Official Government Copy of Peace Accords Found in Home of Ex-President

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The Salvadoran government’s official copy of the country’s 1992 Peace Accords, which brought a negotiated close to a brutal 12-year civil war, has been located in the home of former President Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party. Administration officials say the appropriation of the historic artifact constitutes a violation of El Salvador’s constitution and is potentially also a criminal act punishable by up to three years in prison.

On Friday, October 3, El Salvador’s Public Information Access Institute held a hearing with a citizen who had requested access to the executive’s copy of the Peace Accords, only to be told that the executive office could not locate it. That same day, the administration traced the document to Cristiani’s home by way of 2008 newspaper publication in which the former president was photographed proudly displaying the original document. The government says it will attempt to recoup the document through dialogue before seeking judicial action against Cristiani.

“This is yet another case that demonstrates that in the past, those who governed have seriously confused the public interest and their private interests. Beginning with the process of open change in 2009, the society has started to question the behaviors that for many years were accepted as valid. This confusion is the root of corruption,” said Marcos Rodríguez, the Secretary of Citizen Participation, Transparency and Anti-Corruption. A host of former ARENA administration officials have been implicated in corruption cases in recent years, including former President Francisco Flores (1999-2004), who currently faces charges of misappropriating over $10 million in public funds donated for earthquake victims.

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