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article imageEl Salvador president-elect to snub Ortega, Maduro

By AFP     Apr 9, 2019 in Politics

Incoming El Salvador president Nayib Bukele will not invite regional counterparts Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Honduras' Juan Orlando Hernandez to his June 1 inauguration, a top aide said Tuesday.

"They're not going to be invited. El Salvador, in the next government, will be part of a group of democratic countries that believe in elections, in states where the people have to elect their governments in a democratic way," said Federico Anliker, secretary general of Bukele's New Ideas party.

The Salvadoran president-elect has labeled both Ortega and Hernandez as dictators and said last week that both are in power by force and "at the cost of many lives."

His position marks a shift in the foreign policy of outgoing President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a leftist former guerrilla who maintains close relations with his Nicaraguan and Venezuelan counterparts.

Bukele, a conservative elected in February, said he would seek a closer relationship with the United States, home to 2.5 million Salvadorans.

"What's the difference between Hernandez and Ortega? One says he is from the right, the other from the left. But the reality is that both are in power by force, at a cost of many lives and without democratic legitimacy," Bukele wrote on Twitter.

Bukele has accused Ortega of being responsible for the crisis in Nicaragua, where a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests left at least 325 people dead, hundreds in jail and thousands of refugees, according to humanitarian agencies.

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