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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1777


Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —by leave-Because of the lateness of the hour my contribution to this debate will be brief and therefore will hardly have very much intellectual depth. The report of the parliamentary delegation to Mexico and Central America is balanced and written with sensitivity and in a way that is designed to accommodate a consensus point of view amongst all who were delegates. If I had been the architect of the report, I might have written it in a different way. The delegation visited Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica. At the time of our visit it is fair and reasonable to say that the two countries in greatest turmoil were Nicaragua and El Salvador. As to those two countries one was left with a very clear impression that El Salvador holds out perhaps the greatest hope for some sort of transformation to a state of democracy-at least a state of democracy by definition within the Central American system.

A little time before our visit to El Salvador President Duarte had been elected to that office, although at that time the Assembly was controlled very much by Major d'Aubuissan and the ARENA party. Since our visit a further election has taken place and the Assembly is now firmly in the hands of President Duarte's party. I believe one can be optimistic in that one can see reforms of the type and nature to which Duarte has committed himself. One of the clear and real problems faced by President Duarte is to keep Major d'Aubuissan and the ARENA party within the political framework.