According to representatives of civil society organizations, the meeting held tonight is the first of several meetings that will be held within the framework of a dialogue process with the government.
Several civil society organizations met this afternoon in the presidential house with Salvadoran President Neb Bokel, in an unprecedented meeting since the beginning of the current government, which was characterized by a confrontational rhetoric towards all organizations of this kind that are not loyal to it. their way of governing.
About four and a half hours after the meeting, representatives of the organizations concerned gave a press conference in which they gave general details of what had been discussed with the President, focusing in particular on the “commitment” made by the President “not to persecute critical voices or journalists” who question the government’s actions, Jose Marinero, a representative of the DTJ Foundation, also confirmed that the meeting was promoted by the US Embassy in the country.
However, Jessica Estrada, Funde’s Transparency Area Director, stated that there are several issues that President Bukele did not give importance to, for example, the dismantling of CICIES and aspects such as the erosion of transparency in the current government. “There has been no response to specific cases (…) the Engel List issue has not been addressed,” said Wilson Sandoval, a corruption specialist at ALAC-Funde.
Similarly, Estrada emphasized that the meeting resulted in “preliminary agreements, not results,” and added that after the August recess there could be more meetings of this kind, in which other civil society organizations will participate.
In this sense, the representatives of the various entities emphasized that the expectation is that the president will abide by what was touched upon during the meeting, as attending the meeting was not an act of “naivety,” according to Marinero, who pointed out the various actions of the current government in stigmatizing and attacking the press and civil society. .
In this regard, Cristosal Director Noah Bullock added that Bukele accepted the level of responsibility he bears when expressing discourses of confrontation towards sectors that question him and the impact of these discourses on the population, something that can even create hostile conditions for journalists and other voices. “The president agreed to cut back on those speeches,” Bullock said.
For this reason, the president of Fusades, Claudia Omania, highlighted the importance of this first approach because, in her words, it means “the beginning of something”, meaning that he began to realize “that in El Salvador there are many different voices and different ideas”.
Before the end of the meeting, some of the participating organizations published a letter delivered to the president expressing their “deep concern” about the decisions taken by the government in various aspects, which undermined the separation of powers and the state. . of the law.
In this sense, the organizations mainly expressed their concern about the “dissolution” of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Office of the Prosecutor General on May 1, in an act that was seen as a slap in the face of the judiciary.
Some of the entities that participated are Democracy – Transparency – Foundation for Justice (DTJ), Cristosal, Foundation for Law Enforcement Studies (Fespad), Anti-Corruption Legal Advisory Center (ALAC) of the National Development Foundation (Funde), Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Fusades) and others , such as FundaUngo, UCA, Francisco Gavidia University and Ormusa.
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