Monday, November 29

Ortega gives Nicaraguan nationality to Sánchez Cerén, former president of El Salvador accused of corruption | International

Former President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, in an image from February 2019.
Former President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, in an image from February 2019.RODRIGO SURA / EFE

The Daniel Ortega regime has granted this Friday Nicaraguan nationality to Salvador Sánchez Cerén, former president of El Salvador, after he left his country after being accused of illicit enrichment, embezzlement and money laundering. Cerén is part of an investigation by the Salvadoran justice, controlled by President Nayib Bukele, which includes 10 former officials and members of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the left-wing party with which Bukele entered politics in the Central American country. All were part of the government of former President Mauricio Funes – who has also received protection in Nicaragua – and are accused of receiving bonuses from millionaire secret funds that were handled in a discretionary manner by the Funes Executive.

The Savior

Along with Cerén, several former ministers have been pointed out, including the head of the Funes government, Carlos Cáceres, who was arrested on July 22 in the middle of a raid in which four other important former officials were also captured. Several of the detainees have denounced through relatives and lawyers that the processes were irregular. For example, a relative of the former Health Minister, Violeta Menjívar, assured the digital newspaper El Faro that she was detained when she was leaving her home and without being presented with a judicial arrest warrant or the charges being read to her. “They only told him that it was a routine procedure,” Mario González, Menjívar’s lawyer, told that newspaper.

Opposition voices and organizations critical of the Bukele government have demanded that the rights of the accused be respected and the independence of the judicial system, which has been controlled by the president since May 1, when the Legislative Assembly (Parliament) dominated by the deputies of Bukele’s political movement, New Ideas, dismissed the attorney general and the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Salvadoran Court.

“Justice, not revenge”

The process against Sánchez Cerén and the others involved is led by the prosecutor Rodolfo Delgado, considered a loyalist of Bukele. The Jesuit Central American University (UCA) published a day after the arrests an editorial critic entitled “Justice, not revenge”, in which he asks the Government to respect due process. “If the charges against them are true [a los acusados], which must be proven as appropriate, that is, by making facts and legality take precedence over effectism and the desire to show, the accused must answer for their actions before the courts. Because that is precisely what the country needs: justice, an independent justice and with all the legal guarantees. It does not need arbitrariness, but rather the rule of law. It needs peace and democracy, not confrontation and dictatorship ”, the university authorities stated in the text.

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Sánchez Cerén – for whom an international arrest warrant has been presented – is accused of having received $ 530,000 while he served as Funes’ vice president. To the latter, the Salvadoran justice has indicated that he diverted 351 million dollars of public funds, within the secret item that the Executive managed in a discretionary manner. “A mechanism used to hide the real remuneration that ministers, vice ministers and some heads of decentralized and autonomous institutions receive with funds from the secret item of the Presidential House, a cash supplement for which they did not pay income tax”, has explained El Faro, which revealed this corrupt plot eight years ago.

Bukele, a president who governs under orders from Twitter, has been belligerent in allegations of corruption against his former former party colleagues. El Faro affirms that under the label of #LaVerdaderaLista the president and his acolytes have launched a propaganda strategy to focus the attention of Salvadorans on former officials accused of corruption and divert it from other problems that affect his Administration, an action that also denounces the UCA.

“In our country power is being used to persecute opponents and satisfy desires for revenge, whether they are their own or because it is thought that a good part of the population claims the disgrace of those who are outside the ruling party. This past thursday [22 de julio], in a new step in his daily effort to consolidate his narrative of the scourge of the corrupt (although under its shadow people of more than questionable history and ethics operate), and probably to divert attention from topics such as the Engel List and the next use of bitcoin, the president, through his prosecutor, arrested and exhibited former FMLN officials, accusing them of money laundering, ”the university states in its editorial.

The UCA refers to a list published by the United States Department of State in which it includes officials, deputies and personalities close to Bukele, indicated by Washington of being involved in cases of corruption or of participating in the weakening of Salvadoran democracy , which seems to be one of the objectives of the president, who last year broke into the Legislative Assembly, surrounded by police and military officers, sat in the chair of the parliamentary president and ordered the start of a session, protected, he said , by a divine right.

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