When we refer to imperialism, what we mean is our concept of it, which is that which Lenin formulated, which we believe to absolutely apply presently to the relationship of domination that the United States and the European Union sustain with countries like ours.
According to Lenin, imperialism, in our time, is characterized by the phase of the capitalist system in which the large monopolies appear. These become the giant transnationals that control the world economy, joined by the emergence of global financial control by a few multinational banks (Citibank, HSBC, etc.). The corporations and the banks are controlled by the leading economic powers (the United States, the European Union) that divide up the world, making the rest of the countries submit to the exploitation of their natural resources and cheap work force.
We want our understanding to be clearmainly because, just like the previous ones, the current administration is putting a lot of effort into spread its propaganda that claims that the United States is an ally and that our economic and political ties are ties among equals, that respect the laws and the sovereignty of our country. But reality is demonstrating just the opposite.
Twenty years of ARENA(1) administrations fulfilled that party’s mission of selling off the country, along with the main state institutions, by way of the privatizations. This was of one of the processes that marked imperialist recolonization in our country. During those years, it was clear to the social movements and to the Left that the government was serving the bourgeoisie, since it was the main party of the corporate sectors in power and enacting such policies.
With the arrival of the FMLN(2) administration, many expected that there would be a reversal of the surrender of our country to the main world power. However, we can see that another route has been taken; from the beginning, it was said that relations with the United States would be maintained and such relations would be based upon respect. For this administration, such “respect” meant maintaining the agreements reached by the ARENA administrations. In the national document of our first congress, we developed the following characterization of the situation: “with the arrival of [Mauricio] Funes and the leadership of the FMLN, the clear tendency towards recolonization of the country that the successive right-wing fascist ARENA administrations had been advancing since 1989, has been maintained at best, or, at worst, has accelerated .”
Key examples: the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), that the Right passed through an “early morning” in the National Assembly, continues in effect, and currently no one, not even the leadership of FMLN, is demanding its repeal. This is interesting especially since the country, thanks to DR-CAFTA, managed to be sued by the multinationals Pacific Rim Cayman LLC and Commerce Group Corp for more than $100 million, in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which is an international authority created by the World Bank to resolve economic conflicts between multinationals and member states.
The recent signing of the Association Agreement with the European imperialists, this time by Funes and the leadership of the FMLN’s administration, is nothing more than a “Free Trade Agreement” with the European Union.
The contradiction lies in the fact that these policies are being advanced not by a bourgeois party like ARENA, but instead today, it is the administration of the main party of the Left that is playing deaf and mute before the attacks on our economy by international financial institutions like the World Bank, that for example, is dictating cuts to gas subsidies, thus setting off an even bigger crisis in homes and small businesses that are paying for the plates broken through the application of the recipe demanded by the imperialists and their banks.
In light of this situation, the mass sectors that voted for this administration should ask ourselves the following question: Is this the behavior of an administration that proclaims itself to be that of the working class and the mass sectors?
Foreign Debt Key To The Selling Off of Our Sovereignty
One of the instruments that the imperialists apply on a world scale to force countries to submit to their policies is that of foreign debt, which in this country’s case has been increasing, following the tendency of the ARENA administrations. In order to finance a big part of public spending – in other words, education, health, infrastructure, etc. – they resorted not to State funds, but instead to those that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund granted their administrations. But clearly these loans come with conditions and are not assistance for the development of the country as they would like use to believe – as the popular saying goes: “He who pays for the mariachi picks the song,” and the song that the government is playing is that of the exploitation and robbery at the hands of the transnational imperialists.
As for the illegitimate foreign debt, Funes has said that it will be honored and he will not even allow the consideration of renegotiating the terms. This is worrying, since in the 2010 National General Budget, total public debt payment had already reached 18.8% of the budget, much more than what is designated to health care and just 1% less than what is designated to education. Thus, the continued deepening of our economic dependence on the hated imperialist banks.
It is no coincidence that Barack Obama decided to make a visit to one of his main puppets in Central America, especially since this administration has dutifully complied with one of the most fundamental tasks in the face of the deepening class struggle in Honduras, brought about by the coup(3) and its influence in the rest of Central America. By this, we mean their efforts pushing for Pepe Lobo’s administration, the direct heir of the Honduras coup, to first be recognized by the rest of Central America’s governments and now, for Honduras to be reincorporated into the Organization of American States (OAS). There is nothing more shameful than the fact that our country was the site of the OAS assembly, in which an administration that to this day continues to murder and persecute the fighters of the Honduran resistance was welcomed in.
The guarantee of such actions in sync with imperialist plans to demoblize the Honduran masses and create the illusion of a democratic government, is not only defended by Funes, but in addition, the highest leaders of the FMLN are involved. Before, these FMLN leaders declared themselves anti-imperialists, but now they are taking off their masks and showing their true pro imperialist faces, taking part in plans to recognize the regime of a military coup, the Pepe Lobo administration. Given this, it is fitting to pose the following question: Has the FMLN leadership given up on being anti-imperialist? We do not doubt that the vast majority of the honest base and activists of the FMLN still believe that in order for our country to be free, there must be complete independence from imperialist intrustion, which is the same force that maintains the oppression and explotation of millions of Salvadorians in the United States. For them, the Obama administration is doing nothing – neither to grant them their true legalization nor to respect their rights as citizens and workers.
From now on, the mass organizations of the Left should, through mass mobilization, demand that the Funes-FMLN administration end all the agreements that tie us to American and European imperialism!
Refuse to pay the unjust and illegitimate foreign debt!
End all the international economic, political and military agreements made with the American and European imperialists!
(1) ARENA is the right wing Party in El Salvador. ARENA won the national elections in El Salvador last month.
(2) The FMLN is a Party that emerged out of social struggle in El Salvador. Originally it was composed of five different guerrilla groups that united in armed struggle during the El Salvadorian Civil War. With the end of the war, the FMLN signed a peace agreement and transformed into a legally recognized electoral party. In 2009 for the first time, Mauricio Funes, the FMLN Presidential candidate, won the elections and the FMLN won the majority in legislative and municipal seats. In last month’s elections, the FMLN lost their majority to ARENA.
(3) In June, 2009, a sector of the Honduran military rose up against President Manuel Zelaya and seized power, sending him into exile. The military coup was a right-wing effort to prevent Zelaya from initiating a national referendum on amending the Constitution. The coup was met with mass popular resistance from the Honduran people, which continues to this day, despite the repressive measures against it taken by the coup government.