Who will control the pandemic response in El Salvador?
|Bukele press conference|
Another day in the struggle for who will manage El Salvador's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the day the government flooded social media with pictures of bags of food being delivered to poor people in quarantine throughout the country. Equally prominent were photos of nurses and doctors in gowns and masks asking the Legislative Assembly to follow Bukele's direction for the home quarantine.
Deputies arrived at the Legislative Assembly to work on a new law to replace the expired state of emergency (based on their position that Bukele's unilateral extension Saturday night of the old state of emergency was null and void).
The Constitutional Chamber issued a ruling agreeing to hear a citizen complaint that Bukele's decree of an extended state of emergency, and issued an order setting aside Bukele's decree in the interim and requiring the legislative and executive branches to meet to try and come to agreement.
Business leaders met with both the Legislative Assembly and the president to discuss possible routes to reopen the economy. Roman Catholic cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez also makes an appearance at the Legislative Assembly.
Bukele and the Legislative Assembly never reach an agreement.
Bukele calls an 8PM press conference in a warehouse where relief packages are being prepared for delivery. Bukele complains about the Constitutional Chamber and the Legislative Assembly, calling their actions "absurd" and contrary to the Law of Civil Protection. He said his opponents wanted the number of deaths in the country to increase. He complains that Legislative Assembly is not giving him the money or tools he needs to fight the pandemic, and says he is going to cut off transfers of money used to pay salaries at the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Judicial Court. After saying he will abide by the ruling of Constitutional Chamber, Bukele says he has been meeting with certain large business representatives and they have reached a consensus position in which there will be a gradual reopening of the economy starting June 6, but only if the Legislative Assembly passes a strict quarantine comparable to the current one. Bukele announced he would veto the legislation about to be taken up in the Legislative Assembly this night.
Following conclusion of Bukele's press conference, messages start to appear in social media from government ministers and Bukele allies in the business community offering to donate their salaries to the fight against COVID-19.
9PM -- The Legislative Assembly goes into session. Bukele's allies from the GANA party boycott the session, but there are still sufficient deputies for a quorum. The law which the Assembly is drafting, being referred to as a sanitary or health law, would change the process of quarantine. Quarantine would normally be at home under supervision of a medical professional instead of in quarantine centers. Quarantine centers could only be used in exceptional cases. Stays in quarantine would be limited to 15 days and limited to people who are suspected of having the disease, those who have been exposed to someone with the disease (epidemiological nexus), or anyone who has arrived from outside of the country. People currently in quarantine centers who had been there for at least 15 days without symptoms would be released. The new law will have four phases for gradually reopening the country over four months.
Meanwhile, Salvadorans review the last digit on their identity cards to see who can leave the house tomorrow to shop for food.
|Legislative Assembly goes into session|