US cuts aid to El Salvador after judges dismissed

The US said it would cut off aid to several authorities in El Salvador after the country’s new government dismissed constitutional judges.

Funding will no longer go to El Salvador’s Parliament, the constitutional chamber of its Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office, the police and the Institute for Access to Public Information, dpa news agency quoted USAID as saying in a statement on Friday.

Instead it will be redirected to human rights organizations and civil society groups, USAID said.

The total amount of the budget was not mentioned.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele criticized the move on Twitter.

“It is good that they are financed from abroad because they will not get a cent from the Salvadoran people. Each invests in their own priority,” he wrote in Spanish.

He later added in English that if any Salvadoran at the US border was asked the reason why they fled their country, 99.9 per cent would say “lack of a job” or “insecurity”.

“It’s very revealing that USAID chose to stop funding… Security. Is the real plan to create more immigration?” Bukele asked.

In their first session on May 1, El Salvador’s newly elected parliament dismissed all five constitutional judges from the Supreme Court and the Attorney General.

The decision was welcomed by right-wing populist Bukele, who had clashed with the constitutional judges after they overturned several of his decrees to contain the pandemic.

The opposition accused him of trying to bring the judiciary under the government’s control.