In series of tweets, the Biden administration publicly criticized an ally, democratically elected El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.
U.S. Ambassador Brian Nichols tweeted: “We condemn @nayibbukele’s false accusations against @POTUS and other U.S. government officials, including Ambassador Manes and current Charge d’Affaires Brendan O’Brien.”
These unwarranted personal attacks attempt to distract the Salvadoran people from corruption in the Bukele administration and they damage El Salvador’s relationship with the U.S.
— Brian A. Nichols (@WHAAsstSecty) December 9, 2021
The public side of this row began on Dec. 1 when Amnesty International ran an article lambasting Bukele. According to the article, Bukele oppresses “independent journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, and anybody who dares criticize him or his administration’s policies.”
Further, the article claims Bukele labels dissenters and activists as “criminals” and alleges his COVID-19 policies link him to the death and suffering of his people.
As the Pluralist suggested in a opinion piece, the “ideological left” has a history of showing contempt toward Bukele. The Amnesty International report is exceptionally soft on facts and boils down their grievances against Bukele as the fact that he is pro-life and pro-open press, and “his party won a majority and has used that power to constitute their policies.”
The report also notes that Amnesty International provides “no actual examples” of human rights being violated, only that in Trumpian-style, Bukele criticizes media bias in reporting.
In response to the Amnesty report, Bukele defended himself on Twitter writing:
“U.S. taxpayers should know that their government is using their money to fund communist movements against a democratic elected (and with a 90% approval rating) government in El Salvador. It’s not working, though. The people of El Salvador won’t go back to that terrible past.”
US taxpayers should know that their government is using their money to fund communist movements against a democratic elected (and with a 90% approval rating) government in El Salvador.
It’s not working though 😂
The people of El Salvador won’t go back to that terrible past. pic.twitter.com/xPa3YA9xdO
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) December 12, 2021
RedState reports that after Bukele posted his tweet, U.S. Ambassador Nichols fired back at Bukele’s remarks, arguing that the accusations against the President and “other U.S. officials” were “false.”
Bukele responded to Nichols’ tweet by posting images of private text messages showing that the U.S. ambassador Jean Manes attempted to interfere in El Salvador’s internal affairs by requesting the release of Neto Muyshondt.
Muyshondt was arrested in June and is facing charges related to drug trafficking and wrongful use of government funds.
Bukele mentioned in a tweet that Muyshondt was “captured on video giving tens of thousands of U.S. dollars to gang members.”
Bukele then tweets, “Do you want me to continue?”
Is it false that Jean Manes asked me to release Neto Muyshondt (captured in video giving tens of thousands of US dollars to gang members)?
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) December 9, 2021
In October, the Boston Herald reported that the Biden administration promised to be the “most transparent administration in history.” Wanting to hold the administration to its promise, RedState questions: “Why is the United States concerning itself with a man accused of trafficking cocaine and who was caught on video paying off violent gang members?”
The Biden administration has not directly answered the question. However, Ambassador Nichols did tweet: “These unwarranted personal attacks attempt to distract the Salvadoran people from corruption in the Bukele administration and they damage El Salvador’s relationship with the U.S.”