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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:22 PM
Original message
Free elections are dangerous
Edited on Mon Apr-10-06 05:37 PM by sfexpat2000


So, Ive been researching a massacre in El Salvador in 1932 that my grandfather was intimately involved in. I found out about it by googling his name one very bored night. And, it all went back to an election. Im not sure what I make of it all yet but, here goes.

When El Salvador became an independent entity, there was a great deal of civil unrest until they started staging elections. Things calmed down after that.

Then, in 1931, the incumbent who was something of a philosopher and somewhat off of the reservation decided to hold a real election. He didnt choose a successor. The coffee barons and the bankers and the military were horrified but, they mostly watched to see how things would turn out.

The people elected, as far as I can tell, their choice AND he was seated. A moderate who had the misfortune to have the coffee market collapse on his watch.

Things got very bad. Everyone was losing money, everyone. The country defaulted on loans. The indigenous people who harvested the coffee couldnt live on the reduced wages as if there was anything to reduce from.

This moderate was removed by a military coup because no one seemed to understand that he couldnt by himself fix the coffee market and because the ruling elite werent comfortable with real elections and real representative government.

In any case, the moderate was gone and a general was put in his place. (My grandfather worked under this man.)

But, theres more. The next year, the country was to elect its mayors and reps much like our 2006 elections.

This is the thing: In 1931, El Salvadors people elected a majority of socialist and communist candidates. First time in this hemisphere. And NONE of them were seated. The election results were discounted, suspended or overruled. Not one of the peoples choices was seated.

So, all hell broke loose. And it broke loose exactly against the numerical majority but the culturally despised: against the workers movement that was mostly indigenous people, mostly from the Pipil people.

(I have to tell you something about El Salvador. Even within one family unit, the darkest child is reviled. Indian blood is or was reviled. The favored child was the lightest child. Talk about the hegemony of the oppressed. . )

This was the last straw. The people planned a revolt and the date was known to the government. But, the government didnt seem to believe that the ragged masses would actually stand up for themselves.

Ambassadors from various groups representing the people met with the government, tried to warn them, were barely holding things down here. You need to pay attention.

No attention was forthcoming.

On schedule, there was a workers' revolt that was as awful as possible. Mobs stormed the western cities. They cut the telegraph lines, stormed the mayoral offices and the local military authority. People were raped and tortured and killed.

Because the elected candidates were not seated. Thats what happened. Historians say that about 100 people died in those attacks but I dont believe them. The number is being suppressed. All you have to do is look at the number of western cities involved and the size of the crowds and that number becomes ridiculous. It was probably closer to 2000. And thats the least of it.

It was all bound up in racism that great greaser of repressive regimes.

We need to cleanse the hills of Indians.

. . . .

In response, the ruling elite managed to save their day. They deployed all their resources against the rebels. The estimate is that .7% of the total population of El Salvador was murdered during the pacification.

Free elections are dangerous.

Thats what were up against in reality. We may hold the belief that because we are Americans we are inoculated against consequences. That we are somehow more evolved than the Latin American countries our government has done its best to control at a massive cost to human life.

It is this fiction, this belief in our magical inoculation that hampers us. A rigged election is a rigged election, whether it is rigged by a general in El Salvador or by the Mayberry genius. There will be consequences.

And like El Salvador at that time and like Germany a few years later, like Rwanda, the party that harvests racists AND controls the vote will visit destruction on us all.

There will be consequences.





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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Highest kick.
Great story so fitting for today.
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. As an amateur genealogist and political scientist...
...this post is utterly FASCINATING!!! Thank you, sfexpat! A big ol' K&R! :kick:
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. It would be a good thing if the thought went out.
:)
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
3. Wow- great post! K&R
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. That graf is Izalco. And the volcano was erupting during
the insurrection.
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yowzayowzayowza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
5. #5... There will be consequences.
k&r
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thank you.
:cry:
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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
7. KnR
Words fail me, SFxPat
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. It's hard to keep our knowledge together but we have it.
Edited on Mon Apr-10-06 05:52 PM by sfexpat2000
We have everything we need to be effective.

Let's be effective.
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understandinglife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
9. Outstanding post!! Bookmarked.
Recommended.

Thank you.


George W. Bush willfully violated National Security to cover-up his willful launch of a war of aggression and illegal occupation of Iraq.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. My Papi:
"On January 31st, Manuel Antonio Castaeda sentenced Farabundo Mart to death."

http://wikitravel.org/en/El_Salvador
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understandinglife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Yes, I remember ...
... the early draft of your writings.

Thank you for enlightening all of us.


Peace.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. I've read and learned so much, not enough. The world is tiny. n/t
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Patsy Stone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
11. Excellent post
Thanks for sharing that with us. I've said this for a long time now: "Don't be fooled, it happened HERE." K&R.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Time to gently take off the blinkers?
:)
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Patsy Stone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. If you rip them off
Edited on Mon Apr-10-06 06:26 PM by Patsy Stone
it may hurt more, but not for as long. :)
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
15. Thanks sf, that is an interesting story indeed! n/t
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. drop k&r me jesus. Well done. nt
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
17. K&R
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
18. Consequences
There are a lot of dense Americans who don't pay attention to what is going on around them. They will not be the ones to revolt.

But I do see lots of people from Mexico. Strong families, hard workers. They will bind together to form unions, and demand higher wages.

Yes, there will be consequences, but optimistically, eventually for the better of all,
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-10-06 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I hope so. Still wating to here what happened in Portland.
These Thugs are playing with fire in fanning the hatred. I hope we all stay safe.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 02:33 AM
Response to Original message
22. K&R
"Interesting times" for America, as the old curse says.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. At least we're in good company.
:toast:
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Indeed.
:toast: :loveya:
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
25. Number twenty. Thanks for this post.
:hi:
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Good morning, bleever!
:hi:
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