In several countries throughout the region, former members of parties with Communist ties, some of them the main actors in cold war battles with the US, have won presidencies.
In Uruguay, President Jose Mujica was former member of the Tupamaros movement in the '60s, which was inspired by Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba. President Mujica spent 14 years in a military prison for his rebel activities, only released in 1985. He began his term as president in 2010.
In El Salvador, President Mauricio Funes was the candidate of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, which was an umbrella group for the Communist party and other leftists formed in 1980. The FMLN fought the Salvadoran government during the country’s civil war from 1980 to 1992. At the close of civil war it became a legal political organization but only gained the presidency with the 2009 win of Mr. Funes, a former journalist and moderate.
And in Nicaragua, Sandinista Daniel Ortega started a second term as president in 2006. President Ortega was a major cold war figure, having joined the Sandinistas and helped the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. He served a first presidential term from 1985 to 1990, during which his Marxist-inspired policies such as land reform provoked US response in the form of funds to the right-wing Contras.