In El Salvador, the son of Roberto d’Aubuisson was elected mayor of Santa Tecla, a city of some 200,000 inhabitants southwest of San Salvador. The author of Tim’s El Salvador Blog put his finger on a hot button when he asked whether “the upcoming beatification of Oscar Romero was not enough to prevent the son of the man who ordered Romero's assassination from becoming mayor.” Here are three reasons why choosing d’Aubuisson, Jr. in no way indicates an electoral backlash to the Romero beatification.
- First, neither d’Aubuisson, Jr., nor his ARENA party have taken a position against the beatification of Archbishop Romero. In fact, in an interview before the election, the then candidate said that Romero’s assassination was “a horrendous crime” (although he denied his father had anything to do with it). Other ARENA politicians have applauded Romero’s beatification, to the point of promising to erect a monument to Romero in a central square of San Salvador (promise by the failed ARENA candidate for mayor of that city).
- Second, to the Salvadoran mind, a vote for d’Aubuisson, Jr. does not amount to an endorsement of the assassination of Archbishop Romero, much less a vote against his beatification. For better or for worse, Salvadorans assume there is a clean slate on the issue of war crimes, on the theory that both the left and the right committed atrocities. As the same blogger, Tim, said very well, “Salvadorans know the histories of their political parties and have already made up their minds whether that history is important or not” when they cast their vote.
- Finally, there is a prevailing climate of tranquility after the elections, and although there was a catastrophic failure in the vote counting system, candidates of the various parties have accepted the unofficially results and in some cases have even expressed appreciation for their opponents. It all bodes well for reconciliation and unity around the beatification of Archbishop Romero.
Thus, the election results do not reveal any hindrance to the beatification of Archbishop Romero and, on the contrary, are very encouraging.