The U.S. State Department (DoS) on Wednesday appointed Jean Manes as Chargé d’Affairs ad Interim to El Salvador, following almost four months without a designated ambassador to this Central American nation.
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The DoS said Manes' experience would serve to improve negotiations to tackle irregular migration to the U.S., an issue that has become a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's political agenda with central American countries.
From 2015 until 2019, she served as ambassador to El Salvador, where she had replaced Ronald Johnson, who was appointed by former the Trump administration (2017-2021).
"Now more than ever, we need principled leadership at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador; upholding the values of democracy and the rule of law. Manes is the right person for the job," U.S. Congressman Albio Sires said.
Manes' appointment comes amid diplomatic tensions with El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele, who has been accused of concentrating all state powers after winning a majority in Parliament and removing six top officials of the judicial branch, including the Attorney-general.
In connection with this, the U.S Agency for International Cooperation (USAID) cut funds to some Salvadorean state institutions, claiming that they had been taken over by Bukele's New Ideas party and denaturalized.
"An independent judiciary is critical to a healthy democracy and a strong economy," U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris commented.