“We hope that President Bukele restores a strong separation of powers, where they have been eroded, and that he demonstrates the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability,” was the strong message from the State Department spokesman.
At a press conference on Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed his country’s government’s concern over the erosion of the separation of powers in El Salvador.
“We hope that President Bukele restores a strong separation of powers, where they have eroded, and that he demonstrates the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability to the people of El Salvador,” Price said, according to a note from the Media Voice of America, the US government’s international news service.
According to this note, the concerns of Price and the State Department coincide with constant criticism that has been made of the government of Nayib Bukele.
SEE: Corruption and impunity are “endemic” in El Salvador, according to a report from the United States government
On the one hand, it has been pointed out constant attempts to weaken the rule of law and the institutions that must control its power. An example of this was the military takeover of the Legislative Assembly on February 9, 2020, something the State Department pointed to in May of last year as a significant democratic setback.
Likewise, the US government and multiple congressmen from this country have indicated attempts to silence the independent Salvadoran press and voices critical of the government’s management.
Finally, there is concern about indications of corruption within the Bukele administration, particularly regarding the management of emergency funds to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has been accompanied by a growing opacity in the way of managing not only the millions of dollars approved to face the emergency, but also hiding the COVID-19 care plans, as well as data on the vaccination plan and the acquisition of the dose.
Democracy will continue to be a priority for the United States.
In his press conference, Price said that they will continue to “emphasize to political leaders the importance of democratic institutions.”
ALSO: US Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle, Ricardo Zúñiga, will visit El Salvador to verify causes of irregular migration
Democracy, as well as the fight against corruption, are priorities of the Biden administration for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Addressing these issues, as well as reducing insecurity and creating economic opportunities, according to the US government, can prevent the irregular migration of hundreds of Central Americans to the United States.
These statements by Price are given in the framework of the visit to Guatemala and El Salvador of the Special Envoy of the government of Joe Biden to supervise the relationship with the Northern Triangle (a sub-region made up of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala).
In this, it is expected that the diplomat designated by Joe Biden for the region, Ricardo Zúñiga, will address with the governments of these countries Washington’s main priority: reducing irregular migration by attacking the causes of this phenomenon.
Zúñiga arrived in Guatemala yesterday, where he held a meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei and another with Pedro Brolo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the neighboring country.
Likewise, sources close to the Guatemalan government told this medium that Zúñiga will hold bilateral closed-door meetings with the government to address precisely the issues of economic development, security and migration.
Later, the US diplomat will go to El Salvador, where he is expected to hold meetings with various actors to discuss the reasons behind the massive exodus of people to the United States.
His visit comes in the midst of a turbulent period in which the Salvadoran government has intensified practices already condemned by its US counterpart.
Among these, the harassment and harassment of the media and figures critical of the Government, as well as the opacity and concealment of information regarding the use of public resources.
These indications of corruption and blows to the press were some of the situations indicated in a report presented by the State Department at the end of March of this year, where, as in 2020, the governing institution of US foreign policy finds worrying signs of democratic deterioration in El Salvador.