{"code":"26212","sect":"Opinion","sect_slug":"opinion","hits":"1031","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202206\/opinion\/26212","link_edit":"","name":"Gang Extraditions Will Unify Washington against Bukele","slug":"gang-extraditions-will-unify-washington-against-bukele","info":"Voices in the Biden Administration are calling for the U.S. president to publicly confront Nayib Bukele over the non-extradition of MS-13 leaders. The damage to the Salvadoran president and those close to him could be deep and long-lasting.","mtag":"Politics","noun":{"html":"Ricardo Valencia","data":{"ricardo-valencia":{"sort":"","slug":"ricardo-valencia","path":"ricardo_valencia","name":"Ricardo Valencia","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"1031","pict":{"cms-image-000037511-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"37511","name":"cms-image-000037511.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037511.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037511.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037511-jpg","text":"<p><em>Ricardo Valencia is an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton. Find him on Twitter: <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ricardovalp\/\">@ricardovalp<\/a><\/em><\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cem\u003ERicardo Valencia is an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton. Find him on Twitter: \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ricardovalp\/\"\[email protected]\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037556-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37556","name":"cms-image-000037556.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037556.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037556.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037556-jpg","text":"<p>Mara Salvatrucha leaders Borromeo Henr\u00edquez (\"Diablo de Hollywood\") and Sa\u00fal \u00c1ngel Turcios (\"El 13\"), during a mass officiated by Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Pezzuto and Monsignor Fabio Colindres at Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on Mar. 26, 2012.\u00a0 Photo: El Faro Archive<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EMara Salvatrucha leaders Borromeo Henr\u00edquez (\"Diablo de Hollywood\") and Sa\u00fal \u00c1ngel Turcios (\"El 13\"), during a mass officiated by Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Pezzuto and Monsignor Fabio Colindres at Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on Mar. 26, 2012.\u00a0 Photo: El Faro Archive\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":37511,"date":{"live":"2022\/06\/06"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"06","data_post_dateLive_DD":"06","text":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Ciframe src=\"https:\/\/open.spotify.com\/embed\/episode\/30lKmtpixfF0xgVqEA3Pcy?utm_source=generator\" width=\"100%\" height=\"152\" frameborder=\"0\" style=\"border-radius: 12px;\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003E\u003C\/iframe\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cem\u003E\u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202206\/columnas\/26208\/Washington-se-prepara-para-pelear-con-Bukele-por-extradiciones-de-pandilleros.htm\"\u003ELeer en espa\u00f1ol\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENayib Bukele\u2019s presidency is playing out like a low-budget superhero cartoon developed in bureaucratic secrecy and clumsily broadcasted on television and social media. Washington\u2019s patience is up with the circus in which he publicly declares war against the same gangs with whom he \u2014represented by \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202112\/centroamerica\/25893\/Treasury-Dept-Salvadoran-Government-Pacted-with-MS-13.htm\"\u003Eofficials sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury\u003C\/a\u003E\u2014 negotiated a truce to reduce homicides. The \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202205\/el_salvador\/26177\/Collapsed-Government-Talks-with-MS-13-Sparked-Record-Homicides-in-El-Salvador-Audios-Reveal.htm\"\u003Eleaked audio\u003C\/a\u003E in which one of his negotiators professes more loyalty to the Mara Salvatrucha than to his cabinet, and admits to aiding the transnational escape of one of the leaders, shows that the government does a poor job of keeping its double life a secret.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s a tragedy disguised as an epic tale, in which a deified president combats gangs while also dealing with them under the table. Unlike its \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.swissinfo.ch\/spa\/guatemala-narcotr%C3%A1fico_guatemala-extradita-a-eeuu-a-narcotraficante-arrestado-en-agosto-de-2021\/47339118\"\u003EGuatemalan\u003C\/a\u003E and \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.laprensa.hn\/honduras\/corte-ratifica-extradicion-de-tokiro-rodas-ramirez-hacia-ee-uu-IE8413965\"\u003EHonduran\u003C\/a\u003E neighbors, the Salvadoran justice system has not heeded the U.S. extradition treaty. Bukele loyalists on the Supreme Court have protected the gang leaders by leaning on excuses ranging from \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/actualidad.rt.com\/actualidad\/415729-salvador-fiscal-supremo-tratado-extradicion-eeuu\"\u003Ereviewing the terms\u003C\/a\u003E of the century-old agreement to a supposed fear that a U.S. court will sentence them to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.laprensagrafica.com\/elsalvador\/Corte-retiene-extradicion-de-jefes-de-MS-13-pese-a-garantias-de-EUA-20211107-0065.html\"\u003Elife in prison\u003C\/a\u003E. These arguments reveal that the clamoring of Bukele-aligned legislators for the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/diario.elmundo.sv\/politica\/gallegos-firmara-hoy-propuesta-de-pena-de-muerte-en-el-salvador\"\u003Edeath penalty\u003C\/a\u003E is nothing more than yet another trick in the authoritarian circus.