Recently elected Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes ordered the reopening of the case following requests from labor and government officials to follow through on his promise to strengthen the judicial system and crack down on crime in El Salvador by bringing Soto's murderers to justice.
"President Funes has taken an important first step in strengthening human rights in El Salvador," [Teamster President James] Hoffa said. "The violence against trade unionists in El Salvador and across Central and South America has been allowed to go unchecked for far too long. Gilberto Soto's murderers must not be allowed to remain free if the Salvadoran government seeks to make significant strides in strengthening democratic institutions."...
In an interview with a Salvadoran newspaper, former Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudswoman Beatrice Allamani de Carrillo expressed her satisfaction with the reopening of the case, indicating that it confirms the findings in a report she and her staff originally submitted to authorities.
"Now the Office of the Attorney General has the responsibility to conduct a sound investigation," said De Carrillo, who has long contended that Soto was murdered because of his trade union activities.
Soto was shot in the back and killed while visiting Usulutan on union business on November 5, 2004. To date, the police have done little to apprehend what appears to be a death squad that killed the union representative. In fact, in De Carrillo's report, the former ombudswoman charged that the police had perpetrated a cover up rather than conduct an exhaustive investigation. A prominent figure involved in organizing port drivers in the United States, Soto was visiting El Salvador on behalf of the Teamsters to meet with Central American trade union leaders and port drivers.