Hope in new Salvadoran turmoil

Despite a new embassy takeover and a former education minister's decision to become a guerrilla, there are some hopeful signs in El Salvador. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that the naming of three more civilians to the ruling junta to replace those who resigned gives the government a broader political base.

The junta must negotiate with terrorists who seized the Panamanian Embassy Friday. Among hostages in the embassy are Panamanian Ambassador Daniel Samuel Pere and Costa Rican Ambassador Alejandro Alvarado Pizza, who was paying a courtesy call on the Panamanian envoy.

Panama's government, meanwhile, appealed to the junta to release several political prisoners as demanded by the terrorists in exchange for Ambassadors Pere and Alvarado Pizza. [Reuters reported Sunday morning that the terrorists had asked the Mexican and Venezuelan ambassadors to mediate the situation.]

The newly reconstituted junta announced Sunday that it is eager to get on with its the task of trying to bring about a variety of political and social reforms to the small Cental American country. Some of the country's terrorists, including those holding the Panamanian embassy, champion the same issues but doubt the junta's sincerity.

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