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The Salvador of El Salvador?

The Salvador of El Salvador?

Here is a sentence you have read some version of many, many times in recent years:

The candidate surged to a once-unlikely victory over his establishment opponents after a campaign in which he skillfully deployed social media, railed against traditional political parties, and pledged to stamp out corruption.

On Sunday, Salvadoran businessman Nayib Bukele, a former mayor of his country's capital, became the latest political outsider to fit this description, winning the first round of El Salvador's presidential election outright with nearly 54 percent of the vote.



His victory was a sharp rebuke to the country's two main parties – the FMLN and ARENA. They grew out of warring factions of the country's brutal civil war and have run El Salvador for more than a quarter of a century since.

The youthful Mr. Bukele, who sports a leather jacket rather than suits and ties, and who campaigned under the bold slogan "there's enough money if nobody steals," will now take control over one of the most violent countries on earth.

Nearly 70,000 Salvadorans belong to gangs, and though the murder rate has fallen in recent years, it still trails only Venezuela as the most violent country in the world's most violent region.

Bukele has pledged to stamp out graft, help the poor, and continue the crackdown on crime. If he is able to do so, it would represent a remarkable turnaround for a deeply scarred country. What's more, instability in El Salvador has affected its neighbors, contributing to northward migration flows that are the subject of such bitter political rancor in the United States.

But Mr. Bukele also has a problem that is all too common for many of today's political upstarts – his party, GANA, controls just 11 seats out of 84 in congress, meaning that in order to make good on his promises, he'll have to work with precisely the parties he railed against on the campaign trail.

Being an outsider is an increasingly good way to win elections. But as elsewhere, it remains to be seen whether Bukele can actually deliver on the outsized promises that carried him to victory.

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Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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62: In a referendum over the weekend, nearly 62 percent of Swiss voters said they wanted to preserve freedom of movement between the European Union and Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU. The right-wing Swiss People's Party had proposed imposing migration quotas at the border, saying that the current frontier is basically a... (okay, they didn't actually say it's a "Swiss cheese" but still).

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on the Navalny poisoning on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Can Europe get to the bottom of Russian opposition leader Navalny's poisoning? And if so, would it change anything?

One has got to the bottom of it, to certain extent. The evidence, there was a German laboratory confirming nerve agent, Novichok. They sent it to a French laboratory and the Swedish independent laboratory, they came to the exact same conclusions. I mean, it's dead certain. He was poisoned with an extremely poisonous nerve agent coming from the Russian state laboratories. Now, there is a discussion underway of what to do. I mean, the Russians are refusing any sort of serious discussions about it. Surprise, surprise. And we'll see what actions will be taken. There might be some sort of international investigation within the context of the OPCW, the international organization that is there, to safeguard the integrity of the international treaties to prevent chemical weapons. But we haven't seen the end of this story yet.

Watch as Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, explains what's going on in technology news:

Would Facebook actually leave Europe? What's the deal?

The deal is that Europe has told Facebook it can no longer transfer data back and forth between the United States and Europe, because it's not secure from US Intelligence agencies. Facebook has said, "If we can't transfer data back and forth, we can't operate in Europe." My instinct, this will get resolved. There's too much at stake for both sides and there are all kinds of possible compromises.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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