{"code":"25429","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"718","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202104\/el_salvador\/25429","link_edit":"","name":"Venezuelan Opposition Figure Served as Bukele\u2019s Anti-Corruption Advisor","slug":"venezuelan-opposition-figure-served-as-bukele-rsquo-s-anti-corruption-advisor","info":"A Venezuelan opposition lawyer tasked by Juan Guaid\u00f3 with tracking down wealth that fled the country during the Ch\u00e1vez regime worked for El Salvador\u2019s Casa Presidencial for over a year as an anti-corruption commissioner. According to multiple sources consulted by El Faro, the advisor eventually quit his position with the Bukele administration over disagreements concerning the direction of the government.","mtag":"Transparency","noun":{"html":"\u003Cspan class='tint-text--dark' data_href='\/user\/profile\/jalvarado'\u003E Jimmy Alvarado\u003C\/span\u003E","data":{"jimmy-alvarado":{"sort":"jalvarado","slug":"jimmy-alvarado","path":"jimmy_alvarado","name":"Jimmy Alvarado","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"718","pict":{"cms-image-000035735-png":{"feat":"0","sort":"35735","name":"cms-image-000035735.png","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035735.png","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035735.png","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035735-png","text":"<p>In February 2020, the Carlos III University in Madrid announced that \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s presidential anti-corruption commissioner\u201d would lead a seminar on \u201cinstruments for combating corruption.\u201d Photo courtesy of Carlos III University.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EIn February 2020, the Carlos III University in Madrid announced that \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s presidential anti-corruption commissioner\u201d would lead a seminar on \u201cinstruments for combating corruption.\u201d Photo courtesy of Carlos III University.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035736-png":{"feat":"0","sort":"35736","name":"cms-image-000035736.png","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035736.png","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035736.png","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035736-png","text":"<p>In the Framework Agreement that created the CICIES, the Salvadoran government appointed Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez as a liaison to the OAS, tasked with helping to establish the commission.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EIn the Framework Agreement that created the CICIES, the Salvadoran government appointed Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez as a liaison to the OAS, tasked with helping to establish the commission.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035737-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"35737","name":"cms-image-000035737.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035737.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035737.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035737-jpg","text":"<p>At a meeting in March, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez and Ochaeta discussed joint training and development projects with magistrates from the Court of Accounts. Photo courtesy CCR.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EAt a meeting in March, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez and Ochaeta discussed joint training and development projects with magistrates from the Court of Accounts. Photo courtesy CCR.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035738-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"35738","name":"cms-image-000035738.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035738.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035738.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035738-jpg","text":"<p>In early April, the Salvadoran government announced the creation of a committee to ensure transparency in the use of public funds designated for mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Guti\u00e9rrez was a member of the committee until he resigned in May, 2020.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EIn early April, the Salvadoran government announced the creation of a committee to ensure transparency in the use of public funds designated for mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Guti\u00e9rrez was a member of the committee until he resigned in May, 2020.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000035739-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"35739","name":"cms-image-000035739.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035739.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000035739.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000035739-jpg","text":"<p>En marzo de 2020, Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez y Ronald Ochaeta participaron en una reuni\u00f3n con magistrados de la Corte de Cuentas para discutir iniciativas de colaboraci\u00f3n con la Cic\u00edes. Foto, CCR.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EEn marzo de 2020, Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez y Ronald Ochaeta participaron en una reuni\u00f3n con magistrados de la Corte de Cuentas para discutir iniciativas de colaboraci\u00f3n con la Cic\u00edes. Foto, CCR.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":35739,"date":{"live":"2021\/04\/22"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"04","data_post_dateLive_DD":"22","text":"\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-b45c219c-7fff-18cd-4cab-649c8a45e29d\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEl Salvador\u2019s Casa Presidencial appointed an anti-corruption advisor who worked for approximately one year as a liaison between the Bukele administration and government oversight agencies such as the Court of Accounts (CCR) and the International Commission Against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES). The advisor, Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez, was part of a group of Venezuelan opposition activists working on behalf of the Bukele government and El Salvador\u2019s ruling party, Nuevas Ideas.