US diplomat in El Salvador critical of government in exit

Nov 22, 2021, 1:23 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The United States’ top diplomat in El Salvador announced Monday that she is leaving the post, adding that the government of President Nayib Bukele “is showing no interest” in improving the bilateral relationship.

The departure of Jean Manes, who was once seen as a potential bridge to better relations, appears to emphasize the deteriorating ties between the two countries as Bukele gathers increasing power.

Manes had previously served as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 2016 to 2019, but was asked to return in May as the interim chargé d’affaires at a time when critics expressed concern Bukele was showing authoritarian tendencies.

Manes told journalists Monday that she was returning to her position as civilian deputy commander at U.S. Southern Command. The El Salvador posting was only supposed to be three months and she had stayed for six.

“Why am I going to stay here if we don’t have a counterpart at this time?” Manes said. “When El Salvador wants to talk, our doors are always open.”

Manes had known Bukele when he was elected, so there had been hope she would serve as a line of communication in the weeks after voters gave Bukele’s New Ideas party control of the congress. The new lawmakers immediately replaced the justices of the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court and attorney general.

“They sent me as a bridge and the government has decided to not take it,” Manes said.

Bukele’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Initially, Manes said she had regular private meetings with Bukele. The sides were still talking when Bukele’s new attorney general announced the government was cancelling the Organization of American States anti-corruption mission Bukele had requested, access to public information was reduced and more than 200 judges and prosecutors were removed under new caps on age and years of service, Manes said.

The diplomat said that eventually pro-government media soon began attacking her and the U.S. government.

The U.S. responded to the consolidation of power by shifting funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development away from government agencies and to nongovernmental organizations. Bukele recently criticized the U.S. for giving some $300 million to such organizations, including some he says oppose his government.

Manes criticized Bukele’s government for not fulfilling an extradition agreement to send members of the MS-13 gang to the U.S. for trial.

In May and July, the U.S. government published lists of allegedly corrupt officials in Central America that included the name of Bukele’s Chief of Staff Carolina Recinos.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A person walks by a SoftBank shop on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Tokyo. Japanese technology company So...
Associated Press

Japan tech giant SoftBank posts $23 billion quarterly loss

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group posted a $23.4 billion loss in the April-June quarter as the value of its investments sank amid global worries about inflation and interest rates. SoftBank Group Corp.’s loss of 3.16 trillion yen was a reversal from its 762 billion yen profit in the same quarter a year […]
1 hour ago
Exterior damage from a fire is seen at the Mountain B pub in the Sattahip district of Chonburi prov...
Associated Press

Thai pub owner charged in connection with deadly blaze

BANGKOK (AP) — The owner of a music pub in eastern Thailand where a fire last week killed 15 people and injured more than three dozen others was brought to court Monday to hear criminal charges against him. Pongsiri Panprasong, owner of the Mountain B pub in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, about 160 kilometers […]
1 hour ago
Associated Press

Productivity, consumer prices, Cardinal Health earns

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: ECONOMIC BELLWETHER Economists project that U.S. worker productivity fell in the April-June period for the second consecutive quarter. The Labor Department is expected to report Tuesday that nonfarm labor productivity fell in the second quarter at an annual rate of […]
1 hour ago
Liudmila Samsonova, of Russia, poses with the trophy after she won the final at the Citi Open tenni...
Associated Press

Russian tennis players collect 3 titles at US Open tuneups

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was quite a week for Russia’s professional tennis players — four tournaments, three titles. One of them, Liudmila Samsonova, thinks it might not be merely a coincidence that this recent run of success for her, Daria Kasatkina and Daniil Medvedev comes shortly after they were banned from competing at Wimbledon because […]
1 day ago
Lyubov Mahlii, 76, pulls a crate of water bottles up the stairs to her fifth floor apartment after ...
Associated Press

As summer wanes, water crisis looms for east Ukrainian city

SLOVIANSK, Ukraine (AP) — The echo of artillery shells thundering in the distance mingles with the din of people gathered around Sloviansk’s public water pumps, piercing the uneasy quiet that smothers the nearly deserted streets of this eastern Ukrainian city. The members of Sloviansk’s dwindling population only emerge — a few minutes at a time […]
1 day ago
A Palestinian woman cleans her damaged house following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza...
Associated Press

Cease-fire between Israel and Gaza militants holds overnight

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A fragile cease-fire deal to end nearly three days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza held throughout the night and into Monday morning — a sign the latest round of violence may have abated. The flare-up was the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militant groups […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
US diplomat in El Salvador critical of government in exit