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Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele is known for his saucy style, which also applies to diplomacy with the United States, whose government he has not stopped criticizing, but against whom he is now hardening his position, due to the accusation of two of his officials for their relationship with organized crime.
However, Bukele’s words have not gone unnoticed and Brian Nichols, undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, warned that the Salvadoran president’s position “damages the relationship with the United States.”.
“It is clear that the interests of the United States Government have NOTHING TO DO with democracy, IN NO COUNTRY. It’s funny that there are people who think this is the case, “wrote the president of El Salvador. The tweet was accompanied by a video where there is a general explanation about how the US operates in electoral processes in Latin America.
Bukele’s position occurred within hours of the Government of President Joe Biden adding to the List of Specially Designated Citizens and Blocked Persons (SDN) to Osiris Luna Meza, Deputy Minister of Justice and General Director of AdHonorem Penal Centers, and Carlos Marroquin, Director of Reconciliation of the Social Fabric.
Both officials are accused of having a direct relationship with the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs, in addition to Luna Meza and her mother, Alma Yanira Meza Olivares – Also added to the list – they would have participated in a corruption scheme on the sale of food of a government program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bukele does not deny the Biden Administration’s allegations through the State and Treasury departments, but he has engaged in criticism with various US officials.
The most recent confrontation occurs with Brian Nichols, undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department, who rejected Bukele’s allegations about the way the US Embassy has intervened in El Salvador.
“We condemn the false accusations of @nayibbukele against @POTUS Biden and other officials…. including Ambassador (Jean) Manes and current Charge d’Affaires Brendan O’Brien, ”Nichols noted. Manes is no longer an ambassador.
“These unjustified personal attacks seek to distract the Salvadoran people from the corruption in the Bukele Administration and they damage the relationship with the United States, “added Nichols, who added – however – that the United States continues to be a” friend “of the Salvadoran people.
The Salvadoran president responded to Nichols with two screenshots of conversations by former ambassador Manes about his request to lobby Neto Muyshondt, who was arrested for allegedly giving “hundreds of dollars” to gang members.
Former Ambassador Manes’ message states that “Neto” should be facing home arrest, but there is a problem with the GPS bracelets. President Bukele indicates that he has not received the judge’s order, in addition to acknowledging that there is a problem with the bracelets.
“That is impossible to fulfill, because the bracelets do not work,” he said.
Bukele has faced criticism from the Biden Administration for its attacks on the press – which even led to a recommendation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – as well as wanting absolute control of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.
Juan González, the White House’s main adviser for Latin America, told the Efe news agency last October that El Salvador’s path is similar to the one taken by Venezuela.
“We have seen that movie before, in places like Venezuela, where someone uses popularity to create an authoritarian system, and that has not served the Venezuelan people very well,” he said.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.