For the special envoy of the Joe Biden administration, the visit to the country is fruitful and managed to communicate the important messages of the White House to El Salvador.
The special envoy of the Biden administration to the Northern Triangle, Ricardo Zúñiga, confirmed that he was unable to establish a relationship with President Nayib Bukele on the first day of his visit to El Salvador.
“Yes, we asked for the meeting, we did not receive it, I do not know how it was done,” said the diplomat who will oversee US foreign policy for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
However, he did not detail why he did not hold the meeting with the Salvadoran president. Zúñiga limited himself to saying that it is normal that in such a tight schedule some of the scheduled meetings are not achieved and about the reasons behind not being able to meet, he said that “he is going to have to ask the presidency.”
However, for the special envoy of the Biden administration, the visit to the country is fruitful and managed to communicate the important messages of the White House to El Salvador.
This message is that democratic governance is central to the link between El Salvador and the United States. In addition, that the fight against corruption is the central axis of his country’s plan to reduce irregular migration.
For this reason, he reinforced the message given on his first day in El Salvador: that the model of an institution with international support and financing is central to be able to strengthen the fight against illicit crimes, which in the case of the country is CICIES.
On Wednesday, he announced that the United States will donate $ 2 million to CICIES to continue the fight against corruption in El Salvador. Yesterday, the Commission detailed that it has sent 12 notices of alleged corruption in 5 state institutions to the Prosecutor’s Office, although it did not say what cases were involved.
Zúñiga also welcomed the civil society proposal to strengthen the CICIES with greater independence from the Presidency, give it greater financial autonomy, and give it more powers to sue in corruption processes.
However, President Bukele has already announced that he opposes this initiative. Given this, the White House envoy limited himself to saying that it is a “sovereign decision” of El Salvador.
Democracy will be essential
For Ricardo Zúñiga, democracy and the rule of law are fundamental pillars of what he calls “enabling conditions” for Salvadorans to have prosperity and social mobility, and thereby prevent or reduce irregular migration.
And one of the points on which he placed the most emphasis in his conversation with Salvadoran journalists is precisely respect for freedom of the press.
The White House envoy expressed concern about the pressures faced by the media and added that journalists play a crucial role in the democratic culture, something that is in Washington’s interest to strengthen. He also said that the US government uses journalistic reports from Salvadoran media to base its positions and analysis on El Salvador and its democracy.