Here's the summary:
Embassy San Salvador warmly welcomes the March 8-9 visit of Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Paul N. Stockton and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Frank Mora. Your visit comes while the GOES is in the midst of combating a public security crisis of the first order. It also comes at a time when the ESAF has emerged as a major player in President Funes's anti-crime strategy and his efforts to pursue a center-left, generally pro-U.S. agenda. Your visit will help reinforce the U.S. policy of active engagement with the GOES, which strengthens the moderate, pragmatic elements in the current administration.
Recent polls show President Mauricio Funes with an 80 percent approval rating and overwhelming public support for a strong bilateral relationship with the U.S. Funes has fostered strong ties with the U.S. and Brazil, though some in the FMLN have pushed him to strengthen ties with Venezuela and Cuba while de-emphasizing the U.S. relationship. President Funes' non-FMLN campaign support group, the Friends of Mauricio (now the Citizen Movement for Change), is largely in control of the economic apparatus of the government. Similarly, Defense is in the hands of a formerly-retired, recently-promoted military officer and Friend of Mauricio, Brigadier General David Munguia Payes. FMLN members control security, education, and intelligence elements of the GOES. Foreign policy is in the hands of a loyal FMLN member, but has thus far been characterized by pragmatism and outreach to the U.S. Combating violent crime and rejuvenating the economy are the GOES's top priorities, but the Funes administration has made little progress on either issue since taking office last June.Again, the US Charge d'Affairs is just trying to paint a picture of events in El Salvador for the incoming delegation. However, it's not entirely helpful to state that Funes controls economic policy and defense while the FMLN controls security, education, and intelligence without providing any context whatsoever. Perhaps it is in other cables, but presumably one would want to know how this division of labor impacts both the design and execution of government policy. Blau makes it sound as if Funes has no control of FMLN members in charge of education, for example when I'm not certain that that is the case.
The third section of the cable is confusing. It begins by explaining that President Funes told Secretary of State Clinton that "his government needs a good relationship with the United States." The paragraph then continues with a list of reasons why El Salvador needs a good relationship with the US. However, the list of reasons appears to come from Blau and not Funes.
Three out of every ten Salvadorans live in the U.S. and those who remain at home are avid consumers of all manner of American products, media, and culture. Nearly half of all Salvadoran exports are to the U.S. Given transnational crime links to and from the U.S. via Central America, there are no serious alternatives to cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies. The Salvadoran military admires and trusts our armed forces, and naturally look to us for training, equipment, and mentoring. USAID and MCC are prominent actors in social and conomic development and are held in high esteem by the GOES and the people of El Salvador. As a result, the Salvadoran public is among the most pro-American in the hemisphere. Even the hard-line FMLN recognize these points, if at the same time they do not forget our role in preventing them from seizing power with violence during the country's protracted and bloody civil war.After giving an overview of the political situation in El Salvador (divisions within the left - getting worse - and the right - getting better), Blau emphasizes military-to-military cooperation between the US and El Salvador (Iraq, counter narcotics efforts, USNS Comfort, and natural disaster relief). I'm surprised that the cable didn't go into more detail about how the supposed divisions within the Funes government are effecting (or might effect) military-to-military relations. These insights would be particularly helpful to the visiting DoD delegation since much of the rest of the cable didn't seem that pertinent to their visit.
Blau then lays out US goals in El Salvador.
Our work in El Salvador is focused on (1) promoting improved public security; (2) supporting stable, democratic governance; (3) broadening economic prosperity; and (4) investing in people.None of these are really controversial. Obviously, the controversy results when you have to determine the best way to promote improved public security (greater use of the military? more police? legal authority?), broaden economic prosperity (increase tax rates and/or collection), invest in people (government spending on education and health? an increase in the minimum wage? greater labor protections? safeguard the environment?), and support democracy (is the hard-line FMLN supportive/capable of stable democratic governance?).
Finally, I'll leave you with Blau's conclusion.
Although the Salvadoran electorate granted President Funes a mandate for change, by all appearances the voters expect him to work with the country's dynamic private sector, and to maintain good relations with the United States. Despite continuing problems with crime and a weak economy, the public is pleased with Funes's work thus far - his approval rating is above 80 percent in recent polling. Tensions between Funes and the FMLN could undermine governability and potentially damage the bilateral relationship with the U.S. Meanwhile, transnational organized crime and violent street gang activity pose as serious threat to the stability of the country. Your visit will help reaffirm our commitment to assisting the GOES in combating this non-traditional national security threat while continuing our traditionally-strong military-to-military relationship.