El Salvador Extends Anti-Gang State of Emergency

Photo: Reuters

The Facts

  • El Salvador's Parliament granted Pres. Nayib Bukele's request to extend the country's state of emergency for a second time on Wed., for 30 more days. The state of emergency was originally declared in late March after a wave of gang-related shootings saw 62 killed in one day.

  • Human rights groups have denounced the decree, but polls indicate popular support for the crackdown as homicide rates have since fallen.


The Spin

Narrative A

Bukele is an effective populist leader who has been vocal in criticizing the country's complacent politicians - right and left - for their failures to care for victims of the country's civil war. This latest move further demonstrates his commitment to protecting Salvadorans and confronting criminals, two main goals of his administration.

Narrative B

Bukele's image as a law-and-order president is an illusion created by a secret alliance he entered into with gang leaders in order to keep the peace - a tactic many Salvadoran presidents have adopted. The recent outbreak in violence may hint that the gangs want to renegotiate this pact, and Bukele is seizing the opportunity for another power grab.


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