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El Salvador

Yearbook 1998

El Salvador. The former guerrilla front and now the political party FMLN (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional) were shaken during the year by internal contradictions between "innovators" and "orthodox". The new leader Facundo Guardado sought support from the middle class and entrepreneurs and was accused of betraying the party's ideology and of being an opportunist. The party leadership defended an open debate ahead of the forthcoming elections in 1999. After a lengthy and infected debate, Guardado was finally appointed FMLN presidential candidate in the 1999 election with María Marta Valladares, known as Commander Nidia Díaz during the Civil War, as vice presidential candidate.

1998 El Salvador

At the ruling party ARENA's (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) congress in March, 38-year-old economist Francisco Flores was named presidential candidate for the 1999 election.

According to Countryaah, French France Telecom won the bidding during the year when the Salvadoran telecom company CTE-ANTEL was privatized. The French bought 51% of the company in competition with i.a. Swedish Telia.

The violent forest and grass fires that ravaged Central America also hit El Salvador and reached its peak in May-June. The fires occurred as a result of the most severe drought in 70 years in combination with the weather phenomenon of El Niño.

In June, four police officers convicted of 1980 murders were released on four American women, including three nuns. Police later testified again and said they had acted on orders from senior commanders. The testimonies were reinforced by earlier secret documents from the US Department of Foreign Affairs that have now been released.

Like neighboring countries, El Salvador was hit hard by Hurricane Mitch's progress during October – November. At least 200 people were killed and 30,000 lost their homes. The worst was the country's eastern parts of San Miguel.

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