In other news

This post weaves together several recent articles published in English about current El Salvador events.

In  Nayib Bukele’s Growing List of Latin American Admirers, Will Freeman writes that Nayib Bukele's approach to a war on gangs has been receiving favorable attention throughout the region:

To his many critics, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has become a ruthless strongman, trampling due process and other civil protections. But within Latin America, his militarized crackdown on gangs is winning him a fan club that won’t stop growing. Prominent politicians and everyday people in countries from neighboring parts of Central America to far-flung Peru and Chile have professed their admiration for his policies—and expressed a desire to see their own countries adopt a similar approach.

But that worries Suhelis Tejero as she writes in Bukele’s Firm Hand: El Salvador’s New Export?:

With a new mega prison that holds 40,000 “terrorists”, the President of El Salvador takes his ultra punitive system (often disrespectful of human rights) one step further. This penal policy, coveted by many in Latin America, is a new challenge to the rule of law in the subcontinent.

A concrete example of these human rights concern is the story of this simple laborer caught up in the State of Exception.  Using leaked documents, Efren Lemus of El Faro reports that Salvadoran Police Confirmed Arbitrary Arrest of Bricklayer, but He Remains Detained Nine Months Later

Five months after his arrest, Grande was transferred from Izalco Prison to the prison in Santa Ana. Despite the internal probe’s finding that his arrest was unjustified, his family does not know when he will go before a judge. He has now been detained for more than ten months.

In the past two years, El Faro journalists reporting on the activities of the Bukele regime like Lemus found their phones infected with Pegasus spyware.  But they were not the only ones.  It also was found on the phone of one of the Salvadoran Supreme Judicial Court judges not replaced when Nuevas Ideas got control of the Legislative Assembly in 2021 as El Faro English described in Apple Warned Salvadoran Supreme Court Judge of Possible Pegasus Infection:

Supreme Court Magistrate Paula Patricia Velásquez is the first member of the Salvadoran judiciary to assert that her cellphone was surveilled with the Pegasus spyware developed by the Israel-based firm NSO Group. ... "Justice Velásquez explained she was subjected to espionage through a spyware called ‘Pegasus’ and that the company Apple Inc. notified her that she is pr, obably being targeted because of the function she serves," wrote the Supreme Court in a document obtained by El Faro. The outlet also reviewed an email that Velásquez received from Apple on December 15, warning that her account may have been breached: "Apple believes that state-sponsored attackers are trying to access the iPhone associated with your Apple ID."

But those concerns about the rule of law, domestic spying, and human rights have not deterred Wall Street investors from making a profit off of El Salvador's foreign bonds according to Bloomberg in a report titled How El Salvador’s Bitcoin-Loving President Won Over Wall Street

El Salvador is one of the most extreme examples of how the world’s riskiest government bonds have recovered after being over-sold last year by money managers who expected a wave of defaults. But it’s also a sign of how investors have warmed to Bukele. Instead of concerns about him running the economy into the ground, they are gushing about his embrace of fiscal prudence and largely looking beyond his autocratic tendencies.  

Far from Wall Street, indigenous Nahuat speakers in El Salvador are concerned about a government overhaul of a school program which had been successfully preserving their language reveals a report titled El Salvador Deals Major Blow to Nahuat Language Revitalization Efforts in El Faro English:

The new year is off to a bad start for Indigenous peoples and languages in El Salvador. The Ministry of Education has decided to disband the Cuna Náhuat revitalization program. In its place, as part of the recently passed Growing Together Law and an eponymous program promoted by the Office of First Lady, a new initiative called Nests of Linguistic Immersion will replace the cunas (cribs) in schools where those programs once operated.


The cutback on the indigenous language coincides with the arrest of Levi César Morales Ramírez, son of indigenous leader Silverio Morales.