Salvadorans in the Exterior Demand Attorney General Act with Impartiality
On September 26, organizations and individuals representing the Salvadoran community living abroad sent an open letter to El Salvador's Attorney General in which they raised concerns about his commitment to fighting corruption in the country, questioning his inaction on 152 pending corruption cases associated with previous right-wing administrations and his failure to seriously investigate tax evasion by big businesses. They also expressed their wariness of the Attorney General's highly visible relationship with US Ambassador Jean Manes given the involvement of US embassies in destabilization efforts against leftist and progressive governments throughout Latin America.
Below, we have included an English translation of the letter. To read the original Spanish-language version, click here.
Open letter to Attorney General Douglas Meléndez from INSE
To the Honorable Attorney General:
The diaspora organized in the National Salvadoran Initiative in the Exterior (INSE) and made up of individual members and local organizations residing in different cities in the United States and other countries, has always worked to achieve a better El Salvador free of violence and with social justice.
As INSE we are concerned by the grave political situation occurring in our country. You, Honorable Attorney General, said that you would work for the people and would pursue justice in cases of corruption. Why then have you not thoroughly investigated the 152 cases of corruption denounced by the administration of ex-President Mauricio Funes? Why have you not investigated the previous ex-presidents? Why have you not investigated cases that have not yet reached their statute of limitations like the case of Mrs. Ana Vilma de Escobar? Why are you not accelerating the case of ex-President Francisco Flores and those implicated in the Taiwanese funds whose primary and confessed recipient was the ARENA party?
Important functionaries from different ARENA administrations are involved in the reported cases, including ex-Ministers of Public Works Jorge Nieto, of Health Guillermo Maza Brizuela, and of Economy Miguel Lacayo and ex-directors of the Hydroelectric Commission of the Río Lempa (CEL), headed by its ex-president Guillermo Sol Bang who was also treasurer of the aforementioned party.
Because these already documented cases seem to be ignored by you while you are merciless in the media with the case of ex-President Funes, a case in which we demand not that it isn’t carried out, but rather that it be carried forward with the goal of carrying out justice and demonstrating that Salvadoran institutions have truly improved in quality.
Multiple reported cases of tax evasion and circumvention are in your hands and you are not proceeding with them, even though you know very well that [tax] evasion and circumvention by big businesses represent hard blows to the public finances of the administration of President Sánchez Cerén, which has been brought to a financial crisis by the obstinate and oppositionist electoral conduct of the ARENA party and the actions of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice through their resolutions.
While it may be true that we were encouraged by the Rais-Martínez case, this case seems condemned to failure because the respective prosecutorial documentation was not presented as it should have been and because of the inconsistencies in the Judicial System in the country.
We hope these inconsistencies were not premeditated and that they don’t become a modus operandi that results in more injustice.
We are particularly concerned by your much-talked-about relationship with the new Ambassador of the United States in El Salvador, Mrs. Jean Elizabeth Manes, because of the role that United States embassies have played throughout history in Latin America and in particular because of recent events that have been a product of their [the US’s] SOFT COUP strategy that has already been carried out in Honduras, Paraguay, and most recently in Brazil, with which they intend to oust progressive and leftist governments throughout the continent. You must not play a role in that direction.
Remember that the person who pays the musician gets to choose the song and that the support offered and promoted by other diplomatic representatives with interventionist traditions will, most likely, not come without a cost.
We recognize the efforts made by you and the entire Attorney General’s Office in coordination with the national police and the armed forces to combat gang violence and organized crime, but we believe that you are still indebted to us and all Salvadoran people. Therefore, we demand that you fulfill the function entrusted in you by the Constitution: to defend the Salvadoran State and its society, promote justice with equity, and go after crime with impartiality. We will remain vigilant of your relationship with those diplomats of known characteristics.
Esther Chávez – New Jersey
José Artiga – Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation
Francisco Pacheco – National Coordinator of RENASE, Maryland
Carlos Martínez – Salvadoran Civic Association – Nebraska
Aracely Moreno – Maryland
José Cartagena - San Francisco, CA
Mario Franco - Casa Rutilio Grande, Maryland
Arístides Arévalo - Casa Rutilio Grande, Maryland
Lorena Pereira - Iglesia Bautista, Washington DC
Francisco Pereira - Iglesia Bautista, Washington DC
Francisco Deraz - Houston Texas
Ana Miranda - San Francisco, CA
Teodoro Aguiluz - Centro de Recursos para Centro Americanos (CRECEN) Houston, Texas
Nelson Zaragoza – RENASE
Virginia Elio Martínez -Los Ángeles, CA
Edwin Laínez – Dallas, Texas
Edwin Cruz – Colectivo Artístico Torogoz, New York
Alexander Anaya - Asociación la Voz de Salvadoreños en España, Madrid
Alma Flores - Madrid España AVSALES
Carmen Anaya - Madrid España AVSALES
Zonia Liseth Andrade - Madrid España AVSALES
Violeta Jiménez - Madrid España AVSALES
Alicia Pacas - Madrid España AVSALES
Ernesto Vides – Richardson, Texas
Gladys Coca – Irvin, Texas
José Luis Soto – Miami, Florida
Omar Enríquez – New York
Víctor Guevara – Plano, Texas
Juan Francisco Roque – Maryland
Rosa Contreras – San Francisco, CA
Jesús Oseguera – Connecticut
Jorge Artiga – New Jersey
Nicolás Avelar – Houston, Texas
Ana Marina Vaquerano – Chelsea, Massachusetts
Víctor Zavala – Washington DC
Natalia Navas – Queen, New York
Mirna Medina – RENASE, Berkeley, San Francisco, East Bay, CA
José Mejía – RENASE, Berkeley, San Francisco, East Bay, CA
Doris de la O – RENASE, Berkeley, San Francisco, East Bay, CA
Mario Hércules – Asociación 1 de Abril, Los Ángeles CA
Evelyn González – Silver Spring, Maryland
Rafael Alfaro – Maryland
Nubia López – Comité Cívico Salvadoreño, New York
José David Hernández –Irving, Texas
Carlos Humberto Urbina – Houston, Texas
Sandra Medrano – Houston, Texas.
Nelson Martínez – Houston, Texas
José González – Woodbridge, Virginia
Maribel Fuentes – Rockville, Maryland