(Written by CLACS MA student Vladimir Penaloza.)
From March 31st to April 2nd, New York City will play host to a conference about the process and effects of the 1992 Peace Accords that brought an end to El Salvador’s bloody and lengthy civil war. The conference is hosted by New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Columbia University’s Institute for Latin American Studies.
The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed on January 16, 1992. The treaty was brokered by representatives of the Salvadoran government, the rebel movement (FMLN) and Salvadoran political parties, with observers from the Roman Catholic Church and United Nations. These peace accords brought peace to a country that had endured a twelve-year civil war that was waged between the military-led government and a coalition of leftist groups and the communist party (FMLN). Its is believed that more than 75,000 people died, and an unknown number of people “disappeared” during one of Central America’s longest and bloodiest conflicts.
It has been close to 25 years since the Salvadoran Peace Accords were signed at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. From War to Politics intends to reflect on the circumstances that allowed the peace process to be successful. The peace process itself was a remarkable achievement that ended an intractable conflict and enabled El Salvador to transition to peaceful civilian rule. By bringing together over a dozen of the most crucial participants and scholars, this conference hopes to find consensus on what happened and what the outcomes were. The panels to be held will focus on the topics still considered the core details of the Accords, for example, what impact did the role of external actors on the process have in shaping the peace process? Were the external actors of greater impact than internal actors? All this and more will be discussed during the conference.
The panels will include the following topics:
- The Role of El Salvador’s Internal Actors in Shaping Peace
- Fighting While Talking: How Battleground Dynamics Influenced Negotiating Strategies
- The Role of External Actors in Shaping Peace
- Roundtable: What Difference Did the Accords Make?
The conclusions reached during these sessions will have been arrived at by the people who actually participated in the original Peace Accords. Some of the participants include:
Armando Calderon Sol, former president of El Salvador (1994-99) and Mayor of San Salvador (1988-94)
Bernard W. Aronson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
Salvador Samayoa, former member of the FMLN’s Political-Diplomatic Commission
For more information about the conference, including a detailed program, biographies of the participants, and a link to register, please see the official conference website.