I had the pleasure of meeting with Ernesto Rivas Gallont when I was in San Salvador last week. He was El Salvador's ambassador to the US during the 1980's, and now is a newspaper columnist, blogger, and wise observer of current events in the country. I'll be touching on some of the topics we discussed in upcoming posts.
In Don Ernesto's regular Sunday column in La Prensa Grafica this Sunday, he brought up the still unresolved (except in the view of the PNC) case of Gilberto Soto. Soto was a Teamsters union organizer from the US who was killed while visiting his mother in El Salvador. The column includes the text of a letter to president Tony Saca from US Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, pushing for a reopened investigation into the Soto murder:
According to information I have received, a recent motion in the National Assembly which called for a new investigation of the Soto case was opposed, and defeated, by your government. This concerns me, and I urge you to reconsider this decision. At a time when the United States is providing substantial amounts of assistance to El Salvador through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and is posed to provide additional assistance through the Merida Initiative, it is imperative that everything possible be done to conduct a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation of this crime and punish those responsible.Ernesto Rivas suggests something new in his blog -- perhaps there is a link in this murder to organized crime and rug trafficking:
¿Qué hubo y qué hay detrás de este asesinato? ¿Qué sabía Soto de lo que ocurre en los oscuros rincones del crimen, tráfico de drogas y lavado de dinero en El Salvador? ¿Está relacionado ese asesinato con Roberto Silva Pereira, algunos diputados, Reynerio y los Perrones? ¿Por qué la insistencia de Estados Unidos? Poco a poco la madeja se va desarrollando y lo que presagia no es nada bueno.
What has been and is behind this assassination? What did Soto know of that which goes on in the dark corners of crime, drug trafficking and money laundering in El Salvador? Is this murder related to Roberto Silve Pereira, some legislators, Reynerio and the Perrones [various figures linked to drug trafficking and organized crime in the country]? Why the insistence of the United States? Little by little the ball of string is unravelling and what it presages is nothing good.
More than 3 1/2 years after Soto's murder, there seem to be more questions, not less.