CISPES Statement on New US Ambassador to El Salvador
On March 29, the new US Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Elizabeth Manes, arrived in San Salvador. She replaces outgoing US Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte, also an Obama appointee whose time at the Embassy has been characterized by meddling in internal Salvadoran politics and forcing the Salvadoran government to approve new pro-corporate laws by threatening to cut development aid to the country.
Following up on criteria for a new US ambassador that CISPES developed with Salvadoran social movement allies in 2009, and given outgoing Ambassador Aponte’s relentless interventionism and several red flags raised by the new ambassador’s professional trajectory, CISPES calls on incoming Ambassador Manes to break from the past, and:
- Conduct diplomatic work with full transparency and honesty; build respectful relationships with all sectors of Salvadoran society and all political parties, rather than maintaining the Embassy´s historical focus on relationships with the business elite and their political allies.
- Respect the self-determination and autonomy of the Salvadoran people by not intervening in sovereign decision-making processes; abandon the practice of using development aid or other forms of cooperation to impose domestic laws and policy decisions.
- Respect El Salvador’s sovereign institutions by demonstrating political neutrality at all times and refraining from involvement in any internal disputes that may arise between political parties, branches of government and the private sector.
- Leave behind the US legacy of promoting militarization and repression; instead, support community-based efforts to address the structural causes of violence through social programs and prevention work.
- Promote and defend the human rights of Salvadorans living in the U.S. and migrants in transit and abandon the neoliberal economic and security models promoted by the US that displace them; halt US efforts to militarize Central American borders, which only create greater threats to an already vulnerable population.