Bipartisan Leaders of House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Express Deep Concern With El Salvador’s “Foreign Agents” Law
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Mark Green (R-TN), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration and International Economic Policy, issued the following joint statement:
“We urge the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly to reconsider its proposed ‘foreign agents’ law and avoid undermining the operations of independent non-governmental organizations in El Salvador. The draft law would give limitless discretion to the executive branch to shut down independent organizations under a guise of protecting “public order.” It would also impact independent journalism while imposing crushing tax penalties on charity groups and faith-based organizations working to help the most vulnerable Salvadorans.
“Despite the Salvadoran government’s claims, this legislation bears no resemblance to the United States’ Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), but it is very similar to laws ratified by authoritarian regimes in Nicaragua and Venezuela which accelerated the transitions from democracy to dictatorship in both countries. The German embassy in San Salvador’s recent decision to temporarily suspend its foreign aid decisions for El Salvador due to this proposed law reflects growing concern amongst El Salvador’s longstanding partners.
“The peoples of the United States and El Salvador share deep and enduring bonds that transcend politics. We encourage the Salvadoran government to return to a policy of advancing our countries’ shared economic and security interests, including by ceasing its obstruction of justice in the cases of known criminals whose extraditions to the United States have been delayed by Salvadoran authorities for months.”