Bukele's rocky relationship with US
Ricardo Zúniga, the Biden administration's special envoy to Central America to address root causes of migration, arrived in El Salvador today. He arrives at a time in which president Nayib Bukele has been receiving criticism from different actors in the US government. On this trip Zúniga is visiting with officials from Guatemala and El Salvador and has talked to Honduran officials from Washington. The trip comes during a surge in the number of persons from Central America approaching the US southern border with hopes of crossing into the country, despite the insistence of the Biden administration that the border is closed. In addition to discussing root causes of migration, Zúniga has indicated that the Biden administration wants to fortify legal paths for migration from Central America.
Zúniga's visit to El Salvador is the first visit by a representative of the US government since Joe Biden assumed the presidency in January. In early February, Bukele traveled to Washington unannounced, but was not granted meetings with administration officials.
Bukele may also have been smarting after the US State Department's recent release of its annual country human rights reports. The report on El Salvador for 2020 highlights a litany of human rights abuses, and specifically calls out Bukele's use of the military, his refusal to follow certain court rulings, and his intrusion into the Salvadoran congress on February 9, 2020 with soldiers, along with persistent impunity for wrongdoers.
Esto es una gran vergüenza para los gobiernos de #Guatemala #Honduras #ElSalvador sus compatriotas merecen gobiernos que realmente están comprometidos a combatir la corrupción y el narco! https://t.co/kvbulArY7d— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) March 31, 2021
This is a great shame for the governments of #Guatemala #Honduras #ElSalvador your compatriots deserve governments that are truly committed to fighting corruption and drug trafficking! [and attaching video of human smugglers dropping young children over border fence].
Bukele shot off a tweet of his own:
Mire señora, ¿leyó que los niños son de ECUADOR y no de EL SALVADOR?— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) April 1, 2021
Además, esto ocurrió en la frontera de México con Estados Unidos.
¿Qué tiene que ver El Salvador en esto?
Debería de usar una parte del cheque de sus financistas para comprar anteojos. https://t.co/BGTKJAfFE6
Look ma'am, did you read that the children are from ECUADOR and not from EL SALVADOR? In addition, this occurred on the border of Mexico with the United States. What does El Salvador have to do with this? You should use a portion of your financial backers' check to buy glasses.
Pres.@nayibbukele—I'll make it clearer. This is a result of narcissistic dictators like you interested in being “cool” while people flee by the 1000s & die by the 100s.— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) April 2, 2021
Send me a pair of glasses so I may see the suffering of your people through your eyes.https://t.co/eBCahxNzmM pic.twitter.com/F4O173fYcZ
Followed by this from Bukele:
Espero que todos mis hermanos salvadoreños, mexicanos, hondureños, guatemaltecos, dominicanos, venezolanos y todos los latinoamericanos del Distrito 35 de California NO VOTEN por @NormaJTorres.— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) April 2, 2021
No trabaja para ustedes, sino para mantener a nuestros países en el subdesarrollo.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the US responded to Bukele’s attack as well:
I hope that all my brothers Salvadorans, Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Dominicans, Venezuelans and all Latin Americans from District 35 of California DO NOT VOTE for @NormaJTorres. She does not work for you, but to keep our countries underdeveloped.
Unfortunately, the recent string of personal attacks against Congresswoman Torres serves only to undermine her efforts and those of our caucus to build a relationship between the U.S. and El Salvador that benefits the people of both countries. These attacks are also indicative of what far too many women, and particularly female advocates, routinely experience when they challenge those in power. Further. it is wholly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in a U.S. congressional election. We will continue to boldly work to advance a vision for this hemisphere in which the values of democracy, human rights, civility, and mutual respect prevail.
On April 2, Torres issued a statement describing Bukele’s attack on her as a response to her efforts to address corruption in the Northern Triangle. She also
On April 2, Torres issued a statement describing Bukele’s attack on her as a response to her efforts to address corruption in the Northern Triangle. She alsogranted lengthy interviews to RevistaFactum and El Faro where she amplified her concerns about the president's past actions and US-El Salvador relations.