Silva wins political asylum, still faces extradition to El Salvador

[This is a corrected version of my earlier blog post on this topic]

A story of corruption, drug-trafficking, bribery, international relations, murder and suicide is unfolding in El Salvador and the United States.

Carlos Roberto Silva Pereira was a fugitive from justice in El Salvador when he was arrested in southern California in October 2007. He had fled El Salvador where he faces corruption and money-laundering charges. Silva has been held by US authorities since that time and has not yet been extradited back to El Salvador. He has also allegedly been linked by Guatemalan authorities to the murder of three Salvadoran deputies to the Central American Parliament and their driver in February 2007.

A US immigration court has now apparently granted the political asyluym request of Silva who asserted that his prosecution in El Salvador was politically motivated. According to Inside Costa Rica:
Several Salvadorean sectors rejected on Friday the US [immigration court] decision to grant political asylum to former Deputy Roberto Carlos Silva, accused of money laundry and of killing three legislators of the Central American Parliament and their driver.

"Silva is not a politically persecuted person, but a criminal," said Acting Attorney General Astor Escalante, who recalled that the former legislator is facing here a trial for money laundry and bribing.

He is also wanted in Guatemala for his alleged involvement in the killing of Salvadorean legislators of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) Eduardo D' Aubisson, William Pichinte and Ramon Gonzalez, as well as driver Gerardo Ramirez.

..."As relatives and people, we lament this decision because he is not a politically persecuted person, but a criminal," said legislator Roberto D' Aubisson, the brother of one of the PARLACEN legislators killed in Guatemala.

The immigration court ruling is subject to appeal.

The extradition request from El Salvador, where El Salvador seeks to have Silva returned to face criminal charges, is a separate proceeding. A foreign country can seek to have extradited someone who is lawfully in the US -- immigration status is not determinative of an extradition decision. The proceedings to have Silva extradited to El Salvador to face the money-laundering and corruption charges are still ongoing.

In April of this year, I wrote about a tape-recording disclosed by the online publication El Faro which recorded Silva speaking with an ARENA party official, Adolfo Tórrez. On the tape, Torrez suggests that he can make the charges in El Salvador go away for $500,000. The leaking of the tape and an accompanying FBI memorandum seemed to have been done with the acquiescence of US officials. According to El Faro, the tape recording was a key piece of evidence in Silva's asylum claim and his attempt to show that the proceedings against him in El Salvador were illegitimate.

To add another twist to the story, Torrez died of a gunshot on June 2 of this year. The Attorney General's office ruled that the death was a suicide.

I have no idea what the true facts of this situation are. It seems clear, however, that there is much more going on than meets the eye.

[Thanks to Griselda for pointing out the story originally and some conflicting news reports]


Griselda said…
billmart said…
I'm a fan of your website and blog from which I receive your newsletter into my in-box email something of course I thank you a lot. I believe TIM that the main reason on which the U.S. is providing such political asylum to such crook is not really because the North American Embassy in El Salvador, neither the FBI, DEA, etc. don't really know the kind of criminal that individual is ... the reason behind every thing is that the guy know for sure that the right wing and/or the ARENA party in El Salvador are waiting for him, not really to subject him to any legal process to which it should be normal but, to silence him in the same way they did with Torrez after the scandal over the phone call between both former right wing politicians.
Actually, it's well known that such scandalous call between Torrez and Silva was a set up by the FBI to involve and expose the San Salvador ARENA Chief into the whole scheme of corruption and bribery which has been a normal way of do things for the right wing political party leadership during almost 20 years in power. The right wing leadership in the ARENA party know for sure that Silva has made a very good deal with the FBI and DEA in Los Angeles, to avoid being deported o extradited back to El Salvador, and part of that deal has been tons of information that this individual has to provide or has already provided to the FBI people during his capture and time in the hands of the US authorities. The level of involvement Silva, Torrez and many many members of the right wing and/or ARENA party have in the drug traffic business in El Salvador has been of the knowledge of the DEA, FBI, CIA, etc. for a long time, however, it has been a matter of protection, coverage and secret by the different ARENA governments in power during the almost twenty years - that explain also the extreme level of interest that ARENA has shown in the so questioned process of selection of the General Attorney during the last 3 months; if the next Gral. Atty. is part of the political left and FMLN party in executive power by now ... the storm of scandals and criminal charges coming for the right wing party for the next months and years could mean their own demise and fall - something the US authorities have known well but for some reason the conditions have not been right until now that the left is in power and in a very convenient position to not only cooperate with the US in their war against the drug traffic business but politically it would be the best shot the M. Funes and FMLN needs to politically bury for once and for good the opposition right wing party and their dirty permanent sabotage tactics toward the newly left wing elected party.
Let's pray that all that information sunnami Mr. Silva is about to or has already supplied is good enough not only for take down El Salvador drug lords in the corrupted right wing party, but to carry out without obstacles all the new government plans for the future of our poor country and the big majority of our poor population.

noe_aparicio said…
So what was the outcome of Roberto Silva, is he still in Custody??? I was in Custody with him and was just wondering if he ever got deported