I haven’t really been keeping up to date on Central American politics, but the elected president of El Salvador has since September 16 changed his Twitter bio from “Papa de Layla” (his daughter) to “Dictador de El Salvador.” I thought you were supposed to, at minimum, seize the national radio station, not just update your Twitter bio.
Earlier in the month he declared Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador.
He was elected mayor of the capital city as a member of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the 1980s leftist guerrillas, but was elected president in 2019 heading a center-right coalition. He’s now kind of a Bonapartist technocrat with a big ego.
Bukele was born on 24 July 1981 in San Salvador. He is a son of Olga Ortez de Bukele and Armando Bukele Kattán. According to The Times of Israel, Bukele’s paternal grandparents were Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem and Bethlehem while his maternal grandmother was Catholic and his maternal grandfather was Greek Orthodox. His father later converted to Islam and became an imam. …
Upon taking office, Bukele reverted the names of two streets in San Salvador: Calle Mayor Roberto D’Aubuisson to Calle San Antonio Abad A La Vía and Boulevard Colonel José Arturo Castellanos to Boulevard Venezuela. Both names were changed by his predecessor, Norman Quijano, during his term, the former being named after Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who ordered the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero in 1980 during the Salvadoran Civil War and founded ARENA in 1981, and the latter being named after Colonel José Castellanos Contreras, who saved 40,000 Jews from the Holocaust in Central Europe by providing them fake Salvadoran passports.
In February 2017, Bukele visited Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to “enhance” the sister city relationship between San Salvador and Taipei. In February 2018, he attended the 32nd International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem, where he was seen praying at the Western Wall, and revealed that his wife’s grandfather was a Sephardic Jew.
He fired the Supreme Court for saying he couldn’t run for re-election and hired himself a new Supreme Court who said early this month, now that they had a chance to think it over, that he could.
A few days later he declared Bitcoin to be legal currency.
On 21 March 2020, Bukele instated a nationwide lockdown in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic which was to last 30 days. During the lockdown, 4,236 people were arrested by the National Civil Police for violating the lockdown order. Human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, have criticized the arrests, citing arbitrary arrests and police abuses. … During the press conference where Bukele received the ventilators, he stated that he took Hydroxychloroquine.
I bet he has an opinion on ivermectin, too.
In January 2021, Transparency International cited both El Salvador and Colombia as examples of “an explosion of irregularities and corruption.” Transparency International cited the Corruption Perceptions Index of 2020 as its basis. Twenty of Bukele’s government institutions were under investigation by the attorney general on suspicions of corruption relating to the pandemic, however, the investigations were halted after the attorney general was removed by the Legislative Assembly on 1 May 2021.
On 13 May 2021, Bukele donated 34,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to several towns and villages in Honduras after pleas from local mayors for vaccines. At the time, El Salvador had received 1.9 million doses, while Honduras had only received 59,000.
His approval rating in El Salvador is in the 85% range.