Elections and extortion in El Salvador [SLV0259]


The Salvadorian Constitution states that "the contesting political parties have the right to watch over the electoral process" [ Blanstien A. and Flanz G., Constitutions of the Countries of the World, El Salvador, Title VI, Chapter VII, Article 209, (New York: Oceana Publications, 1984), p. 64.] which includes having representatives present at the polling stations.

In a Globe and Mail report on 11 April 1989 it was stated that

"We sent letters to the owners of these farms asking them to raise the workers salaries," said one rebel. "If the grower doesn't pay what we say, we'll burn his farm or destroy his property." [ "Guerrilla forces in El Salvador stepping up activities near cities", The Globe and Mail, [Toronto], 11 April 1989, p. A17.]
Thew payment of "war tax" has been a wide spread and reasonably common form of financing the guerrilla cause since the beginning of the civil war in El Salvador in 1980. [ Americas Watch Committee, The Civilian Toll 1986-87, (New York: Americas Watch Committee Publications, 1987) p. 125. and Americas Watch Committee, Settling Into Routine, (New York: Americas Watch Committee Publications, 1986) p. 70.] There is no information available to the IRBDC Ottawa, at this time, indicating whether the payment period for war taxes is monthly or in fact if payments are standardized in any way. Nor is there information regarding the increase in later payments if initial payments are suspended.