Envoy from Biden to the Northern Triangle will meet with the attorney general and the head of the CICIES

Among the missions of the diplomat Ricardo Zúñiga, is to monitor the fulfillment of the goals in the fight against corruption in El Salvador

This Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden’s government envoy for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will hold a meeting with the Attorney General of the Republic, Raúl Melara, and the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES) , Ronalth Ochaeta.

One of the main missions of the diplomat in charge of the Northern Triangle will be to monitor progress in the fight against corruption in these countries. This fight against the abuse of public resources is one of the priorities of the Biden administration, which sees this practice as one of the main triggers of irregular migration as it diverts resources necessary to meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations.

The Bukele administration has been flagged for signs of corruption, particularly in the acquisition of medical equipment and basic goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the administration has made efforts to hide and reserve details of public expenditures, as well as to tie the hands of the Institute for Access to Public Information and hinder the audits of the Court of Accounts of the Republic.

Related note: Envoy from Joe Biden reiterates in Guatemala that it is a US priority to strengthen democracy in the Northern Triangle

For this reason, on his first day in El Salvador, he will meet with two key actors in the fight against corruption.

At present, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic is investigating some of these indications and has even carried out raids on the Ministry of Health. At the time, the prosecutor Melara even said that the CICIES had sent him information on alleged illegal purchases.

In fact, in March it emerged that the CICIES had sent three notices to the Prosecutor’s Office for alleged corruption in the public administration. All the cases referred by the Commission are for alleged illegal negotiations and are under investigation. It is not detailed which are the public institutions involved in the illicit assumptions.

Currently, there is a proposal to pass the CICIES framework agreement by legislative endorsement and give the commission more independence and teeth to better investigate corruption.

This meeting of Zúñiga takes place at the end of a two-day visit to Guatemala, where he met with President Alejandro Giammattei and numerous members of the cabinet. There, he stressed that the rule of law and democratic governance are central axes of Joe Biden’s policy towards the region.

In addition, he held three working groups: one on security and the fight against smuggling, another on economic opportunities, and one on migration.

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