Open Society Foundations’ Response to Comments by President Bukele
We were surprised by President Nayib Bukele’s references to the Open Society Foundations’ work in El Salvador in his press conference on September 24, 2020.
The Open Society Foundations have been working in El Salvador since 2006, supporting civil society organizations and independent media working to address corruption, reduce violence, and increase transparency and judicial independence. Across different administrations, regardless of political affiliations, these organizations have worked to support democracy and freedom of the press in El Salvador through vibrant debates and exchanges of ideas. We support those who seek justice, and those who work to reduce rampant violence in their communities.
The Open Society Foundations’ work in El Salvador is part of our commitment to building just, inclusive democracies across Latin America and the Caribbean. With the region at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Open Society Foundations have made substantial investments to ensure equitable and inclusive responses to the crisis, focusing on addressing gross economic injustices heightened by the pandemic. In Mexico City, we supported the local government’s expansion of unemployment benefits to include informal and gig workers; and in Bogotá, we invested in a first of its kind system to provide services to those who require care and caregivers. In the hard-hit state of Pará, Brazil, we supported state government efforts to reinsert vulnerable populations into the labor market and provide emergency social assistance in the form of a program providing food for families.
The Open Society Foundations conduct all our work publicly and transparently, complying with all legal requirements of the United States government, as well as of other countries where we work—including El Salvador. The information about our work is available on our website, as well as in public tax records in the United States.
All the organizations we support define their own goals and activities, with the approval of their boards of trustees or appropriate governance bodies. The Open Society Foundations does not dictate organizations’ priorities or strategies, and does not interfere in the implementation of their work.
More than ever, in the face of a global pandemic that is threatening the health, integrity, and livelihoods of millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Open Society Foundations remain committed to building more democratic and inclusive societies. We are proud of our work and that of our grantees across a region facing a resurgence of corruption and authoritarianism.