Santa Elena de Uairén, March 11th 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ebulliently congratulated president-elect Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador’s FMLN party, who yesterday was declared winner by just 6,000 votes after a tense electoral race. But his well-wishing may be premature.
The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) is a source of either pride or controversy for Salvadorans and Latin America in general, having defined itself as a revolutionary guerrilla movement that resisted a string of U.S. backed governments throughout the 1980’s during El Salvador’s devastating civil war.
Maduro wrote on twitter, “Sánchez Cerén is a legendary leader for democracy and human rights in El Salvador. The results mean another triumph for Left-wing Latin America, thank you for waking up history.”
He also quoted the 1980’s song “Sombrero Azul,” written by revolutionary Venezuelan songwriter Alí Primera , saying “Go for it Salvadoran, there is no small bird who after spreading his wings has detained his flight.”
But, as though following a new trend stretching across the continent, defeated candidate Norman Quijano of the right-wing National Republican Alliance (ARENA), refused to accept the results and has called for a full recount, insisting that he was the real winner.
The country’s electoral tribunal does not feel that a recount can make any difference given the available data. ”We put our technical teams to work all night, which is why I can tell you with certainty that the result of this election is irreversible," said Eugenio Chicas, head of the tribunal.
Quijano’s hardline stance is not unlike that which right-wing Venezuelan politician Henrique Capriles Radonski took after losing to Nicolas Maduro in the April 2013 presidential elections. It comes as little surprise to learn that both men’s campaign strategy is easily traced to one notorious adviser.
Venezuelan Marketing consultant J.J. Rendón claims on his professional webpage “We possess the necessary experience to control and cause crises of public opinion that can disestablish the legitimacy of a governmental entity or the image of a public figure.”
He has plenty of experience to fill out his resumé, having assisted in the campaigns of Enrique Peña Nieto, Juan Manuel Santos, and the public image of Porfirio Lobo who assumed leadership by questionable means after the 2009 coup that removed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.
Rendón stayed close to Capriles throughout the electoral race and reappeared again alongside ARENA in the months of Quijano’s campaign.
The country’s electoral tribunal plans to announce the final election results on Wednesday.