{"code":"26192","sect":"Opinion","sect_slug":"opinion","hits":"765","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202205\/opinion\/26192","link_edit":"","name":"Bukele and Allies Have Blood on Their Hands","slug":"bukele-and-allies-have-blood-on-their-hands","info":"If the attorney general truly wants to pursue crime, he can start with public officials and gang members involved in Bukele's collapsed criminal pact with the gangs. Each of them has blood on their hands.","mtag":"Editorial","noun":{"html":"El Faro Editorial Board","data":{"el-faro-editorial-board":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-editorial-board","path":"el_faro_editorial_board","name":"El Faro Editorial Board","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"765","pict":{"cms-image-000037553-jpeg":{"feat":"1","sort":"37553","name":"cms-image-000037553.jpeg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037553.jpeg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037553.jpeg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037553-jpeg","text":"<p>Hundreds of people wait outside Mariona Prison for any trace of information about their family members arrested during the state of exception approved by the Legislative Assembly at the end of March 2022. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EHundreds of people wait outside Mariona Prison for any trace of information about their family members arrested during the state of exception approved by the Legislative Assembly at the end of March 2022. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":37553,"date":{"live":"2022\/05\/25"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"05","data_post_dateLive_DD":"25","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cem\u003E\u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202205\/columnas\/26188\/Bukele-y-sus-aliados-se-manchan-de-sangre.htm\"\u003ELeer en espa\u00f1ol\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe leaked phone conversations between senior Bukele administration official Carlos Marroqu\u00edn and a leader of the Mara Salvatrucha, \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202205\/el_salvador\/26177\/Collapsed-Government-Talks-with-MS-13-Sparked-Record-Homicides-in-El-Salvador-Audios-Reveal.htm\"\u003Epublished by El Faro\u003C\/a\u003E, shed new light on the depths of the deal that the administration of President Nayib Bukele cut in secret with the gangs, and on their collapse. He played Russian roulette with the criminal organizations: He pacted with them, set their leaders free, and later broke the agreement. Others paid the price. Eighty-seven people, most of them with no relation to the gangs, were \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26100\/Is-Bukele\"\u003Eassassinated in a single weekend\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis whole time, while the president, his ministers, party legislators, and unofficial mouthpieces accused civil society organizations, human rights advocates, and journalists of \u201cdefending gangs,\u201d the administration maintained its agreement with the criminal structures. As Marroqu\u00edn confessed in the conversations, they even freed gang leaders with ongoing criminal sentences in El Salvador and \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26078\/Is-El-Salvador-Protecting-MS-13-from-Extradition.htm\"\u003Efacing U.S. extradition requests\u003C\/a\u003E. Marroqu\u00edn personally admitted to freeing \u00c9lmer Canales Rivera, alias \u201cCrook de Hollywood,\u201d and transporting him to Guatemala.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe MS-13 members captured in March, in an operation that marked the end of the pact with Bukele, were traveling in a government vehicle and with a government chauffeur.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis new investigation confirms that Marroqu\u00edn \u2014Bukele\u2019s negotiator with the gangs \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202007\/el_salvador\/24612\/Nueva-informaci%C3%B3n-de-la-reuni%C3%B3n-entre-Mario-Dur%C3%A1n-y-Renuente-de-la-MS-13.htm\"\u003Edating back to 2015\u003C\/a\u003E, during the president\u2019s term as mayor of San Salvador\u2014 informed Bukele, under the pseudonym of \u201cBatman,\u201d of all developments in negotiations with the Mara Salvatrucha-13. It\u2019s hard to imagine that a man like Bukele, who demands unquestioning loyalty, did not sign off on each and every step of the failed negotiations.\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=2004&ImageId=37553\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Hundreds of people wait outside Mariona Prison for any trace of information about their family members arrested during the state of exception approved by the Legislative Assembly at the end of March 2022. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\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\"\u003EHundreds of people wait outside Mariona Prison for any trace of information about their family members arrested during the state of exception approved by the Legislative Assembly at the end of March 2022. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\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\"\u003EThe consequences of his macabre game have yet to fully play out. Pushed by the failure of his security plan, which was nothing more than a criminal pact, Bukele \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202204\/el_salvador\/26144\/Will-the-State-of-Exception-Be-the-New-Normal.htm\"\u003Edecreed a state of exception\u003C\/a\u003E and ordered mass detentions. \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202205\/el_salvador\/26163\/At-Least-Five-In-Custody-Deaths-following-Mass-Arrests-in-El-Salvador.htm\"\u003EMore than 30 thousand people\u003C\/a\u003E have been detained in almost two months. Are they gang members and criminals? Many of them are, if judging by information provided by the police and prosecutors. But many others are not. Human rights organizations have denounced the detention of innocent people as well as torture. There are political prisoners, among them trade unionists and critics of the government, such as a local radio host who denounced on-air the arbitrary detention of his sister. Reports of government abuse multiply every day, and a dozen people have died in police custody. More deaths to attribute to Bukele.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf, before, low homicide figures provided a veneer of efficiency in public security, now Bukele needs arrest numbers, at any cost, to show off his iron fist. There are obvious similarities between these two phases: absence of the rule of law and customary lying, as the base of a criminal president's political strategy; impunity for officials in his administration; and the wielding of the entire state apparatus in favor of a group in power rather than the public. It\u2019s precisely for these reasons that he needed to prevent anyone from exposing the criminal pact.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn lockstep with the approval of the state of exception, the Legislative Assembly passed a \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202204\/el_salvador\/26120\/Gag-Order-for-Journalism-on-Gangs.htm\"\u003Egag order to criminalize publishing information\u003C\/a\u003E related to gangs. The censorship was legalized just after that pact fell apart and the country mourned 87 dead in the worst killing of the 21st century in El Salvador.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe law warns against the publication of messages or symbols of gang members causing \u201cuneasiness\u201d in the population, an ambiguity sufficient for any judge controlled by the administration to decide what is publishable and what should merit prison time of up to 15 years.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAs our investigation of the leaked audio shows, Salvadoran authorities have gone behind the backs of the public to benefit criminal structures. The expos\u00e9 also explains the assassination of 87 people. The revelations are of public interest, the very substance of journalism. The constitution protects citizens\u2019 right to be informed.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf the attorney general truly wants to pursue crime, he can start with public officials and gang members involved in Bukele's collapsed criminal pact with the gangs. Each of them has blood on their hands. Under rule of law, they would be the ones to face investigation and prosecution. But there is no point in expecting that outcome from a system totally controlled by the president, the figurehead of that criminal pact.\u003C\/p\u003E"}