Congress of El Salvador summons plenary to approve loan for security



The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador convened a plenary session on Monday night to discuss and possibly approve a loan for 109 million dollars to finance a security plan against gangs.

It was planned that the session will begin this day, but due to the lack of quorum, since only 28 deputies of the 43 who are needed attended, the president of the Legislative organ, Mario Ponce, summoned the parliamentarians for Monday at 12.00 local time (18.00 GMT).

"There is the will of the different parties to vote," Ponce said at a press conference.

The call to set up the session tonight came after a day of political tension and uncertainty, as President Nayib Bukele ordered parliamentarians to hold an extraordinary session on Sunday to approve said loan, which, for various sectors and analysts, represents a violation of the independence of each of the state organs.

The president of Congress met with the head of the Ministry of Finance, Nelson Fuentes, and the Presidential commissioner, Carolina Recinos, who assured reporters that "there is no governance crisis, no clash of state powers."

"Our president has a legitimate concern to change the situation of violence in El Salvador," said Recinos.

Bukele said, in a tweet published in the last hours, that "the call of the Council of Ministers remains in force and the attendance of the deputies is inescapable"

The Bukele Executive attributes to the Territorial Control Plan the killing of homicides since June 2019, the month in which said initiative was launched.

The objective of the plan is to remove territorial control of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), Barrio 18 and other minority gangs.

However, human rights defenders have criticized this plan for the implementation of the military force, in support of the Police, to reach the expected results.

Gangs, a phenomenon considered as a heritage of the civil war (1980-1992) and which was strengthened with the deportation of gang members from the United States, have resisted different security plans of mass incarceration, direct confrontation and dialogue of the last four governments .

ARMED FORCE AND POLICE TO THE PRESIDENT'S ORDERS

The head of the Ministry of Defense, René Merino, reiterated on Saturday night the support of the Armed Forces to the president and said that the military institution "will comply with the law, even at the cost of our lives."

"We are waiting for orders from our general commander and are willing to defend our homeland even at the cost of our lives," Merino said during a press conference.

For his part, the Minister of Security, Rogelio Rivas, said that the National Civil Police (PNC) "awaits instructions from the president before the refusal of the deputies to attend the constitutional call of the Council of Ministers."

CALL TO SALVADOREÑOS FOLLOWS ON FOOT

President Bukele called on citizens on Friday to appear on Sunday at 03.00 local time (21.00 GMT) to the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly to press and demand the approval of said loan, which has not been endorsed because members of the Commission of The Treasury, who study this loan, assures that the Executive has not explained in detail how the money will be executed.

The call is still valid and citizens are expected to arrive at the Congress headquarters.

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