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENeither Guti\u00e9rrez\u2019s appointment, his departure, nor the outcome of his work have been made public, despite the fact that hiring Guti\u00e9rrez is the closest Bukele has come to fulfilling his promise of appointing an anti-corruption commissioner from the opposition. The only \u201copposition\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez has been involved in, though, is the Velezuelan one, and the Bukele administration has treated his presence in El Salvador as a government secret.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn March 31, Guti\u00e9rrez confirmed to El Faro via a message on Linkedin that he had worked for the Salvadoran government, providing \u201cconsulting on anti-corruption and anti-impunity policy for the Casa Presidencial.\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez said that among his various functions was \u201cissuing multiple recommendations on issues of transparency and the implementation of international anti-corruption agreements.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn April 8, Guti\u00e9rrez wrote another message clarifying his relationship with the Salvadoran government, in a statement that contradicts the way he has been presented at international events. \u201cI was never [El Salvador\u2019s] presidential anti-corruption commissioner,\u201d he wrote. \u201cThere was no such designation. I am also the legal representative for President Guaid\u00f3 and his family in cases involving international human rights bodies.\u201d The clarification was prompted by the fact that on February 17, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez conducted a seminar at Carlos III University in Madrid, entitled \u201cSeminar on International Instruments to Combat Corruption.\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/portal.uc3m.es\/portal\/page\/portal\/instituto_derechos_humanos\/eventos_actividades\/seminarios_cursos_jornadas_en_el_idhbc\/seminario-instrumentos-contra-corrupcion-17-2-20\"\u003EA public announcement for the event published on the university\u2019s website\u003C\/a\u003E presented Guti\u00e9rrez as \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner.\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez admits that he worked with the Bukele government on anti-corruption and transparency issues, and that he participated in the creation of the CICIES, but he shuns the term \u201ccommissioner.\u201d\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=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=35739\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"En marzo de 2020, Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez y Ronald Ochaeta participaron en una reuni\u00f3n con magistrados de la Corte de Cuentas para discutir iniciativas de colaboraci\u00f3n con la Cic\u00edes. Foto, CCR.\" \/\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\"\u003EEn marzo de 2020, Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez y Ronald Ochaeta participaron en una reuni\u00f3n con magistrados de la Corte de Cuentas para discutir iniciativas de colaboraci\u00f3n con la Cic\u00edes. Foto, CCR.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E Guti\u00e9rrez says the way his position with the Salvadoran government was presented in Madrid was a mistake: \u201cIt was an error in the announcement of the presentation, and by that time I was also no longer working as a consultant for the Venezuelan chapter of Transparency International. Neither inaccuracy is the fault of Carlos III University.\u201d On April 9, in response to questions regarding the way Guti\u00e9rrez\u2019s position was presented in Madrid, the university said that he had been invited as an expert lawyer: \u201cCommon practice is that when inviting a person from outside the university, a r\u00e9sum\u00e9 or curriculum vitae is requested. I expect Dr. Guti\u00e9rrez would have included any such reference on his CV or r\u00e9sum\u00e9.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn the Court of Accounts, among civil society, and at the CICIES, Guti\u00e9rrez was known as a consultant charged with the duties of an anti-corruption commissioner, according to officials from each of these institutions who spoke with El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOne of Nayib Bukele\u2019s key campaign promises was to appoint a commissioner tasked with fighting corruption and impunity. \u201cWe\u2019re going to create a CICIES and I will appoint an anti-corruption and anti-impunity commissioner from the opposition,\u201d Bukele said on January 13, 2019 during a presentation for the launch of his campaign platform, \u201cPlan Cuscatl\u00e1n.\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez would help Bukele realize both of these promises.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn September 6, 2019, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Office of the President announced the official launch of the CICIES as well as the creation of the special unit within the National Civil Police (PNC), tasked with combating corruption. \u201cThe CICIES shall establish relationships with Executive Branch agencies such as the National Civil Police, which will house a new Special Anti-Corruption Unit, which will be linked to the CICIES,\u201d the OAS statement reads.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cI participated in the efforts to create both the CICIES and an anti-corruption investigative division within the National Civil Police, without intervening in their operations,\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez said. \u201cFor ethical and legal reasons, of which you are aware, I cannot provide more information.