U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar today met with El Salvador's Foreign Minister, Hugo Martinez to discuss the crisis affecting rule of law and judicial independence in that country.
"My deep interest in El Salvador began decades ago. For this reason, I was very concerned with reports coming out of El Salvador regarding efforts to "stack the courts' in favor of the governing party," Lugar said. "In order to avoid any backsliding, or the complete derailment of the progress that has been made in El Salvador, this crisis must be resolved immediately," Lugar said.
In the meeting, Senator Lugar asked Minister Martinez to explain the grounds for which El Salvador's Legislature asked to have the Salvadoran Supreme Court's ruling overturned by the Central American Court of Justice in Managua, as well as what a resolution to the impasse, that adhered to the constitution, might look like. Minister Martinez answered extensively.
"I am concerned that if these differences are not resolved before the Central American Court of Justice issues its ruling on August 3rd, things could worsen" Lugar said. "The threat to the rule of law can be disastrous for developing countries seeking investment to create jobs. Responsible leaders in all branches of government must understand that when judicial independence is at risk, economic development is placed at risk as well.
"Though I am supportive of the efforts that political parties and the President have started in order to resolve the impasse, if a timely constitutional resolution is not reached, I am confident that Salvadoran officials are aware that eligibility to receive Millennial Challenge Corporation (MCC) funds is conditional. Support for El Salvador's MCC funding could erode in the U.S Congress, if there are doubts regarding El Salvador's commitment to the rule of law, transparent government, and independence of the branches of government, among other criteria."