LatinNews Daily - 15 March 2022

In brief: Concerns in El Salvador over gov’t seizure of buses

*Private sector lobbies in El Salvador, Asociación Nacional de Empresarios de Transporte, which represents the transport sector, and the umbrella group, Asociación Nacional de la Empresa Privada (Anep), have signalled concern about the decision by the government led by President Nayib Bukele to seize 293 buses belonging to Catalino Miranda, the owner of a bus company, who was arrested on 12 March, accused of overcharging customers. The buses are now being operated by the military and police (PNC). President Bukele justified the intervention citing Art.110 of the constitution which states that the State can take charge of public services when social interests demand it. However, the private sector lobbies question this justification and warn that the move is not in line with due process. Anep also warned that this could impact on investor confidence. Opposition legislators in the 84-member unicameral legislature, which is controlled by the ruling Nuevas Ideas (NI), have also signalled concern about the government’s seizure of the buses and Miranda’s arrest which police (PNC) director, Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, has since told reporters was due to “aggressive resistance”.

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