Some 550 individuals were killed in political violence in the first nine months of 1979.  Popular Liberation Forces (PLF) rebels attacked police and military posts in San Salvador on September 21-22, 1979, resulting in the deaths of ten individuals.  President Romero Mena was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Jaime Abdul Gutierrez and Colonel Adolfo Arnoldo Majano Ramos on October 15, 1979.  Some 15 individuals were killed in political violence near San Salvador on October 16-17, 1979.  A five-member civil/military junta headed by Guillermo Manuel Ungo took control of the government, and dissolved the National Assembly on October 17, 1979.  The civil/military junta declared a state-of-siege on October 16, 1979, but lifted the state-of-siege on October 23, 1979.  The U.S. government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the civilian/military junta on October 23, 1979, and offered military and economic assistance to the government on October 30, 1979.  Government troops and demonstrators clashed in San Salvador on October 29-November 1, 1979, resulting in the deaths of some 50 individuals.  The three civilian members of the civil/military junta resigned on January 3-4, 1980, and they were replaced by three members of the PDC on January 9, 1980.  Jose Napoleon Duarte of the PDC was appointed to the civil/military junta on March 3, 1980.  Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed in his church on March 24, 1980, and some 50 individuals were killed as a result of violence during Archbishop Romero’s funeral on March 30, 1980.  The Democratic Revolutionary Front (Frente Democratico Revolucionario – FDR) headed by Enrique Alvarez Cordova was established in opposition to the government on April 18, 1980.  Government troops and FDR supporters clashed on August 13-15, 1980, resulting in the deaths of some 40 individuals.  The government declared a state-of-emergency on August 23, 1980.  Ernesto Jovel Funes, leader of FARN, was killed in a plane accident on September 17, 1980.  Some 15,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (October 10, 1980-January 16, 1992):   The Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN), which was established as the military component of the FDR, rebelled against the government on October 10, 1980.  Four American missionaries were killed near San Salvador on December 4, 1980.  The U.S. government imposed military sanctions (suspension of military assistance) and economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government on December 5, 1980.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions against the government on December 17, 1980.  Jose Napoleon Duarte was appointed as president of the civil/military junta on December 22, 1980.  Nicaragua provided military assistance (weapons) to the FMLN in 1980 and 1981.  The FMLN launched a military offensive against government troops on January 10-11, 1981. The government declared martial law on January 12, 1981.  The U.S. government lifted military sanctions against the government on January 14, 1981.  The U.S. government provided military assistance (54 military advisors) to the government of El Salvador.  The government announced that it had defeated the FMLN military offensive on January 19, 1981, resulting in the deaths of some 1,150 civilians, rebels, and government soldiers.  The U.S. government provided some $35 million in military assistance and $120 million in economic assistance to El Salvador in 1981.  Argentina agreed to provide economic assistance to the government beginning on June 5, 1981.  President Lopez Portillo of Mexico offered to mediate negotiations between the parties on February 21, 1982.  Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on March 28, 1982, and the PDC won 24 out of 60 seats in the Constituent Assembly.  The Nationalist Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista – ARENA) won 19 seats in the Constituent Assembly.  The Organization of American States (OAS) sent three short-term observers to monitor the elections on March 16-30, 1982.  Alvaro Magana of the Democratic Action (Acción DemocráticaAD) was elected interim president by the Constituent Assembly on April 29, 1982, and he was inaugurated as interim president on May 2, 1982.  Some 2,000 Honduran soldiers assisted Salvadoran government troops against FMLN rebels in June and July 1982, resulting in the deaths of nine Honduran soldiers.  FMLN rebels killed 60 government troops in Cinquera on May 8, 1983.  The Constituent Assembly adopted a new constitution on December 6, 1983, and the constitution was promulgated on December 20, 1983.  The government lifted the state-of-emergency on December 21, 1983.  The U.S. government mobilized naval ships in the area in support of the government between February 1, 1984 and July 31, 1984.  The US also provided $460 million in military assistance to the government from 1984 to 1986.  Presidential elections were held on March 25 and May 6, 1984. Jose Napoleon Duarte was elected president with 54 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections, and he was inaugurated as president on June 1, 1984.  The OAS sent two short-term observers to monitor the elections.  FMLN rebels attacked the Cerron Grande hydroelectric station on June 28, 1984, resulting in the deaths of 76 government soldiers and 15 rebels.  President Duarte and FMLN representatives held negotiations in La Palma beginning on October 15, 1984.  Legislative and municipal elections were held on March 31, 1985, and the PDC won 33 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly.  The OAS sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative and municipal elections.  