Due to abuses of power by Bukele, the United States cuts military aid to El Salvador | News from El Salvador

The recent economic stimulus package approved in the United States includes a clause that punishes the governments of the Northern Triangle for their corruption and little commitment to democracy.

In just over a year and a half, the presidency of Nayib Bukele has shown clear signs of a systematic attack on the institutionality and the rule of law in El Salvador: it has disrespected judicial rulings, has harassed opponents, has closed doors to transparency. Worse still, it has used the security forces as the armed arms of its political whims.

This has not gone unnoticed in the United States, El Salvador’s main ally. On the eve of a change in government, and amid Bukele’s efforts to pay lobbyists to clean up his image in Washington, his North American ally will cut the assistance it gives to the Salvadoran Armed Forces.

Throughout his incipient presidency, Bukele has shown signs of attacks on institutions that have not gone unnoticed in Washington DC.

This cut is part of the extensive budget and stimulus package to combat the coronavirus that both houses of the US Congress recently approved and that President Trump ratified last Sunday, December 27.

It may interest you: US Congress passes law to deny entry to corrupt people from the Northern Triangle

Among the annexes to the main project, there was a clause aimed at combating corruption in Central America, which includes this cut in funds from the State Department for the acquisition of US defense equipment for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Bukele played down a legislator who promoted the cut

Throughout his incipient presidency, Bukele has shown signs of attacks on institutions that have not gone unnoticed in Washington DC. Although the Trump administration was silent in the face of some clear abuses of power, considering Bukele an ally in its immigration policies, both sides of the legislature spoke out on numerous occasions against the blows to the rule of law of the Salvadoran president.

One of the legislators who signed these pronouncements demanding respect for the institutionality was Norma Torres, who is a member of the House of Representatives for the state of California. At the time, Bukele downplayed Torres and other legislators who spoke out against his abuses, said they were not representative and even hinted that they had only signed by signing, without knowing what the letters contained.

The same legislator whom he downplayed was the one who promoted the partial cut in funds for the armed forces that was endorsed by the Senate and sanctioned by Trump.

Read also: Three keys to understanding Joe Biden’s plan for Central America

This legislative project also contemplates other types of sanctions for government officials who have damaged democracy in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The Joe Biden government, which will take office on January 20, will have just under 6 months to deliver a list of individuals it considers corrupt in the Northern Triangle and the country will proceed to cancel the visas and establish sanctions, as approved by both legislative chambers.

This, combined with the Biden plan for Central America, which poses harsh consequences for the corrupt, is a setback for the Northern Triangle countries that got used to the transactional style of the Trump administration: they faithfully collaborated with immigration policies in exchange for receiving the accolade. Washington and a dismissive look at the obvious abuses of power.

Related note: Republican congressmen see Bukele backsliding from democracy

The former ambassador of the United States El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, told El Diario de Hoy a few months ago that President Bukele would do well to expect a different treatment from the Biden government, from which he anticipated that he would have a stronger stance against abuses of power .

Bad news for Bukele, good for El Salvador

José Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas of Human Rights Watch (HRW), spoke in this regard, reacting to the news on Twitter saying that this is “good news for El Salvador. Bad news for Bukele. “

Vivanco, who has been a regular critic of the president’s abuses and was even blocked on Twitter by the president, said that “his repeated abuses have an international cost. And with the end of Trump that cost will only increase. “

The HRW official fitted his tweet with an image of February 9, the most iconic event of Bukele’s abandonment of the rule of law, when he led a military and police takeover of the Legislative Assembly to press for a loan. This event was perhaps the watershed in the international image of the Salvadoran president and the end of the “honeymoon” that many international observers had with Bukele.

This cut does not cover the bulk of cooperation to combat drug trafficking and other tasks, but it is a message for the countries of the Northern Triangle.

“This puts these countries on the same level as dictatorships and failed states,” said Adam Isacson, a member of the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), a think tank for the promotion of the rule of law in the region.

Napoleón Campos, an expert in international affairs and candidate for deputy for Nuestro Tiempo, affirmed that “Nayib Bukele did it again! He lost Fomilenio III for El Salvador and now US military assistance (President) Trump signs the law that qualifies Bukele as corrupt and imputes serious damage to Democracy and the rule of law. “

For her part, Bukele’s designated ambassador in Washington, Milena Mayorga, showed surprise at this cut and in an interview with The Associated Press (AP) called for a reconsideration of the decision, in addition to highlighting Bukele’s supposed democratic commitment.


Cooperation with Mali: EU resumes military mission

The EUTM Mali training mission, which was suspended due to the military coup, is set to restart. The Bundeswehr is also involved in it.

The EUTM in Mali, in which the German Federal Armed Forces is involved, will be resumed Photo: Michael Kappeler / Reuters

BERLIN taz | Two months after the military coup in Mali, the EU decided to resume its EUTM-Mali military training mission, which was suspended after the coup. According to information from the taz, the EU members in the Political and Security Committee of the EU decided on October 13th to “gradually resume” EUTM-Mali in coordination with the new civil-military transitional government.

Priority is given to advice, including in the areas of human rights and the fight against impunity, as well as support for the G5-Sahel regional anti-terrorism reaction force, and activities in central Mali, where violence and insecurity are greatest.

The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defense, Thomas Silberhorn, also announced the resumption of EUTM Mali on Tuesday to the new Malian President Ba Ndaw and his Vice Assimi Goita during talks in Bamako. According to Malian reports, Silberhorn promised to “maintain and consolidate” the good relations between Germany and Mali.

The Bundeswehr is involved in EUTM Mali with an upper limit of 350 soldiers. In fact, almost all activities since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic have been on hold. The mission was formally suspended following the fall of President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta by the army on August 18.

The planned resumption of EUTM Mali is met with a mixed response in German politics, where the Bundeswehr mission in Mali is rejected by the left and AfD. Left-wing MP Tobias Pflüger renewed his call for the Bundeswehr to withdraw from Mali, as the EU mandate provides for the Malian armed forces to be trained “under the control of the legitimate civil government”: “Does the federal government now recognize the putschists as a legitimate government?” The FDP- Vice-President Christoph Hoffmann, who had visited Mali in September, called on the federal government to intensify development cooperation with Mali and to initiate government negotiations with Bamako “in order to support the transitional government with urgent reforms”.