SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A former legislator and presidential candidate apparently fled to Honduras Friday after he was charged with making a deal with street gangs to support his 2014 presidential campaign.
Norman Quijano left El Salvador several hours before he was to lose the immunity from prosecution he enjoyed as a member of congress. A judge issued an arrest warrant for him.
Quijano, of the conservative ARENA party, tweeted that he was in Honduras to attend to a “family matter.”
One of his lawyers said he had gone their to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That story seemed odd, given that Honduras doesn't have enough shots for its own population.
“I will show up to face this, because as I have always said, and as those who know me are aware, I am innocent,” Quijano wrote.
Prosecutor Arturo Cruz said a video and other evidence indicate that Quijano gave the country's violent streets gangs $100,000 in exchange for the votes of them, their families and pressuring inhabitants of neighborhoods where they were active.
The scheme did not work and in the end Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the leftist FMLN party won the elections.