The International Human Rights Law Group (IHRLG) sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative and municipal elections.  The foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) appealed for peaceful negotiations between the Salvadoran government and FMLN rebels on September 8, 1985.  The United Nations (UN) General Assembly condemned the government for human rights abuses on December 13, 1985.  President Alan Garcia of Peru mediated negotiations between government and FMLN representatives in Lima in May 1986.  The government lifted the state-of-emergency on January 12, 1987.  Legislative elections were held on March 20, 1988, and ARENA won 30 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly.  The PDC won 23 seats in the National Assembly.  The OAS sent three short-term observers to monitor the legislative elections.  Alfredo Cristiani Burkard of ARENA was elected president with 54 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential elections on March 19, 1989, and he was inaugurated as president on June 1, 1989.  On September 15, 1989, the government and FMLN agreed to begin peace negotiations.  Government and FMLN representatives signed the Geneva Agreement mediated by the UN secretary-general in Geneva, Switzerland on April 4, 1990.  The agreement provided a framework for peace negotiations between government and FMLN representatives.  Government and FMLN representatives signed the Agreement on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 26, 1990, which provided for the monitoring of human rights conditions by the UN.  FMLN rebels killed three U.S. military advisors in eastern El Salvador on January 2, 1991.  The World Bank provided reconstruction assistance to the government between February 21, 1991 and June 30, 2002.  Legislative and municipal elections were held in El Salvador on March 10, 1991, and ARENA party won 39 out of 84 seats in the National Assembly.  The OAS sent 85 long-term and short-term observers to monitor the election process from January 14 to March 15, 1991.  The International Federation of Human Rights (IFHR) sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative and municipal elections.  The Center for Democracy (CFD) sent 30 short-term observers to monitor the legislative and municipal elections beginning in February 1991.  On May 20, 1991, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) to monitor the human rights situation in the country.  The ONUSAL-Human Rights Division consisted of some 30 personnel from 27 countries.  Iqbal Riza of Pakistan was appointed by the UN secretary-general as UN Special Representative in El Salvador on July 1, 1991.  On January 14, 1992, the UN Security Council established the ONUSAL-Military Division and ONUSAL-Civilian Police Division to verify the disarmament process and assist with the creation of a national police force.  The ONUSAL-Military Division, which consisted of 368 military observers from nine countries commanded by Brig.-General Victor Suanzes Pardo of Spain, was deployed on January 20, 1992.  The ONUSAL-Civilian Police Division, which consisted of 315 civilian police personnel from ten countries headed by General Homero Vaz Bresque of Uruguay, was deployed on February 7, 1992.  Government and FMLN representatives signed a peace agreement in Mexico City on January 16, 1992.  Some 60,000 individuals, including 22 US military personnel, were killed during the conflict.  Some 500,000 individuals were internally-displaced, and some 1 million individuals fled the country as refugees during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (January 17, 1992-June 1, 1994):   The UN secretary-general established a three-member UN truth commission on July 13, 1992. The FMLN largely completed the demobilization of its military forces and was legalized as a political party on December 15, 1992. On January 8, 1993, the government of El Salvador requested UN observation of upcoming presidential and legislative elections. The UN truth commission issued a report on March 15, 1993.  UN Special Representative Iqbal Riza resigned on March 31 1993, and Augusto Ramirez-Ocampo of Colombia was appointed as UN Special Representative on April 1, 1993. On May 27, 1993, the UN Security Council established the ONUSAL-Electoral Division to monitor the election process.  The ONUSAL-Electoral Division consisted of some 900 election observers from 56 countries.  Fifteen individuals were killed in political violence between October 1993 and January 1994. On September 18, 1993, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Council decided to send a three-member mission headed by Jose Rodriguez Iturbe of Venezuela to monitor the electoral registration process in El Salvador from February 1-9, 1994.  Enrique ter Horst of Venezuela was appointed as UN Special Representative in March 1994.  Legislative elections were held on March 20 and April 24, 1994, and ARENA won 39 out of 84 seats in the National Assembly.  The FMLN won 21 seats in the National Assembly.  The IPU Council sent four observers headed by Jose Rodriguez Iturbe of Venezuela to monitor the elections from March 14-20, 1994. The International Republican Institute (IRI) sent 20 observers to monitor the elections from March 18 to April 26, 1994.  UN Special Representative Augusto Ramirez-Ocampo resigned on March 31, 1994.  UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali appointed Enrique ter Horst of Venezuela as UN Special Representative on April 1, 1994.  Armando Calderon Sol of ARENA was elected president with 68 percent of the vote in the second round of the elections on April 24, 1994.  Armando Calderon Sol was inaugurated as president on June 1, 1994.

