Pompeo praises El Salvador for ‘leading the way’

Two men shaking hands and looking toward camera (© Salvador Melendez/AP Images)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, with El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele in San Salvador on July 21 (© Salvador Melendez/AP Images)

The United States and El Salvador have reaffirmed their commitment to create prosperity and security for both countries.

“El Salvador and its new leadership has made a clear choice to fight corruption, promote justice, and partner with the United States, and together both of our peoples will reap these benefits,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said July 21 at a press briefing in San Salvador with El Salvador’s newly elected president, Nayib Bukele.

The two leaders discussed joint efforts to fight the root causes of illegal migration from El Salvador to the United States: gang violence, poverty, crime and corruption.

Bukele said the “new administration of El Salvador is willing to work 100 percent with the United States” in fighting the gangs and narcotics traffickers, and to create the right conditions to build a better economy for the people of El Salvador “so that people don’t have to migrate, so that people have a decent job, security, and … will prefer to stay at their home with their families in their land.”

“This is a country that can be a model on immigration,” Pompeo said.

Reducing crime, creating jobs

Pompeo said the seizure on June 17 of a vessel carrying 7,600 kilograms of cocaine in El Salvador demonstrated the two countries’ progress in working together to combat crime.

On the economic front, Pompeo praised El Salvador for “leading the way” and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

As part of the largest foreign investment in El Salvador’s history, the United States has committed more than $350 million to help build a liquefied natural gas facility and power plant in El Salvador. “It’s a vote of confidence in your potential,” Pompeo said to Bukele.