Giuliani Presents El Salvador Security Proposal to Praise and Protest
On Monday, May 5, on the heels of one of the largest International Workers' Day marches in recent years, El Salvador’s social movement organizers reconvened their members outside a gathering of a different sort: the 15th annual National Private Sector Encounter (ENADE), an exclusive conference of the country’s economic elite along with their invited guest, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
The National Association of Private Enterprise (ANEP) had hired Giuliani, famed for his discriminatory and repressive “broken windows” policing strategy, as a $2 million public security consultant. The invitation came as a response to the ambitious and comprehensive public security strategy put forward by the President’s National Citizen Security and Coexistence Council—in which ANEP itself participates—which prioritizes violence prevention rather than the failed “iron fist” policies of past administrations.
Giuliani’s presentation was met with great fanfare by El Salvador’s conservative mass media, but public security officials voiced skepticism with regards to its novelty. “More than 98% of the proposals have already been applied in years past,” said Public Security Minister Benito Lara. Indeed, Giuliani’s priorities coincided greatly with those of the Security Council, including fighting impunity and corruption, improving technologies and promoting rehabilitation and reinsertion for offenders. Former president Mauricio Funes dismissed Giuliani’s visit as a media spectacle, tweeting that the former mayor “is like Madonna. He comes, he sings, he charges, and he leaves. And like Madonna, he charges millions.”
As well-dressed guests arrived for the ENADE at the upscale San Salvador Sheraton Hotel, representatives of the United Social Movement and Union Coordinating Committee (CUSS) rallied at the entrance. “How can it be that in a couple of days [Giuliani] already has a solution, if it hasn’t been resolved in his country? How can they come and try to offer a response to violence? To us, Giuliani is just another businessman,” said Wilfredo Berríos of the Salvadoran Social and Union Front. Margarita Posada of the National Healthcare Forum agreed, declaring: “The ENADE [participants] are here to provide a grand recipe to solve the country’s security problems, when in reality, they are the cause. They are the ones who generate impunity for the theft that they carried out under previous administrations.”