Meet the president
As Europe and Asia turn vehemently right, Latin America continues with its experiment with pink, a muted shade of red. After Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Venezuela’s Nicholas Maduro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, among others, it’s the turn of El Salvador to ride the pink tide. Salvador Sanchez Ceren, former schoolteacher and guerrilla fighter, has been sworn in as the new president of the Central American country. It is heartening to note that Latin America is keeping the flame of revolutionary leftism alive and merging it with electoral politics, even though it is a dying trend everywhere else around the world. Ceren, who pledged ‘honour, austerity, efficiency and transparency’ during this oath-taking ceremony, had battled US-backed junta governments during a bitter conflict lasting over a decade and killing more than 76,000 people in its wake. Ceren had been part of Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which became a political party in 1992, and rose to power in 2009, when Mauricio Funes, Ceren’s predecessor and a former journalist, was elected president. Ceren, however, has massive battles to win in his country, which is infested with gangland wars, exponential crime rates and corruption. The president leads a frugal life and gives away most of his salary to the poor, is sensitive to issues of migration, food crisis, lack of infrastructure, which are plaguing the country. El Salvador is also one of the nodal points of global drug circuit, and Ceren has a tough task ahead if he intends to clean up the sewers of his country’s national politics.