With important rights indefinitely suspended, 83% voted for Bukele

On Friday, February 9, El Salvador's Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the final results of the presidential election.  We already knew Bukele had won in a landslide, the only real question was the exact margin of victory. With turnout around 52%, Nayib Bukele won with 82.7% of the votes:

The votes for Legislative Assembly have not yet been counted.

The announcement of the final results in Bukele's unconstitutional reelection came on the 4th anniversary of Bukele's first major step towards asserting authoritarian power in the county.  On February 9, 2020, Nayib Bukele sent armed troops ahead of himself into the Legislative Assembly.   He was demanding that the Assembly, then controlled by parties other than Nuevas Ideas, approve a loan package to buy military equipment.  As Bukele sat himself down at the place of the president of the Assembly, with his troops ringing the legislative chamber, Bukele sent a clear message that he wanted an  Assembly subservient to his will.  The move foreshadowed what was to come when Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party swept into power in June 2021, and promptly placed allies in the supreme court and attorney general's offices, and ten months later placed the country under the emergency State of Exception.

Troops in Legislative Assembly, Feb. 9, 2020.

Friday also saw the Legislative Assembly pass the 23rd extension of the State of Exception in El Salvador, which has been in place since March 27, 2022.  Justified as a necessary measure for Bukele's war on gangs, the State of Exception has seen more than 76,000 persons imprisoned, with credible allegations of thousands of arbitrary arrests, torture, and deaths inside the prisons.

These are the rights under El Salvador's constitution which have been suspended for almost two years under the State of Exception:

The inhabitants of El Salvador have the right to associate freely and to meet peacefully, without arms, for any lawful purpose. Nobody shall be obligated to belong to an association. 

The detained person shall be immediately and clearly informed of his rights and of the reasons for his detention, and cannot be compelled to make a declaration. The detained is guaranteed the assistance of a defense lawyer (defensor) during the proceedings of the auxiliary organs of the administration of justice and in judicial proceedings, in the terms established by the law. 

Administrative detention shall not exceed seventy-two hours, within which the detained must be consigned to the order of a competent judge, with the diligences that he may have practiced. 

Correspondence of every kind is inviolable; if intercepted, it shall not be given credence nor accepted as evidence in any legal action, except in cases of insolvency proceedings and bankruptcy. The interference in and intervention of telephone conversations is prohibited. 

Or to summarize, under the State of Exception today, there is no constitutional protection against the government (1) arresting and holding people without charge, without a prompt judicial hearing  and denying them a lawyer, (2) intercepting anyone's mail, (3) listening to their telephone conversations, or (4) prohibiting any group of persons from associating.

Did 83% of the voters realize they were voting to continue giving up their rights to due process and privacy?  Perhaps not, but the president who marched with armed troops into the Legislative Assembly four years ago, has given no indication he plans to return those rights to the Salvadoran public.  


rc said…
Las elecciones en el salvador siempre fue la desicion de elegir "Al menos peor"
La mayoría de Salvadoreños perdió sus derechos y privacidad con años de asedio de pandillas y crimen organizado darlos derechos a el gobierno,pcn,ejército;creo que el porcentaje que lo voto le es indiferente el régimen de excepción si ahora almenos ha disminuido la el cobro de extorsión, desplazamiento forzado y muerte de parte de las pandilla Ms y 18.
La aclaración de las muertes y detenciones arbitrarias ojala sea una lucha que se aclare pronto y los inocentes puedan ser liberados.
Por lo demás el hecho que 83% decida votar la propuesta nuevas ideas sobre la propuesta de Arena,fmln,nuestro tiempo,vamos,Fps,fuerza solidaria es verdaderamente un profundo caso de investigación con la población local.
Virginia said…
Citizens are NOT prevented from meeting in groups for religious, cultural, economic or athletic interests. You likely see as much every day in El Salvador.

The State of Exception was proposed for vote under Article 167 of the Constitution, and effected by the power granted to the Executive Organ in Article 29 of the same Constitution. The security regime is in adherence to this document, not a deviation from it.

It is completely within the self-determinant will of the voters to confer power for the purposes of safety and security. This is not evidence of totalitarianism, it's just total common sense.