Showing posts from September, 2023

Internal police reports show significant gang presence remains in El Salvador

Originally published September 22, 2023 at InsightCrime under the title  El Salvador Police Reports Contradict Bukele's Triumphalism by Roberto Valencia More than a dozen confidential reports from El Salvador’s National Civil Police obtained by InSight Crime reveal that, although "weakened" after a year and a half under a state of exception, the three main gangs operating in El Salvador remain a subtle threat. The Mara Salvatrucha ( MS13 ), Barrio 18 Sureños, and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios still maintain 54 armed groups, mostly in rural areas. Nearly 43,000 people who have been profiled as gang members remain at large. These people have been classified into three categories: active members (homeboys), aspiring members (chequeos), and "collaborators," a broad designation for those who allegedly work with or for these gangs, assisting in a number of tasks. These numbers call into question the triumphalism of President Nayib Bukele’s administration, which has mounte

El Salvador's plan for voting from outside the country

 El Salvador's Legislative Assembly passed a law for the upcoming election of president and the national congress which will allow Salvadorans living outside the country to cast their vote from home over the internet. At least some of them will be able to.  I'll explain. The system of voting from outside the country depends on the type of identity document a Salvadoran holds, whether it is a national identity card (DUI) or a passport. It does not matter whether the document has expired or not.  The residence address shown on the DUI is also relevant. For those Salvadorans who have a DUI showing an address outside of the country, they are able to go to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal website anytime between January 6 and February 4 and cast their vote using any web browser.  It is possible to get an updated DUI with a foreign residential address by applying at a consulate outside of the country up through November 5, 2023. For those Salvadorans with only a passport, or those who

Independence Day in El Salvador

Independence Day in El Salvador was filled with people marching in various locations throughout the country. The parade through San Salvador sponsored by the national government was filled with military displays and marching bands and more military displays: 🇸🇻✨💙🤍 #ElSalvadorRenace — Alcaldía de San Salvador (@alcaldia_ss) September 15, 2023 Meanwhile demonstrators protesting policies of the Bukele government also marched, seeking justice for thousands of innocent people imprisoned under the ongoing State of Exception, demanding rights for labor activists, protesting inadequate support of the healthcare sector, denouncing Bukele's violation of the constitution in seeking reelection, and pointing to the impact of the increasing cost of living: 🇸🇻 #15DeSeptiembre | Este día, diversas organizaciones y miles de personas de diferentes sectores del país, se manifestaron en rechazo a la reelección presidencial y otras causas sociales derivadas d

Who else is running for president in El Salvador?

El Salvador will hold presidential elections in February 2024.   On the ballot will be Nayib Bukele, the current president, who is running for re-election under the banner of his party Nuevas Ideas, despite a clear prohibition on second consecutive terms in the Salvadoran constitution. But there will be candidates from other parties running for the presidency as well.   Here is a rundown on those candidates.  Other than Manuel Flores, the candidate from the FMLN, none of the candidates have significant prior political experience.  The candidates from Nuestro Tiempo and ARENA reside in the United States, and there is one woman running, for the first time in thirty years.  ARENA The presidential candidate from ARENA is Joel Sánchez.  He is a Salvadoran businessman residing in Dallas, with no previous experience in politics. His candidacy was promoted by the civil society group Resistencia Ciudadana and the right wing party will now have this member of the Salvadoran diaspora as its candi

Yawning through the second year of Bitcoin in El Salvador

September 7 is the second anniversary of Bitcoin becoming legal tender in El Salvador along with the US dollar.  This past year has seen Bitcoin fade from relevance for the vast majority of Salvadorans, and has seen the Salvadoran government cease to promote its use as a currency for daily transactions.       President Nayib Bukele has not tweeted or posted anything in Spanish about Bitcoin in the past year.  He did not mention Bitcoin in speeches to the nation last independence day, September 15, or in his state of the nation report on the fourth year of his presidency. There is no promotion of the use of Bitcoin as a currency coming out through the social media arm of the office of the president. You will look in vain on the website of the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador for any reports related to Bitcoin, despite the cyber-currency being legal tender in the country along with the US dollar.  You will also not find recent discussions, promotion or programs related to Bitcoin on

In El Salvador, the State of Exception imprisons environmental activists

El Salvador has lived for a year and a half under the State of Exception. The State of Exception suspends the constitutional due process protections against arbitrary capture and detention, and allows people to be thrown into prison for months on the slimmest of allegations.  An anonymous phone tip can be sufficient to have someone captured. The "exceptional measures," which are touted by the Bukele regime for their impact in reducing gang-related crime in the country, have been used in some cases, say advocates, to silence and threaten activists and community leaders who protest development projects of friends of the Bukele regime.     Carolina Amaya is a journalist who focuses on environmental issues in El Salvador.  She has published important articles about challenges to the environment at her site MalaYerba .  Two days ago she wrote a much more personal column in El Faro about the arrest of her father, Benjamin Amaya, a veteran of the Salvadoran armed forces and campesi