Rebel Commander Speaks

WHAT does the March 19 election victory by the right-wing ARENA mean for the leftist guerrillas of the FMLN? The fight will undoubtedly have to polarize and radicalize. The two historical [foes] are now left directly confronting each other: the US-supported oligarchy and the revolutionary [movement].... [But] there are better chances of negotiations ... because we now confront a clearly defined ideological enemy.

Will human-rights abuses increase?

As much as [ARENA and the Army] would like to, they can't implement a policy of human-rights violations because they know that they alone cannot win the war. They need [US] support.''

The coalition of leftist parties blames FMLN violence for its dismal fourth-place election finish. Will bitterness strain relations between the FMLN and its political allies?

Our political alliance is very broad and is based on two fundamental aspects: mutual respect and the right to criticize ... We can make critical observations without breaking the alliance.

Army intelligence sources say the FMLN has recently received over 500 Soviet-made AK-47s. Where did you get them?

The presence of Soviet weapons hasn't been denied. This doesn't mean that there is aid on the scale that the US gives to the Salvadoran Army. Soviet weapons can also be obtained on the black market. And in the specific case of Central America, corruption levels within the [US-funded Nicaraguan] contras make getting arms easier.

So most of the AK-47s are bought from the contras? Yes.

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