China’s New Friends in Central AmericA EL SALVADOR- TELE HAITI


Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele speaks during a deployment ceremony in Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador, Dec. 15, 2021.


Impoverished, underdeveloped El Salvador signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract in March with the Washington law firm Arnold & Porter. The K Street lobbyists were supposed to provide to the country “strategic advice and outreach in support of relations with the United States and multilateral institutions.” Former State Department official Tom Shannon is one of the registered foreign agents on the account.

Almost 10 months later, even the skilled Mr. Shannon hasn’t been able to shine the tarnished image of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele inside the Beltway. The trouble is that while the former American diplomat has been breaking a sweat for the cause on the D.C. lunch and cocktail circuit, Mr. Bukele has been courting China and playing footsie with transnational criminal organizations.

On Dec. 8 the U.S. Treasury announced that it has uncovered “covert negotiations” between the Bukele government and criminal networks engaged in “drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, racketeering, blackmail, extortion, and immigration offenses.”

Treasury said Mr. Bukele’s government paid “financial incentives” to the criminals to hold down “gang violence and the number of confirmed homicides.” The press release said “gang leadership also agreed to provide political support” to the pro-Bukele “Nuevas Ideas political party” in elections. Nice client.



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