Showing posts from July, 2023

International press takes a look at "Bukelismo"

In the past few weeks there has been an abundance of new articles and opinion pieces in the international press about the Bukele regime in El Salvador.   There is a recognition that the reduction in gang violence linked by Bukele to the State of Exception has made the young leader extremely popular in El Salvador, likely to be re-elected despite a constitutional prohibition, and having an influence far beyond the borders of El Salvador.   The possibility that "Bukelismo" may expand to other Latin American countries and contribute to declines in democracy elsewhere is the focus of a number of articles.  The Economist, LA Times and Bloomberg all focus on the international spread of Bukele's approach:    What the world’s budding autocrats are learning from El Salvador , The Economist Nayib Bukele shows how to dismantle a democracy and stay popular , The Economist Inside the growing cult of El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele, Latin America’s political star - LA Times El Salvador’s I

Debunking the myth of El Salvador's management of the pandemic

Regular readers of El Salvador Perspectives will remember that there have been strong reasons to doubt the official statistics of death from COVID-19 in El Salvador.  As I described in January, although the official death count in El Salvador from the COVID-19 pandemic was 4299 as of December 31, researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington estimated  that the actual number of pandemic-related deaths since March 2020 may have reached almost 26,000.  The official numbers thus represent a gross under-reporting which serves the government's version of how well it has managed the pandemic. Now an investigative report from La Prensa Grafica has revealed that the government's own internal statistics documented a much higher rate of COVID-19 deaths than it acknowledged to the Salvadoran public.  While the IHME numbers were based on statistical models of mortality rates and the progression of the pandemic, these leaked document

The turnabout on US policy towards El Salvador

Nayib Bukele and US Ambassador William Duncan There has been a complete reversal of the public discourse from the US State Department towards El Salvador.  The change appears to coincide with the arrival of the current ambassador William Duncan in January 2023. To understand how dramatic this shift has been, consider what appeared to be a low point in the two country's relationship after Nayib Bukele managed to gain control over all the branches of government in 2021.  That was the year when his Nuevas Ideas party first won super majority control of the congress and then deposed all the judges in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Judicial Court and replaced them with Bukele allies. The Biden administration responded by expanding its Engel List on September 20, 2021 by adding the five magistrates of El Salvador's Constitutional Chamber to the list of corrupt actors who undermine democratic institutions. The announcement from the US State Department declared: Elsy Dueñ

The winners

The 2023 edition of the  Central American and Caribbean Games  ended in host country El Salvador on July 8, after 16 days of competition.  Today we look at some of the winners from having the games take place on Salvadoran soil. Winners: Sports fans in El Salvador Sports fans in El Salvador were treated to more than 2 weeks of international athletes competing in 37 sports in 53 disciplines.   (Competitions for seven of the sports took place in the Dominican Republic as a sub-venue for the games).  El Salvador won 28 total medals during the course of the games including 8 gold medals, which tied the country for 8th place in the number of gold medals and 9th place in overall medals.  Overall medal counts were dominated by regional sports powerhouses Mexico, Colombia and Cuba. Winner: The Bukele Public Image Machine    El Salvador  became the host  of the games after Panama withdrew its commitment in 2020 during the pandemic to be host country. The president of Centro Caribe Sports  heape