Mauricio Funes in Nicaragua

Ten years ago on June 1, 2009, Mauricio Funes took office as president of El Salvador to great hope and expectations.  He came into office as the first president elected from the left wing FMLN after decades of rule by conservative right wing parties.

How things have changed.   Funes now sits in exile in Nicaragua.   He is wanted in El Salvador for alleged diversion of as much as $300 million from secret accounts of the executive branch.  He is also wanted for leaking a confidential law enforcement memo related to the corruption of one of his predecessors, Francisco Flores. 

Funes, along with his mistress and three children received political asylum in Nicaragua in September 2016.  From Nicaragua, Funes tweets non-stop about politics in El Salvador.   It had not been clear that anyone was really paying him any attention.   Here is his Twitter profile:

Ex-president of El Salvador. 
Persecuted by the criminal justice aparatus. 
There is no evidence against me.
Dealing with a clear vendetta from the right

But apparently incoming president Nayib Bukele was paying attention.  When Funes criticized the credentials of Alexandra Hill, Bukele's pick for foreign minister, Bukele shot back with this tweet:

I imagine that when Funes criticizes the ample credentials
 of our Foreign Minister, it is because his son Diego Funes, who works in
the Nicaraguan foreign ministry, had to have been contracted
by pure meritocracy. 

And when Funes responded that his son knew more than Hill, Bukele tweeted:

47,000 cordobas per month, from a people with so many needs, to a fugitive
from justice, son of a fugitive from justice.

Yeah, sure, meritocracy they say.

Enjoy your whiskey Wicho, you only have 118 days left

Then a day later, it was disclosed that not only has Funes been granted political asylum by the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega, but that Funes is also on the Nicaraguan government payroll.    From the AP:
A fugitive former El Salvador president who received asylum from Nicaragua in 2016 said Monday that he has been working there as a paid adviser to the government of President Daniel Ortega. 
Mauricio Funes engaged in a Twitter exchange with Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who had reported that the ex-leader and his son, Diego Funes Cañas, are both receiving government payments.
As noted, Funes' place on the Nicaraguan government payroll was originally reported by Chamorro, who also wrote that Nicaraguan officials did not want to speak about the payments to Funes and that it is unknown exactly what Funes does for the Nicaraguan government.

Funes then tweeted out his response to the disclosures:

I am not a fugitive of justice.  I am persecuted by justice. 
And what is the problem of working in another country that offers me
 a consulting job as a result of my experience as President of the Republic? 
It would be worse if I was living off narco-trafficking or
corruption money like some others.... 

There was also this tweet from Bukele in April:

Besides, starting June 1 El Salvador will have
a President who knows how to drive Ferraris
without crashing them in traffic circles.
The tweet is a not so subtle reference to a crashed Ferrari found without a driver close to the presidential residence in San Salvador during Funes' time in office.   It was widely rumored that Funes had been the driver.

Bukele is promising that once he takes office, Funes will find himself sent back to El Salvador to face justice.  At the moment, that seems difficult to conceive.   Bukele has been denouncing Daniel Ortega as a dictator who does not have democratic legitimacy, and so Ortega does not have much incentive to help Bukele keep a promise.    We shall see.


Greg said…
We can be sure Sr. Ortega got a thick cut of the $300 million Funes stole - this for his "asylum" in the kleptocracy that is Nicaragua today.

Whether FMLN or FSLN, once a "freedom fighter" or "revolutionary" gains power and all that comes with it he or she becomes just another "rico".

Fidel and Raul Castro set the standard for selling out many years ago.

We can expect further "defections" of FMLN murderers, thieves, and liars to the Land of Ortega as the new government in El Salvador gains traction. Good riddance to bad rubbish.