(posted April 3, 7:30 am) — Salvadoran president-elect Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerrilla comandante of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), visited Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Wednesday to ruminate about revolutionary days of discuss the importance of deepening Central American integration.
Sánchez, whose stopover in Nicaragua was part of a Central American victory tour following his razor-thin victory in the March 9 presidential elections, said his meeting with Ortega was “very productive and with a vision toward the future — one that will strengthen peace in the region.”
The two presidents discussed the ongoing efforts to establish a “zone of peace and economic development” in the Gulf of Fonseca — something the governments of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras have been discussing without much headway since 2007. Tensions flared along the maritime border last March, when Honduras accused Nicaragua of sending gunboats into the gulf.
The former socialists also discussed the importance of increasing trade and investment between Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Sánchez, once known as a hardline marxist, was able to soften his image by serving as vice president for the popular government of Mauricio Funes, whose five year term ends in June. Still, El Salvador remains a deeply divided nation after its 22-year civil war, which ended in 1992. Sánchez, the incumbent FMLN’s ticket, defeated right-wing ARENA candidate Norman Quijano by less than 7,000 votes in last month’s election, suggesting that many Salvadorans still have their doubts about him.
Similar to Ortega, Sánchez is expected to make overtures to the business sector to maintain stability and growth in his country.