US threatens El Salvador aid over support for Venezuela

The United States is threatening the small Central American country of El Salvador with financial repercussions for supporting Venezuela's campaign for the repeal of US sanctions against the country.

The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) government of Salvador Sanchez Ceren, together with all of countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, has called on US President Barack Obama to repeal his executive order declaring Venezuela to be a “threat” to US national security.

The threat against El Salvador appears to be the first case of the US trying to use its diplomatic weight to force a sovereign country to fall into line with its attacks on Venezuela.

US ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte said: “The government of the United States and the embassy are working hard to obtain money for the Alliance for Prosperity program [but] the reality is these messages make the work harder.”

The Alliance for Prosperity program is an effort by the US, together with Central American countries, to cut the influx of migrants to the US. The Obama Administration has proposed US$1 billion in aid to the region as part of the initiative.

FMLN secretary-general Medardo Gonzalez criticised the ambassador's statements on April 20. “We have the right to back Venezuela," Gonzalez said. "We have expressed our solidarity and we maintain that the decree should be repealed.”

The FMLN handed the US ambassador about 25,000 signatures of Salvadorans calling for the US to repeal the executive order ahead of the Summit of the Americas held earlier this month.

US officials had previously expressed disappointment over the lack of support in the region for US sanctions against Venezuela. Even governments widely seen as close to US, such as Mexico and Colombia, have joined in the unanimous call for the executive order to be repealed.

The statements by the US ambassador may be an indication that the US Department of State is now pursuing more forceful measures to win support for its highly unpopular decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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