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Former Latin American leaders condemn ‘breakdown in the rule of law’ in El Salvador

Some 20 former presidents of Spain and Latin America, including Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox from Mexico, and Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana from Colombia, condemned on Thursday “the breakdown of the rule of law and judicial independence in El Salvador.”

The declaration comes after El Salvador’s new Legislative Assembly voted Saturday to dismiss top Supreme Court judges who opposed populist President Nayib Bukele.

The justices of the Supreme Court’s constitutional chamber were dismissed for issuing “arbitrary” judgments, and lawmakers also voted to remove attorney general Raul Melara.

This process was conducted “outside of the constitutional provisions, without any preliminary judgment for possible crimes having been advanced, without the existence of a law that establishes the causes of dismissal, without prior mediation or due process or the right to defense,” the ex-presidents said.

In the letter, the former leaders urged El Salvador to reverse what they called a “violation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” and asked authorities of the Organization of American States (OAS) to investigate.

The letter from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) is also signed by the former president of El Salvador Alfredo Cristiani; as well as José María Aznar from Spain, Eduardo Frei from Chile, Mauricio Macri from Argentina and the Uruguayans Luis Alberto Lacalle and Julio María Sanguinetti, among others.

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