In the most recent CIDGallup survey, the percentage of the population that thinks that the biggest problem in their nation is corruption was measured. Among the first three places are Guatemala, with 42%; Panama, with 40%, and Peru, with 38%. Among the least corrupt are Costa Rica, with 15%; the Dominican Republic, with 10%; and El Salvador, with 7%.
The government of President Nayib Bukele has been characterized by its transparency and by its willingness to turn to immediate resolution of the needs of the population. The current results, which have led El Salvador to be considered the least corrupt country in Latin America, are consistent with the magnificent management of the government.
Among other things to consider are the blows to corruption and the justice delivered by the current administration.
El Salvador has made great strides in combating corruption and white-collar crime. An example of this is when a court decided that the former leaders of ARENA involved in the diversion of $10 million donated by Taiwan for the victims of the 2001 earthquakes to the accounts of the Tricolor party should return that money.
Thus, former president Antonio Saca, who was serving as president of ARENA at the time and was the presidential candidate, must return $6 million, while Juan Wright, father of current deputy Johnny Wright, from Nuestro Tiempo, and Gerardo Balzaretti, strong men of the party, will have to pay $2 million each.
ARENA appropriated the funds donated by then President Francisco Flores, who diverted them to party bank accounts to finance Saca’s presidential campaign. Part of that money was destined to buy houses for the families that lost everything in Las Colinas, Santa Tecla. However, the international aid never arrived because corrupt politicians intercepted it and used it for personal gain.
Another example was when the Legislative Assembly initiated, at the request of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), the pretrial process against Norman Quijano, a former ARENA presidential candidate who negotiated votes with gang members. Quijano had been protected by his co-religionist in the Prosecutor’s Office Raúl Melara, who curiously began a process against the former mayor of the capital the same day he fled the country to Honduras, just as his immunity for being a deputy ended.
ARENA, in an attempt to protect his ward, nominated Quijano to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) to maintain his immunity. There were a few months between the election and the inauguration, so Quijano settled in Honduras. Now that Quijano has already taken office, the FGR has requested to initiate the removal of immunity, as dictated by the Constitution of the Republic and included in the Parlacen Consultative Treaty.
However, ARENA no longer has the power to protect its premium criminals. One is already in jail and the other must answer for having made commitments to criminal structures dedicated to bringing mourning and pain to Salvadoran families. Quijano, seeking refuge in Honduras, does the same as Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the former presidents of the FMLN who naturalized Nicaraguans in express processes to evade justice.
The Salvadoran people are beginning to see that justice is no longer a merchandise of factual groups, but now seeks to comply with all citizens. It is a historical debt that is beginning to be paid off.