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESources consulted by El Faro maintain that Guti\u00e9rrez\u2019s departure took place between March and April 2020, after the Salvadoran Army\u2019s \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202102\/columnas\/25238\/Bukele-Learned-Nothing-from-February-9-2020.htm\"\u003Eoccupation of the Legislative Assembly on February 9\u003C\/a\u003E, and one month after the Executive would make its first multi-million dollar purchases under the special budget created to address the pandemic-related purchases plagued by \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202011\/el_salvador\/24995\/668--de-las-compras-de-insumos-m%C3%A9dicos-bajo-investigaci%C3%B3n-por-negociaciones-il%C3%ADcitas.htm\"\u003Eirregularities\u003C\/a\u003E that began to come to light in July. An individual who worked with Guti\u00e9rrez and spoke with him on several occasions claims that in May of 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez had decided to quit his position as consultant over \u201cdisagreements concerning the direction of the government.\u201d Guti\u00e9rrez did not respond to El Faro\u2019s April 8 inquiry into whether the disagreements with the Bukele administration had to do with the lack of transparency in the management of Covid-19 funds, despite the fact that El Faro\u2019s question was part of an ongoing, back-and-forth text message exchange with Guti\u00e9rrez.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGuti\u00e9rrez was part of a group of Venezuelans with close ties to the Bukele administration. El Faro consulted several sources with various connections to the government, who maintain that there are two groups of Venezuelan advisors working for Bukele: one political, one technical. The political group is led by \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202103\/el_salvador\/25356\/Former-Juan-Guaid%F3-Strategist-Manages-Campaigns-for-Nayib-Bukele.htm\"\u003ELester Toledo\u003C\/a\u003E and Sarah Hanna\u2014members of the Venezuelan opposition party Voluntad Popular who work closely with El Salvador\u2019s ruling party, Nuevas Ideas, and who have been advising the Bukele brothers since Nayib Bukele\u2019s presidential campaign. The second is a group of technical experts who serve as advisors to the cabinet, and who were appointed at the recommendation of Sarah Hanna.\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=863&ImageHeight=572&ImageId=35735\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"In February 2020, the Carlos III University in Madrid announced that \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s presidential anti-corruption commissioner\u201d would lead a seminar on \u201cinstruments for combating corruption.\u201d Photo courtesy of Carlos III University.\" \/\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\"\u003EIn February 2020, the Carlos III University in Madrid announced that \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s presidential anti-corruption commissioner\u201d would lead a seminar on \u201cinstruments for combating corruption.\u201d Photo courtesy of Carlos III University.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn February 2020, the Carlos III University in Madrid announced that \u201cEl Salvador\u2019s presidential anti-corruption commissioner\u201d would lead a seminar on \u201cinstruments for combating corruption.\u201d Photo courtesy of Carlos III University.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EThe Anonymous Advisor\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBetween June 1, 2019 and the next May, Guti\u00e9rrez had an office in the Casa Presidencial and an official Salvadoran government email account. Among civil society organizations and within the CICIES and the CCR, Guti\u00e9rrez was known as the president\u2019s anti-corruption advisor, though never personally presented himself as such.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe first photographs of Guti\u00e9rrez participating in an official government activity are from December 19, 2019, when Guti\u00e9rrez and Casa Presidencial legal counsel Jos\u00e9 \u00c1ngel P\u00e9rez participated in a meeting with CICIES commissioner Ronalth Ochaeta. \u201cWe are continuing to work with the Casa Presidencial in establishing the CICIES and other instruments necessary for efficient cooperation in El Salvador,\u201d reads an OAS\/CICIES statement published on Twitter.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGuti\u00e9rrez has worked closely with Ochaeta since the signing of the CICIES Framework Agreement on November 26, 2019. In this agreement between the government of El Salvador and the OAS, both parties committed to delegating a team to coordinate the creation of the CICIES.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe OAS appointed Luis Porto as Strategic Advisor, Francisco Guerrero as Secretary for the Strengthening of Democracy, and Ronalth Ochaeta as CICIES Commissioner. The government appointed Alexandra Hill as Foreign Minister, Conan Castro as Legal Secretary, and Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez as \u201cadvisor to the Office of the President.\u201d\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=594&ImageHeight=561&ImageId=35736\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"In the Framework Agreement that created the CICIES, the Salvadoran government appointed Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez as a liaison to the OAS, tasked with helping to establish the commission.\" \/\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\"\u003EIn the Framework Agreement that created the CICIES, the Salvadoran government appointed Juan Carlos Guti\u00e9rrez as a liaison to the OAS, tasked with helping to establish the commission.\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn March 6, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez participated in a meeting between Ochaeta and Court of Accounts magistrates Carmen Elena Rivas, Roberto Anzora, and Carmen Mart\u00ednez. The purpose of the meeting, according to the CICIES, was \u201cto establish joint cooperation in the fight against corruption.\u201d Ochaeta introduced Guti\u00e9rrez to the group as \u201cthe anti-corruption advisor to the Casa Presidencial.