SAN SALVADOR: Thousands of Salvadorans took to the streets Saturday demanding a UN anti-corruption probe like the one in Guatemala that led to a wave of protests and resignation of its president.
“We want a CICIES, we want a CICIES,” the 3,000-plus demonstrators chanted wildly in San Salvador.
They were referring to a Salvadoran version of the United Nations International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known as CICIG, which uncovered the country’s corruption scandal.
Guatemala’s disgraced ex-president Otto Perez was accused of overseeing a massive corruption scheme that allegedly milked the customs agency.
He saw his immunity from prosecution lifted by Congress on Tuesday. On Wednesday he resigned and was promptly arrested on a court order.
Prosecutors say Perez, a 64-year-old retired general, ran a network of corrupt officials that took bribes from businesses to clear their imports through customs at a fraction of the official tax rate.
Salvadorans — also exhausted by 25 years of civil strife and gang wars — say now it’s their turn. And if they can’t get rid of graft on their own, it’s time to bring in the world body.
Waving their national flag, Salvadoran demonstrators shouted “Anybody who is opposed to a CICIES is either corrupt — or protecting corrupt people” and “We want peace.”