On (Mis)Understanding US-El Salvador Relations

Last week, The Nation published an article, “How El Salvador’s Supreme Court Is Undermining Democracy – With Washington’s Help.” While there are numerous legitimate and good criticisms to make of the US’s relations with Latin America, historically and in recent years (something that seems to have changed, at least subtly and perhaps temporarily – I may have more on this later), this article is not one such article, primarily because of a lack of thorough historical contextualization or political nuance. Fortunately, Tim has provided an excellent rebuttal that considers both the timing of documents, the historical context of El Salvador’s Supreme Court, and the political landscape there:

The US Embassy cable disclosed by WikiLeaks is not news.   El Faro first published the cable in 2011, four years ago.   This is not a brand new revelation.  The cable is dated July 2008, during the Bush administration, and before the Obama administration which has had a more even-handed approach to El Salvador’s two political parties. […] , the US Embassy cable from 2008 might have talked about an ARENA plan, but the events from a year later did not play out as ARENA had planned. Instead, the Constitutional Chamber received four new justices who have been widely praised for their judicial independence and their commitment to the rule of law.

That’s just one excellent excerpt, but really, whole thing is worth reading.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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