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn March 26, El Faro asked Anzora what the Venezuelan\u2019s role was, but at the time of publication had yet to receive a response. A source from the CCR familiar with the details of the meeting would only say that this was the first time Guti\u00e9rrez visited the court\u2019s offices, and that he had been told that the Venzuelan was working with Ochaeta. The CCR\u2019s website described the purpose of Ochaeta and Guti\u00e9rrez\u2019s visit as a meeting to present \u201cthe commission\u2019s strategic vision\u201d and \u201cprojects to improve government auditing, transparency, and anti-corruption efforts,\u201d and to discuss details of an agreement for \u201ctechnical cooperation and joint training and development.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt the beginning of 2020, a leader of a civil society organization, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of government reprisal, told El Faro that he had been in communication with Guti\u00e9rrez, who \u201cpresented himself as the person in charge of transparency and anti-corruption issues for the Executive.\u201d The source said that CICIES personnel had explained to him that those were the roles Guti\u00e9rrez performed for the Casa Presidencial.\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=6000&ImageHeight=4000&ImageId=35737\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"At a meeting in March, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez and Ochaeta discussed joint training and development projects with magistrates from the Court of Accounts. Photo courtesy CCR.\" \/\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\"\u003EAt a meeting in March, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez and Ochaeta discussed joint training and development projects with magistrates from the Court of Accounts. Photo courtesy CCR.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn April 1, 2020, Guti\u00e9rrez was also present at another meeting, at the International Fairs and Convention Center (CIFCO), with the \u201cCovid-19 funding oversight team.\u201d Also present at the meeting were: Salvadoran Minister of Public Works, Romeo Herrera; then-director of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS), Rosa Delmy Ca\u00f1as Zacar\u00edas; Minister of Health, Francisco Alab\u00ed; and then-president of the CCR, Carmen Elena Rivas. Commissioner Ochaeta facilitated the meeting.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt was during the weeks surrounding this April 1 meeting that Guti\u00e9rrez left his position with the Casa Presidencial over disagreements concerning the handling of the pandemic, according to El Faro\u2019s sources.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBetween March 27 and April 31, 2020, the Salvadoran Ministry of Health used $31 million from the special pandemic response budget to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment. $20 million of these purchases are \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202011\/el_salvador\/24995\/668--de-las-compras-de-insumos-m%C3%A9dicos-bajo-investigaci%C3%B3n-por-negociaciones-il%C3%ADcitas.htm\"\u003Ecurrently under investigation for corruption\u003C\/a\u003E by the Office of the Attorney General.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAudits of the resource management practices at the Ministries of Tourism, Public Works, the Economy, and Agriculture, underwent review by the Court of Accounts for irregularities: overpriced purchases, services paid without justification, purchases made from unqualified or inexperienced companies, or companies linked to public officials.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGuti\u00e9rrez maintains close ties with conservative circles in Venezuela and Spain. He served as the defense attorney for Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo L\u00f3pez, exiled in Madrid since October, 2020. On March 22, 2019, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.expansion.com\/economia\/2019\/03\/22\/5c93fc9f468aeb944d8b45c2.html\"\u003Ethe Spanish news outlet Expansi\u00f3n reported that Juan Guaid\u00f3 had named Guti\u00e9rrez as his legal representative\u003C\/a\u003E so that, on behalf of the interim government, Guti\u00e9rrez could coordinate with Spanish law firm Cremadas, Calvo & Sotelo\u2014\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.cremadescalvosotelo.com\/abogados\/juan-carlos-gutierrez\"\u003Ewhere he is also a partner\u003C\/a\u003E\u2014to track down wealth that left Venezuela during the administrations of Hugo Ch\u00e1vez and Nicolas Maduro, and to recuperate Venezuelan assets from the European Union.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGuti\u00e9rrez is not the only Venezuelan opposition figure with close ties to Leopoldo L\u00f3pez and Juan Guaid\u00f3, and who also has contacts at the highest levels of the Salvadoran government and at the OAS. The \u201csenior campaign manager\u201d for Nuevas Ideas, \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202103\/el_salvador\/25356\/Former-Juan-Guaid%C3%B3-Strategist-Manages-Campaigns-for-Nayib-Bukele.htm\"\u003ELester Toledo\u003C\/a\u003E, has publicly declared that he is friends with Luis Almargo and that he \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/LesterToledoVP\/posts\/1679598118838962\/\"\u003Eforged his political career alongside David Smolansky\u003C\/a\u003E, an opposition leader with Voluntad Popular. In Venezuela, Smolansky served as mayor of El Hatillo and was promoted by Almargo to serve as OAS commissioner for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. In February, 2019, Toledo, Smolansky, and Amargo were in C\u00facuta, on the Colombia-Venezuela border, supporting Guaid\u00f3 at the Venezuela Aid Live benefit concert.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EIn July, 2020, Almargo downplayed criticism of Bukele\u2019s military occupation of El Salvador\u2019s Legislative Assembly. \u201cWe shouldn\u2019t invent dictatorships where there aren\u2019t any,\u201d he said. He then went on to criticize those who would suggest using the Democratic Charter of the OAS to address government abuses in the context of the pandemic: \u201cThere are certain voices that are perpetually hysterical about this, but frankly we just don\u2019t share their view.\u201d\u003Cbr \/\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E*Translated by Max Granger\u003C\/p\u003E"}