A report on the operations of FUSADES : promoting neoliberalism via relationships to parties, governance, transnational institutions, and mainstream media in El Salvador




Cordova, Sherley Katherine

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FUSADES is the largest think tank in El Salvador, and has been successful in influencing policy towards a neoliberal direction since it was founded in 1983. Guided by four dimensions--cooperative and competitive relationships with political parties, the revolving-door between governments and think tanks, media presence, and transnational ties--pointed out in think tank scholarship, I point to the ways FUSADES is able to influence policy in El Salvador, and how they are limited by the FMLN’s rise to power. Using Thomas Medvetz’s argument--that think tanks are able to exercise influential power in various ways through their purposeful ambiguity, which allows them to legitimize themselves as objective institutions--I show how FUSADES legitimizes itself as an objective and impartial institution despite their promotion of neoliberal policies. In this thesis, I ultimately argue that FUSADES is a neoliberal institution that has multidimensional influence over Salvadoran policies that shape the country’s political and economic system. Questions I address throughout the thesis are: how is FUSADES legitimized as an “impartial” institution? What are the political implications of their professed impartiality? What allows them to influence governance? How is their influence limited? What explicit and implicit role(s) does FUSADES play in the Salvadoran economy and its political system?


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