Social Movement Condemns Arbitrary Detention of Former FMLN Officials


On Thursday, July 22, National Civilian Police (PNC) officials illegally detained former cabinet members from the previous Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) administrations. Among those detained are Dr. Violeta Menjivar, former Minister of Health and first FMLN mayor of the capital city of San Salvador, and Erlinda Handal, former Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, and daughter of FMLN founder Schafik Handal.  Also detained Tuesday were former FMLN legislator and Vice-Minister of Labor,  Calixto Mejía, former Vice-Minister of agriculture, Hugo Flores, and former Treasury Minister, Carlos Cáceres.

Below is a translation of a statement issued by the Resistance and Popular Rebellion Bloc, a coalition of social movement organizations working to prevent the advance of authoritarianism in El Salvador.


In response to the arbitrary actions of the Attorney General of the Republic, the Resistance and Popular Rebellion Bloc declares the following:

  1. We express our solidarity with the people who were unjustly taken prisoner, without any judicial order, as well as with their families. We express our solidarity and support.
  2. No action by the self-proclaimed Attorney General of the Republic has legal validity given that his appointment was the result of illegal actions by legislators from the governing [Nuevas Ideas] party, who installed him without following constitutional procedures.
  3. The self-proclaimed Attorney General is an accomplice who covered up the torture of prisoners that was perpetrated by judicial bosses who now occupy leadership positions in the National Civilian Police (PNC), as public statements from the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDDH) demonstrate.
  4. Ten years have passed since the Constitutional Chambers of the Supreme Court declared illegal the presidential Reserve Fund. Therefore, the Attorney General is trying to exercise his power for a role that diverges from what is established by law. Furthermore, those captured are being accused of money laundering, which is obviously false, given that laundered money is the result of drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking, tax evasion and other illegal sources.
  5. The unconstitutional Attorney General and his ultimate boss, the president of the Republic, are not only violating the rights of the people who were captured but are also initiating a war against the political opposition in an attempt to repair their own image, which has been tainted by their own corruption and their inability to resolve the crises faced by the population.
  6. What is clear is the enormous corruption of the current government, which does not make public any information about how public funds are being spent and is currently impeding the Accounting Court from auditing one billion dollars from the 2020 budget. Evidence of public corruption in this government are constantly springing forth.
  7. These illegal actions demonstrate the weakness of a regime that resorts to violence and defamation in order to prop up its public image, which has been deteriorating due to the aggravation of problems for the population. In the last two years, unemployment and poverty have risen, health care is worsening, and violence against women is increasing, among many other social ills.
  8.  We demand the immediate release of the people who are being illegally detained, and we call on popular and progressive organizations to join forces to more strongly confront this repressive regime that is against the people.

¡Freedom for the political prisoners!
¡Resistance and popular rebellion against the regime!

San Salvador, July 22, 2021

[Translated by CISPES]


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