San Salvador, El Salvador
The United States special envoy for the Northern Triangle of Central America, Ricardo Zúñiga, announced on Wednesday the donation of more than two million dollars to an anti-corruption commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) in El Salvador.
Zúñiga arrived in El Salvador on a four-day tour, which took him first to Guatemala and does not include Honduras, to address the causes of irregular migration.
“The Biden Administration has made it very clear that the fight against corruption is fundamental in our support to the countries of Central America,” he told a conference in which questions from the press were not allowed.
He added that “we want to support the Government of El Salvador in the process of breaking the cycle of corruption” and applauded the initiative of the Government of Nayib Bukele to allow the audit of the International Commission Against Impunity in El Salvador (Cicies) to the funds used to attend the covid-19 pandemic.
Zúñiga also recognized social organizations committed to a Cicies “Independent”.
The Government of Nayib Bukele and the OAS launched the Cicies, which would be in charge of conducting administrative investigations in cases of corruption in the 105 state entities.
The commissioner of the Cicies, Ronalth Ochaeta, pointed out that they have given 25 assistances to the Prosecutor’s Office, among these 12 “notices of possible illegal acts of corruption in five state portfolios.”
The announcement of financial support comes on the same day that Salvadoran President Bukele rejected the call from humanitarian organizations for the Legislative Assembly to approve a law that would grant the Cicies independence from the Executive.
“Just by seeing those logos of the NGOs that are behind this ‘proposal’ and seeing the ‘media’ that are publishing it, I’m sure it would be the worst thing we could do,” the president posted on his Twitter account.
He added that “no longer insist, nothing approved by the outgoing @AsambleSV will ever come into effect.”
On May 1, the new Legislative Assembly takes office, in which the ruling New Ideas (NI) and the Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) add up to 61 of the 84 deputies, almost 73% of the seats.
UNCONFIRMED MEETING WITH BUKELE
The Salvadoran government and the US embassy have not confirmed whether Zúñiga will meet with President Bukele or with executive officials.
At a press conference in Washington, US State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to clarify whether Zúñiga will meet with Bukele or with another member of the Salvadoran government.
“We do not have any meeting to inform you, but if that changes we will be happy to do so,” Price said only when asked by Efe.
The spokesperson explained that, in “general terms”, Zúñiga is in Central America to talk about the problems that cause migration to the north, such as insecurity, lack of economic opportunities and corruption.
He recognized that “all” the Governments of the Northern Triangle, including the Salvadoran, have a “role” to play to improve conditions in those countries; But he recalled that part of Washington’s strategy is to collaborate with civil society and non-governmental organizations.
“We have a strong relationship with El Salvador and its people and we continue to work closely with our Salvadoran allies to address the challenges in the region,” Price added.
Zúñiga’s full schedule in El Salvador is unknown, but he is expected to hold private meetings with social organizations and representatives of the press. EFE