Commemorating 20 Years of Peace in El Salvador: Is it a Reality?
A twelve-year civil war left Salvadorans longing for peace, but the challenge was how to create accords that would stick. In 1988, the United Nation’s Special Representative, Alvaro de Soto, began the slow process of gaining agreement on an agenda: the purging of El Salvador’s Armed Forces, a focus on human rights and the creation of new democratic institutions. Two years later, the international community witnessed the peace accords signed at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. Yet implementing those agreements was as challenging as the negotiations themselves. External powers had turned their attention to other conflicts, and the International Monetary Fund demanded financial and economic reforms while El Salvador needed money to demobilize and decommission both sides to the armed conflict. Twenty years after the Chapultepec Accords, where have the process and agreements succeeded and where do significant problems remain?
On January 19, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings will host the launch of Seeking Peace in El Salvador: The Struggle to Reconstruct a Nation at the End of the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) featuring author Diana Negroponte, Brookings nonresident senior fellow. She will be joined by Francisco Altschul, ambassador of El Salvador to the United States, and Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who will provide an assessment of the accords and its implications for Latin America.
After the program, panelists will take audience questions.
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"You have to play the long game. It’s fine to add money, but when the commitment is volatile and your funding goes up and down constantly, you can end up creating more harm than good."
"We have been in Central America for a long time. It’s not just money that has made us effective in the region — there is a lot of hard-earned experience, trial and error, and institution building that is slowly reaping results. The worst thing that could happen now is to go back to zero."