Bukele's 4 years in office in pictures

June 1 is the four year anniversary of Nayib Bukele taking office as president of El Salvador.   Here is a collection of photos which illustrate the course his presidency has taken.  

June 1, 2019. Bukele delivered his inaugural address in front of the National Palace in central San Salvador.  


September 15, 2019.  The government staged an elaborate military parade for Independence Day, passing in front of a viewing stand where Nayib and Gabriela Bukele are seated. This was an early example of how Bukele would work to bring the military close to his presidency and would later deploy it in measures from pandemic relief to the war on gangs.

September 25, 2019.  On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Bukele met with Donald Trump.   He commented that he found the US president "very nice and cool."  El Salvador would enjoy close relations with the US during the Trump administration despite Trump calling El Salvador a "shithole country" and attempting to terminate TPS for thousands of Salvadoran migrants in the US. 

September 26, 2019. Bukele took to the rostrum at the UN General Assembly to take a selfie and tell world leaders that their methods of communication were outdated during a time of social media.

February 9, 2020. After speaking to a crowd of supporters outside, Bukele marched into the Sala Azul of the Legislative Assembly with armed soldiers to demand that the Assembly come into session and act on a proposed international loan to purchase military equipment. 

April 24, 2020.  Bukele enjoyed a close relationship with the US Ambassador to El Salvador appointed by Donald Trump, Ronald Johnson, who served until Trump left office.  They are seen here on a phone call with Trump.

June 21, 2020.  Bukele opened Hospital El Salvador.  As he led the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Bukele's signature projects was to convert San Salvador's convention center into a hospital to treat COVID patients. The hospital was never as large as the president claimed but it did treat hundreds of COVID patients.  Because the government was never transparent with COVID data, the actual number of deaths from COVID in the country may never be known.

2020.  Throughout the pandemic, Bukele gathered a group of political advisers from Venezuela who formed a sort of shadow cabinet in his government.   Pictured here with one of those advisors, Lester Toledo. 

February 17, 2021.   The Bukele government managed to be an early recipient of shipments of vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.  The president was there to see the first dose administered shortly before national elections took place.  The coming days and weeks would see dozens of government photographers and video crews following trucks and helicopters emblazoned with the Bukele government logo delivering batches of the vaccine around the country.    

May 29, 2021.  Bukele speaks to attendees of the Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games 2021.  The always image conscious Bukele regime has focused on branding and attracting tourism with efforts like Surf City.  

June 4, 2021. Bukele terminates the agreement with the Organization of American States which underpinned the  International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador ("CICIES" for its initials in Spanish).  The CICIES shut down without a single prosecution having been completed. The termination of CICIES followed the removal of Attorney General Douglas Melendez on June 1, 2021 who had been actively investigating officials in the Bukele government for corruption.  This photo is from September 2019 when Bukele announced the launch of the CICIES to fulfill his campaign promise.

July 19, 2021.  Bukele speaks to assembled troops as part of his Territorial Control Plan.   He tells them they are part of his initiative to double the size of the active military.  His rhetoric would mention the need to protect Salvadorans from internal enemies.

September 7, 2021. Bitcoin becomes legal tender in El Salvador alongside the US dollar.  The government's Chivo wallet app fails repeatedly in early weeks.  Bitcoin would be Bukele's initiative least popular with the Salvadoran public.

September 21, 2021. The social media president changed his Twitter profile to declare himself the "Coolest Dictator in the World."

November 20, 2021. With a rock star entrance in front of a gathering of Bitcoiners, Bukele announces plans to issue $1 billion of Bitcoin "Volcano Bonds" to build a futuristic Bitcoin City.  (Neither the bonds nor the city have come into existence in the 18 months since).

March 26, 2022.  Bukele asks Legislative Assembly to adopt the Regime of Exception which suspends various constitutional due process rights and allows detentions without an order of capture after a weekend of 87 murders by gangs across the country.   14 months later the emergency measure is still in effect.


2021-2022.  Bukele would become a favorite of the far right in the United States, especially with (former) Fox News host Tucker Carlson

September 15, 2022.   In a speech to the nation on El Salvador's Independence Day, Bukele announces he will seek reelection in 2024, despite multiple provisions in the constitution which prohibit the immediate reelection of a president.

January 31, 2023. Bukele inaugurates the Center for Confinement of Terrorists (CECOT), the mega-prison said to be designed to hold 40,000 prisoners, of the more than 68,000 captured so far during the State of Exception and Bukele's war on gangs.