Do “Peace Accords” Lead to Peace, Justice and Security for the People?

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By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Lessons from El Salvador for the Colombian FARC

In Memory of Manuel Marulanda, Farabundo Marti and Augusto Sandino

Introduction

It is commonly assumed that “peace agreements” between pro-US rightwing regimes and leftwing insurgents lead to peace, justice and greater security.  A number of peace agreements which were signed and implemented in the 1990’s in Central America, South Africa, Philippines and elsewhere provide us with ample data over two decades to confirm or reject this commonplace assumption.

We will examine the case of El Salvador where a powerful guerilla movement (FMLN) signed off on a peace accord in 1992.

Method of Evaluating the Peace Accord

In approaching the analysis of the Peace Accord it is important to begin by focusing on the evolution of the FMLN – the ideological, organizational and political changes that led to the negotiations, the eventual pact with the rightwing regime and the socio-economic and political results.  The second part of the essay compares and contrasts the socio-economic and political results and policies which followed from the pact and how they affected the mass of the people.  This allows us to see who benefited and who lost; what socio-economic class and political structures emerged; what foreign policies were followed.

The third section of the paper will focus on drawing lessons which can be learned from the El Salvador experience which are applicable to the current Colombian peace negotiations between the FARC and the Santos regime.

The FMLN:  From Socialist Revolution to Capitalist Electoralism

In 1980 four major guerilla groups joined forces to form the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).  The leading component, the FPL, envisioned a prolonged struggle, uniting the guerilla and mass movements in a common anti-imperialist and social revolutionary struggle.  The lesser allies, led by the Communist Party envisioned a two stage “democratic to social revolution.”

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