How Peace Came to El Salvador

The peace agreement signed by the government of El Salvador and the Democratic Revolutionary Front (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front-FMLN) on January 16, 1992, resulted from a number of factors that converged during 1990-91. In the years between the beginning of the conflict in 1980 and the successful conclusion of peace negotiations, political and social reforms had addressed many of the grievances at the root of the conflict. The nonviolent center had expanded at the expense of the extreme Right and Left. The way had been opened for the Salvadoran Left to participate in a democratic political process, and the Right had found that it too could compete successfully in that process. The Salvador-an government, the FMLN, and the Salvadoran public were exhausted by the years of struggle in which neither side was able to win a decisive victory. Moreover, in 1990, when serious negotiations began, the collapse of communism in most of the world was forcing Salvadoran revolutionaries to rethink their goals and worry about their sources of support,

Not least important in bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion was Washington’s support of the Salvadoran government and the part played by other international actors. Indeed, the Salvador-an peace process provides relevant lessons for international conflict resolution in Latin America and elsewhere, and for US. policy.

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