After four years in office, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has now announced decisive action against corruption. The conservative head of state announced in a speech in Parliament in San Salvador that a prison would be built specifically for those convicted. He went on to explain that the confiscation of assets from ex-President Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) had already begun. The former President of El Salvador has been accused of embezzling public funds and enriching himself during his reign. His assets of 10.6 million US dollars (almost 10 million euros) are to be confiscated, according to the Attorney General’s Office. According to media reports, 75-year-old Cristiani has been living abroad since 2021.
Bukele also announced that he would reduce the number of parliamentary seats and mayors. In recent years, the 41-year-old President has launched a merciless campaign against criminal gangs that have been terrorizing the population of the Central American country for decades. That’s why he declared a state of emergency over El Salvador more than a year ago. The president’s heavy hand has met with great approval from the population, even though he is increasingly transforming the democratic structures into an authoritarian regime.
United Nations is concerned
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has denounced the repeated extension of the state of emergency as very worrying. At least 68,000 people have been detained since the state of emergency came into force in March 2022, said the spokeswoman for the High Commissioner, Marta Hurtado, in Geneva.
At the same time, at least 153 detainees died in prisons, almost half of them died violently. Hurtado referred to a report by the non-governmental organization Cristosal that had recently been published.
The UN spokeswoman warned that the government should not wage its fight against criminal gangs at the expense of human rights and the rule of law. She called on the political leadership under Bukele to lift the state of emergency and have the deaths in the prisons investigated.
Hurtado also complained that human rights activists and journalists were repeatedly attacked in El Salvador.
se/mak (dpa, epd, rtr)