Post-Crisis Phase (June 2, 1994-present): ONUSAL-Electoral Division was disbanded on April 30, 1994. ONUSAL was disbanded on April 30, 1995. Five ONUSAL personnel, including three ONUSAL civilian police personnel, were killed during the mission. On May 1, 1995, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Mission in El Salvador (MINUSAL) to conduct the remaining verification and good offices responsibility of the UN in El Salvador.  The MINUSAL consisted of 18 personnel headed by UN Special Representative Enrique ter Horst of Venezuela.  MINUSAL was disbanded on April 30, 1996.  Legislative elections were held on March 16, 1997, and the ARENA won 28 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The FMLN won 27 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The OAS sent five observers to monitor the legislative elections.  Francisco Flores of the ARENA was elected president with 52 percent of the vote on March 7, 1999, and he was inaugurated as president on June 1, 1999.  Legislative elections were held on March 12, 2000, and the FMLN won 31 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The ARENA won 29 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The Exchange and Solidarity Center (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad – CIS) sent 115 short-term observers from 17 countries to monitor the legislative elections.  Legislative elections were held on March 16, 2003, and the FMLN won 31 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The ARENA won 27 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The CIS sent 140 short-term observers from 15 countries to monitor the legislative elections.  Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez of the ARENA was elected president with 58 percent of the vote on March 21, 2004.  The OAS sent short-term observers to monitor the presidential election.  The CIS sent 270 short-term observers from 15 countries to monitor the presidential election on March 15-23, 2004.  Legislative elections were held on March 12, 2006, and the ARENA won 34 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly.  The FMLN won 32 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

[Sources: Banks and Muller, 1998, 285-290; Bannon and Dunne, 1947, 735-738; Beigbeder, 1994, 232, 235, 289; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 173-174; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), March 17, 2003, March 22, 2003; Clodfelter, 1992, 693, 1173-1177; Degenhardt, 1988, 88-97; Dupoy and Dupoy, 1977, 1339; Facts on File, December 12-18, 1948, January 16-22, 1949, February 3-9, 1950, April 21-27, 1950, October 6-12, 1950, March 9-15, 1951, October 3-9, 1952, May 16-22, 1956, January 26-February 1, 1961, February 16-22, 1961, January 11-17, 1962, May 3-9, 1962, April 14-20, 1966, February 27-March 4, 1972, March 26-April 1, 1972, April 9-15, 1972, April 13, 1974, August 23, 1975, April 24, 1976, March 12, 1977, July 16, 1977, February 16, 1979, August 10, 1979, October 19, 1979; Jessup, 1998, 166, 182-183; Keesing’s Record of World Events, February 12-19, 1949, June 24-30, 1949, November 19-26, 1960, March 25-April 1, 1967, March 4-11, 1972, April 29-May 6, 1972, July 8-15, 1972, September 10, 1976, April 8, 1977, January 25, 1980, January 30, 1981, November 6, 1981, July 30, 1982, June 1986, June 1988, March 1989, March 1997, January 1991, March 1994; Langer, 1972, 1069, 1244; Munro, 1974, 283-289; Organization of American States (OAS), March 31, 2004; Radu and Tismaneanu, 1990, 187-234; Schooley, 1987, 46-67, 181-190, 233-234, 243-245; Survey of International Affairs (SIA), 1931, 527, 1932, 608; Tillema, 1991, 32-33; Torres-Rivas, 1997, 209-226.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Grieb, Kenneth J. 1971. “The United States and the Rise of General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez,” Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 3 (2), pp, 151-172.