El Salvador President Nayib Boukele declined to meet with a visiting senior U.S. diplomat this week about what he sees as a pattern of contention from Democrats and parties. Biden’s administration followed two aides of the Central American leaders.
Bukele’s decision not to meet Biden’s executive ambassador Ricardo Zuniga to a country known as Central America’s Northern Triangle follows a snub he allegedly received from U.S. officials during a trip to Washington without it. February notice
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It also comes just days after Bukele̵7;s government awarded a $ 1.2 million lobbying contract to the former state department’s top career diplomat in a bid to improve ties with the new American president.
Zuniga traveled to El Salvador on Wednesday after talks in Guatemala focused on immigration amid child immigration at the U.S. border. On arrival, he announced a $ 2 million donation to an international commission seeking to strengthen the fight against corruption, which Biden officials viewed as one of the root causes of illegal immigration.
U.S. officials told local reporters in the San Salvador capital that Zuniga hoped to see Bucele before returning to Washington on Thursday.
But Bukele has told aides he will not meet with any Biden agent until the United States softly criticizes, raising doubts about his commitment to democracy and the rule of law, according to the two of them. Anonymity due to diplomatic sensitivity.
In particular, the two said Bukele was outraged by State Department spokesman Ned Price’s comments on Monday that the United States looked forward to Bukele to restore “the strong division of power which they have been eroded and shown to be intentional.” The government’s confidence in transparency and accountability “
President Salvadoran News Agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Price’s comments follow a spat between Bucele and one of his most fierce U.S. critics, Representative Norma Torres, a Democrat who co-chaired the congress. Central America in Congress
In a series of tweets last week, Torres accused Bukele of behaving like “A narcissistic dictator”, ignorant of the plight of immigrants in Central America, who has taken a huge risk to reach the United States.
She attached a widely published 2019 photograph showing the figure of an El Salvador immigrant and his daughter lying dead lifeless in the Rio Grande, Texas border.
“Send me a pair of glasses so that I can see your people’s suffering through your eyes,” said Torres, who came to the United States as a child from Guatemala.
Bukele pointed out that he was not in office at the time of the deaths that occurred earlier in the Central American immigration under the Trump administration. He urged Salvadorans and other immigrants living in Torres’ southern California area to vote for her to leave her office.
“She doesn’t work for you. But so our country is underdeveloped, ”he wrote.
For all of his fights, Boukele, 39, is the most popular politician in Central America, a region riddled with corruption and crime. His new party of ideas wiped out a landslide legal election last month and Bucele, which instilled in the image of hip pragmatists, has sought to capitalize on China’s growing influence in the region. To support new foreign investment
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But he has struggled to get closer to the Biden administration, which is trying to lift Trump’s stiff immigration policy limiting asylum requests, which Bukele acknowledged in exchange for strong U.S. support for the governing scheme. His difficult
With U.S. policies pending review last month, El Salvador has hired former Secretary of Political Affairs Tom Shannon to engage with several critics of Bukele, according to foreign lobby memos released by the U.S. Justice Department this week.
The $ 1.2 million one-year contract with Arnold & Porter, signed by Bukele’s office on March 25, is intended to strengthen El Salvador’s ties with the United States and multilateral institutions, while the country is reportedly negotiating aid from the United States. International Monetary Fund 1.3 billion dollars.
“President Boukeley is the most successful, politically stable and most important leader in Central America,” Shannon said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday. “It gives the United States and El Salvador a very strong and positive working relationship, I hope I can help build those relationships.”
Shannon, who served as acting secretary of state for two weeks before Rex Tillerson took office at the start of the Trump administration, left the State Department in 2018 after a professional career. This includes a long time working in Latin America. He was close with Sunika from their time together in Brazil when Shannon from 2010 to 2013 was a US ambassador and Sunika served as a political advisor.
Shannon, recognized by both Democrats and Republicans, has led Arnold & Porter as lobby clients, including the governments of Argentina and Ecuador.
The law firm was also hired by the Honduran government in 2019 in what federal prosecutors said was an attempt to push forward a drug trafficking investigation by President Juan Orlando’s brother Hernan. Dez Shannon had no role in that contract, and it was intended to provide Honduran legal advice on financing international markets. But shortly after the deal was signed, Honduras lawyers contacted New York prosecutors to warn. The potential “collateral implications” for their case regarding US-country relations, according to a recent court filing.
El Salvador’s hiring of Shannon comes ahead of the latest line with Washington.
Two Salvadoran aides said they believed Shannon could build support in Washington, highlighting the lasting relationship between the two countries. Most importantly among them is that more than 3 million El Salvadorans reside in the United States, many of them fleeing during the 1980s-funded civil war and those who send money home, a key driver. Of the El Salvadoran economy
The contract with Arnold & Porter was first reported Wednesday by Foreign Lobby Report, an online publication that tracks the influence industry in Washington.
Bukele took office in 2019 as an independent pledge to rescue El Salvador from deep entities left behind by uncontrolled gang violence and systemic corruption in both the right-wing and governmental governments. Lefties after the end of the bloody Civil War in 1992.
But growing Democrats and some Republicans have criticized him for strong tactics such as sending troops to surround Congress last year to pressure lawmakers to vote for funding. Gang fight
Relations with Biden’s administration started quickly when U.S. officials refused to meet him when he traveled to Washington without notification in February, according to three people familiar with the decision.
Bukele vehemently denied that he was seeking a meeting with Agent Biden, during which he identified it as a private visit, which would only happen if reported by the AP.
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Bukele has had fun lobbying since last fall, signing more than $ 2.8 million in contracts with four lobbyists, including now Arnold & Porter.
But he allowed one of those $ 450,000 lobbying contracts with Sonoran Policy Group to expire on Feb. 14. International lobby records were also shown.Sonoran was run by Robert Stryk, who created a very successful lobbying company. One of the most prominently in President Trump’s time, it represents Washington-faced or famous clients, such as the governments of Venezuela and Somalia, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.