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El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele


Strongman with a strong mandate? El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele

Since riding an anti-establishment wave to power in 2019, El Salvador’s young, social-media savvy, mano dura (“firm hand”) President Nayib Bukele has tested the limits of his country’s fragile institutions.

He’s sent armed men into congress to pressure lawmakers, harried the opposition with arrests, packed the courts with loyalists, and raised human rights concerns with his jail-first-ask-questions-later approach towards gang violence.

But he’s also done something remarkable: he’s become one of the most popular democratically elected leaders in the world. After three years in office, his approval rating hovers around 90%.

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In El Salvador, security forces continue with the massive arrests of alleged gang members, during an operation called "war against the gangs."


Hard Numbers: Bukele goes after gangs, Banglade​shis sentenced to death, NZ's inflation woes, COVID death toll milestone

10,000: According to President Nayib Bukele, 10,000 suspected gang members have been arrested by police in El Salvador, where officials have declared a state of emergency due to gang violence. This news has alarmed human-rights advocates, who accuse Bukele of authoritarian tactics.
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Gang members are secured during a police operation at Izalco jail.


Hard Numbers: El Salvador vs gang talk, crap demand soars, Delhi sees meat beef, Ukrainians at the US border

15: A new law in El Salvador threatens people with 15 years in prison for sharing information about gangs. The measure, passed amid a state of emergency due to gang violence, is meant to stymie communication between them. But human rights advocates already worried about the authoritarian leanings of President Nayib Bukele say it could be used to stifle free expression more broadly.

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