New Ambassador Receives U.S. Blessing

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Foto: Presidencia de la República

Carmen Milena Mayorga de Monterrosa, a National Republican Alliance (ARENA) party legislator elected in 2018, has become the new diplomatic representative for El Salvador in the United States. Milena Mayorga has been known to hold conservative views, far from those of the social movements,  and in clear support of the armed forces and one of the characters directly tied with the El Mozote massacre (in the department of Morazan) during the Civil War- Colonel Domingo Monterrosa. On September 24, during a national address, President Nayib Bukele designated her as the new ambassador with the approval of US Ambassador Ronald Douglas Johnson, who assured that this appointment “will further facilitate” the cooperation between the two nations.

Currently, and since her appointment, Milena Mayorga has expressed being in favor of returning  migrants and TPS holders, insisting that many of them want to return to El Salvador. Her recent statements signal that during her time as ambassador, defending the human rights of Salvadoran migrants in the US will remain a low priority, and her policies will comply with the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies if he is re-elected.

The new ambassador was born in 1976 to parents who specialized in dentistry. At an early age, she began her career in modeling, developing her profession in that field. She studied communications and modeling in various national and international schools and worked in different televised programs.

Politically, she has been tied with the ARENA party, who ran her as a legislative candidate in 2018. During this period internal disagreements surged between dominant groups within the conservative party and she eventually formed part of a small group of politicians who expressed support for Nayib Bukele and which ultimately resulted in her exclusion from decision making spaces. 

In June of this year, as a result of public disagreements between supporters of Bukele in the ARENA party, she presented her letter of resignation citing “political violence on behalf of ARENA.” This resignation has prevented her from running as a candidate for the upcoming legislative elections and has also motivated her to maintain a closer relationship with the current administration's discourse of “independence” as well as other political stances.

Since her recent appointment, the new ambassador has failed to reject the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies, a significant change compared to the last two Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) governments, who consistently showed support for the human right to migrate. On September 28, the ambassador stated in a tweet that, “The government is preparing the country so that our brothers in the exterior can not only return to invest, but to have a good job, social security, and optimum health care, as well as public security. The United States is the one who has accompanied us in [implementing] these new ideas.”

In response to these announcements, the National TPS Alliance expressed, “These statements have generated dismay and confusion among the TPS community and we ask, in the most respectful way, for clarification. We don’t want our objectives to be in tension with the objectives of the government...Our biggest dream is to stay in the United States because that’s the best for our families, for our countries of origin and for our country of adoption.” On October 1, representatives of the Alliance met with the new ambassador who clarified that when she talked about the return of Salvadorans she did not “[mean] TPS beneficiaries” and that the Bukele administration will lobby to ensure that TPS recipients achieve permanent residency. 

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