Military General Named El Salvador’s Security Minister

By Dialogo
November 29, 2011

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes swore in General David Munguía Payés as the country’s new Minister of Security and Justice, making him the first military man to occupy that post since the signing of the peace accords that marked the end of the civil war in 1992.

During the swearing-in ceremony, Funes affirmed that Munguía Payés “is a former military man committed to my administration’s direction and loyal to me and to the democratic process that we are developing in greater depth.”

Munguía Payés replaces former guerrilla commander Manuel Melgar, who resigned on November 7 without stating the reasons publicly.

Since Melgar’s resignation, Munguía Payés had been mentioned as a possible successor, leading the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) to immediately express its opposition, on the grounds that naming a military man as Minister of Security and Justice “goes against the peace accords,” which delimited the functions of the Army and the police.

“No one with good intentions should think that this appointment might imply a militarization of security, nor that it means a step backward in terms of the spirit of the peace accords,” Funes emphasized.

The first two instructions that the president publicly gave Munguía Payés were “to build a true policy of national unity around the good fight” that is being fought to guarantee citizen security and to show concrete results in the daily struggle of the forces of order against organized crime and the criminals who operate in the country.

The Salvadoran president swore in General José Atilio Benítez as the new Defense Minister.