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Senators Menendez, Leahy on Ousting of El Salvador’s Top Judges and Attorney General

WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following statement regarding the situation in El Salvador after President Nayib Bukele and members of his party in the Legislative Assembly used this weekend’s legislative session to abruptly dismiss five magistrates from the country’s constitutional court as well as remove Attorney General Raul Melara:

“This is a deeply concerning autocratic ambush in clear violation of the spirit of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the fundamental principle of respect for the separation of powers. With the United States seeking to strengthen its diplomatic approach to address the violence, poverty, and other factors driving forced migration from the Northern Triangle, it is imperative that we work to uphold democratic governance and avoid greater instability. Having a fully independent judiciary is indispensable to that effort.

“We urge our fellow legislators in El Salvador to immediately reverse this anti-democratic power grab and avoid any weakening of our bilateral relations at this consequential moment for the region.   Additionally, we urge the Biden administration to engage with the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions and make it clear that United States support for funding to the Bukele government should be contingent on respect for democracy, judicial independence, and the rule of law in the country.”