|Segundo despliegue territorial de la PNC. Septiembre 1993. Foto cortesía de La Prensa Gráfica.|
Fue un honor. Ahí estaban Álvaro de Soto, el asesor personal del ex Secretario General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. Álvaro tuvo la gentileza de comentar Infiltrados, el libro sobre la corrupción en la Policía Nacional Civil de El Salvador que recién finalice y que se encuentra en las últimas etapas de corrección en UCA Editores. Es un libro "escalofriante", dijo Álvaro. La reunión, organizada por el Centro de Investigaciones de Estudios Sociales de Nueva York a petición del Centro de Estudios Latino Americanos de American University, fue una charla off the record en la que Álvaro De Soto y otros protagonistas del proceso de supervisión internacional del proceso de pacificación salvadoreño reflexionaron sobre aquellos días, sobre la esperanza y las deudas. Ahí estuvieron también Martha Doggett, autora de "Crónica de una muerte anunciada", y Teresa Whitfield, autora de "Pagando el precio"; ambos libros hablan sobre la masacre de la UCA, la trama de encubrimiento oficial alrededor de aquellos asesinatos y de cómo esa trama cimentó la cultura de impunidad que tanto ha crecido en estas dos décadas de posguerra. A ellos y a los organizadores agradezco por pemitirme hablar de Infiltrados. Dejo aquí el discurso que pronuncié en la reunión de Nueva York (en inglés).
|Copia del cable en que la Embajada de EUA en El Salvador informa a Washington sobre negociaciones entre FMLN y el Gobierno, en el marco de las pláticas de paz, para crear una policía civil. Archivo Nacional, College Park, MD.|
- The power of the past. Supranational powers will always have a limit when dealing with the status quo. The case of El Salvador was extraordinary: both parts agreed to end the war and also agreed on the basic reform necessary to engage in the construction of a new society. The best results of that are for all to see: alternation in power, freedom of speech, freedom of association and in terms of violence, the evolution of the State from an entity engaged in the act of producing it to an entity merely incapable of containing it. But the worst and unfinished rooms of that house are still plenty and important: even in those early days, the parts –las partes– understood that whatever power they were able to retain while the referee was present would allow them to set the rules for the times to come. In the case of the PNC, the deal was clear: the traditional economic and military elites managed to set the rules and establish their command after what was known as Plan 600, a pact that allowed the military to transfer their own –the Rivas, DIC type– to the PNC’s highest level in the chain of command and to the FMLN to cut a better deal in Plan 600 of its mid-level war commanders. As Gino Costa wrote: on the road, they settled for the future, the forces of the past made sure to maintain a safety net. And, in the case of the PNC, that was very harmful: it compromised its capacity to enforce the law, to investigate and track down crime within those powers. As US researchers David Holiday and William Stanley wrote: UN capacity as referee was to go as far as those powers agreed on in all fairness. In the case of the PNC, las partes decided to overstep the referee in essential parts of the deal. Pressure coming from well recognized and influential external powers, nonetheless, have proven effective to start changes: the CICIG model in Guatemala and recent pushes coming from the US Senate for El Salvador to address pending issues in security are examples of that. Maintaining accountability over those changes is another story, though. That, I am afraid, can only be asked to do by an internal player: civil society. In El Salvador five post-war administrations have failed the PNC´s debt with transparency; it is time for civil society -non-committed with the old political schemes of the war, as the two major parties are- to step in.
- The unfulfilled changes. The politics of change are, as you know, very complex. But in these scenarios international pressure and dialogue should be focused always on institutions, and mainly on the legal and formal framework. An example: One guarantee for impunity in the PNC has been the lack of an effective Internal Affair unit. They do not exist. Inspector Generals, besides two very outstanding exceptions –two women–, have been mere puppets in the hands of PNC ruling elite (the current one just told a journalist that he doesn’t have any notice about the involvement of police officers with organized crime; this when UNODC and US DOS have said otherwise unequivocally and, most importantly, when all serious academia and journalism in the country have proven otherwise). Even when the empowerment of an IG is a matter of political will, it could also start as a formal issue: in the case of El Salvador, the IG is named by the Director General; a legal reform to create an autonomous unit that could bring more independence has been proposed several times but has always been overlooked or blocked. PDDH, another child of the Peace Accord, is a good example of how autonomy can guarantee transparency: despite marginalization by the political formal power and its own flaws, the Ombudsman office has been one of the most effective watchdogs in El Salvador. The problem is that PDDH does not have prosecutorial capacities. The IG does.