On March 3, 1989, the General Command of the FMLN issued a communique stating its position on this week's developments in El Salvador. The following is a resume of the most salient points:
"It has been four days since we proposed to negotiate with the government on March 4-5, and we have yet to receive an answer. Obviously this meeting will not take place, nor is it known if there will be any meeting at all. Meanwhile, we are only two weeks away from the March 19 election.
The governmental commission has not yet been formed; the Armed Forces have decreed a phony cease-fire while continuing military operations; the repression has not ceased. Now we know that Duarte's counterproposal was concocted by the American Embassy in San Salvador, with the aim of isolating ARENA, rejecting our peace proposal and putting the army in charge of a fraudulent election intended to ensure an electoral victory for the Christian Democratic Party.
Time is running out. Once again, we urge the government to negotiate. We propose a meeting on March 7-8 in San Salvador.
This last-minute maneuver by Duarte, the false unilateral cease-fire declared by the army, and the dilatory tactics employed by the government are clear proof that there is no political will on the part of the government, the Armed Forces, or the ARENA majority in the Legislative Assembly to give peace a chance. In its public declaration opposing the postponement of elections beyond the March 19 date, ARENA has openly joined the efforts to block the road to peace.
Lamentably, the U.S. has once again taken upon itself to make decisions that should be made by Salvadorans. While the new Administration was calling for serious consideration of the FMLN peace proposal, it was contributing to a peaceful arrangement.
Now it has returned to its usual interference in Salvadoran affairs. This can only lead to a continuation of the war.
The unilateral cease-fire declared by the Armed Forces is a farce, little more than a clumsy effort to continue the war by covert means. A genuine cease-fire would imply:
- Establishing territorial bounderies on over thirty fronts where the FMLN has permanent forces.
- A return to the barracks of the Battalions of Rapid Displacement Infantry.
- The suspension of aerial operations.
- The retirement of artillery and tanks to barracks.
- An end to searches in the cities, arbitrary arrests, disappearances, torture and murders by the security forces.
- The establishment of impartial and permanent verification mechanisms to implement the mutual accords.
In short, a prolonged cease-fire should be negotiated and agreed upon. The present so-called "cease-fire" during which nothing changes and the Armed Forces continue operating is a sham intended to deceive international opinion.
We reiterate that in our proposed meeting with the government we will search for ways to implement a peace accord, based on our original January 23 proposal that elections be postponed until September 15 -- permitting maximum participation -- and that a cease-fire be put in place, etc. The ultimate goal is a definitive peace agreement.
This would be a great victory for the ideals of the Salvadoran people. It would mean the beginning of their self-determination, something well worth the definitive silencing of our weapons.
But we will not surrender.
We call upon the U.S. government to stop being an obstacle to peace. Rather, it should use its influence in a respectful fashion, so that we Salvadorans can find for ourselves the solutions to our problems.
General Command of the FMLN
Shafik Jorge Handal