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News > El Salvador

El Salvador: Parliament Orders Dismissal of Police Chief Arriaza

  • The military seized Parliament, San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 9, 2020.

    The military seized Parliament, San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 9, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @jmkarg

Published 18 December 2020

He is related to the outrages committed by security forces military that stormed the Parliament's premises to pressure for the approval of a multilateral loan.

El Salvador's Parliament on Thursday requested the resignation of Defense Minister Francis Merino and approved the dismissal of the National Police Director Mauricio Arriaza for his implication in the military takeover of the Parliament's facilities in February.


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Arriaza was accused of human rights violations committed by the Police, which pressured Salvadoran lawmakers to approve a US$109 million loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). 

After resigning from his position on Dec. 9, Arriaza lost his immunity from criminal charges. Later, the Attorney General Office (FGR) formally accused him of "failing to comply with his duties" when he disobeyed an order mandating Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya to appear before Parliament. 

If Arriaza is found guilty, he could face a sentence of four to six years in prison and disqualification for exercising public posts. 

The meme reads, "El Salvador's President cannot pass a security law to receive U.S. funds because he does not control Congress. What does he do? Occupy Congress with the military, threatening its dissolution, and seize the homes of a dozen of opposition lawmakers. Dismal."

Arriaza's dismissal as police chief has put further strain on President Nayib Bukele's disputes with lawmakers, who stressed that if Bukele opposes the order, he will incur the crime of "disobedience".

On Feb. 9, political tensions grew high when a group of military and police units stormed the Parliament's premises to convoke an extraordinary session to approve BCIE's controversial loan destined to security plan against gangs.

Noting corruption scandals against some members of Bukele's Cabinet, the Parliament's Treasury Commission assured that the Executive did not explain in detail how the money would be used for.

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