Transition in El Salvador: a multi-layered process (Paper from Symposium)

This paper reflects on the obstacles facing Salvadorean NGOs in the transition from war to peace. Firstly, on the difficulties inherent in the peace process itself: insufficient structural change; the trap of electoral politics; a transition process that was too narrowly defined; and the impossibility of reconciliation without addressing the need for collective memory, public responsibility, or justice. Secondly, on the difficulties peculiar to NGOs and popular organisations in El Salvador: the difference between the skills and resources they had developed in war and those needed in peace; the problems in establishing their role in the national reconstruction plan; and the fact that they were themselves made up of people who were still suffering the psychological wounds of war.