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBiden is now weighing options in a tougher extradition strategy. Sources close to the deliberations told me the White House is considering whether to publicly demand that El Salvador turn them over, and to intensely lobby Congress to do the same. One source says that the extradition requests galvanize both Republicans and Democrats. Bukele has refused, the source asserts, mainly because \u201che is scared\u201d that the gangs will find more to say about his government once in federal custody.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2001&ImageId=37556\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Mara Salvatrucha leaders Borromeo Henr\u00edquez (\"Diablo de Hollywood\") and Sa\u00fal \u00c1ngel Turcios (\"El 13\"), during a mass officiated by Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Pezzuto and Monsignor Fabio Colindres at Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on Mar. 26, 2012.\u00a0 Photo: El Faro Archive\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EMara Salvatrucha leaders Borromeo Henr\u00edquez (\"Diablo de Hollywood\") and Sa\u00fal \u00c1ngel Turcios (\"El 13\"), during a mass officiated by Apostolic Nuncio Luigi Pezzuto and Monsignor Fabio Colindres at Ciudad Barrios Prison in San Miguel on Mar. 26, 2012.\u00a0 Photo: El Faro Archive\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe gangs have drawn the attention of the entire U.S. government, from the Departments of State and Homeland Security to the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/world\/americas\/exclusive-us-preparing-indictments-against-salvadoran-officials-over-alleged-2021-12-10\/\"\u003EFBI\u003C\/a\u003E. When Secretary of State Antony Blinken \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elsalvador.com\/noticias\/nacional\/estados-unidos-el-salvador-extradite-pandilleros\/945375\/2022\/\"\u003Ecalled on Bukele\u003C\/a\u003E in April to extradite some of the MS-13 leaders, the Salvadoran president unwittingly \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1513659282566361102?s=20&t=Kas7bMNZAKXjq0idQoHraw\"\u003Eplayed into the U.S. hand\u003C\/a\u003E. Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill responded by \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elsalvador.com\/noticias\/nacional\/alexandra-hill-tinoco-canciller-responde-secretario-estados-unidos\/945869\/2022\/\"\u003Ecriticizing the U.S. stance\u003C\/a\u003E: \u201cFriends do not act that way.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt appears that the Biden Administration has labeled Bukele as a potential collaborator with the gangs and, judging by proposed bipartisan legislation, as an adversary who could use Bitcoin to strengthen them. Congress is now \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.foreign.senate.gov\/press\/ranking\/release\/risch-menendez-cassidy-introduce-legislation-to-mitigate-risks-of-el-salvadors-adoption-of-bitcoin\"\u003Eweighing versions of a bill\u003C\/a\u003E expected to address suspicions that the cryptocurrency could be used to launder money from terrorism and organized crime.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe next few weeks will be intense for the governments of the Northern Triangle, but especially for El Salvador. U.S. sources close to the extradition process have told me that the updating of the Engel List is in its final stage and includes the possibility of sanctioning Central American citizens with U.S. permanent residence. By late June or early July the State Department is expected to reveal the new names, adding to a list already including Bukele\u2019s \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202105\/el_salvador\/25489\/State-Department-Names-Bukele%E2%80%99s-Chief-of-Cabinet-in-List-of-Corrupt-Officials.htm\"\u003Echief of cabinet\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAnother source with knowledge of Biden's Central America strategy told me that Bukele's relationship with the gangs makes him an easy target. \u201cBukele is in an impossible position with the gangs,\" the source argues. \u201cOn the one hand, he cannot fight them because that would increase homicides, but at the same time, the delay in extraditions makes him look like an accomplice. He will be more vulnerable when the Justice Department comes for him.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EVoices in the Biden Administration are calling for the U.S. president to confront Bukele publicly. Last week\u2019s appointment of career diplomat Patrick Ventrell, who helped craft the Engel List, as interim Charg\u00e9 d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy shows that the next few days are crucial. The damage to the Salvadoran president and those close to him could be deep and long-lasting.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=3000&ImageId=37511\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Ricardo Valencia is an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton. Find him on Twitter: @ricardovalp\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ERicardo Valencia is an assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton. Find him on Twitter: @ricardovalp\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"}