| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Salvadoran attorney general ends anti-corruption accord with OAS

El Salvador’s Attorney General announced on Friday that he was withdrawing from an anti-corruption agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) in protest of the OAS’ decision to appoint an  opposition leader under investigation as an adviser.
The declaration was the latest in string of anti-corruption initiatives in Central America that have alarmed the US government, which is striving to persuade regional leaders to step up efforts to combat corruption.

On Thursday, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said that Ernesto Muyshondt, mayor of San Salvador between 2018 and 2021, is to become an adviser to his office, without giving details.

Muyshondt, a member of El Salvador’s right-wing ARENA party, and a vocal critic of President Nayib Bukele, is under investigation by prosecutors over accusations that he made a deal that benefited gangs in exchange for votes in the 2014 presidential elections.

Muyshondt has denied the allegations. Later on Friday, during a hearing attended by Muyshondt, a judge ordered him to be put under house arrest over the case, said Ulises Marinero, spokesperson for El Salvador’s judicial authorities.

Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado responded bluntly to news of Muyshondt’s OAS role, saying that El Salvador did not want support from an organization “now being advised by a criminal.”

“That’s enough of these hypocritical offers,” Delgado told a news conference.

The International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES) was created under Bukele through agreement with the OAS in September 2019. The attorney general’s office joined the initiative that December.

Delgado said he would submit written notification of the agreement’s termination within a month to the foreign ministry.

The decision was met with disappointment by the US embassy in El Salvador.

“The struggle against corruption is both necessary and crucial. We’ll keep looking for new ways to eliminate and battle corruption and impunity “On its Twitter account, it stated. CICIES received a $2 million donation from Washington in April.

Officials in the United States believe that corruption, along with poverty and gang violence, is one of the main reasons of unauthorized immigration, and they want to ensure that the $4 billion in aid committed for the region does not fall victim to graft.

However, several Central American governments have criticized the Biden administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

El Salvador’s OAS office declined to respond.

  • Reuters