Bukele’s Politicization of the Military Revives Old Fears in El Salvador

Armed Special Forces soldiers of the Salvadoran Army stand guard in the Legislative Assembly, San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Salvador Melendez).
Armed Special Forces soldiers of the Salvadoran Army stand guard in the Legislative Assembly, San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Salvador Melendez).

In a blatant display of disregard for the country’s democratic institutions, President Nayib Bukele ordered the military to briefly occupy El Salvador’s legislature last weekend. He was apparently irritated with the slow pace of legislative negotiations over his proposal for a $109 million loan from a regional development bank to pay for new military equipment, as part of a broader crime bill. Bukele’s supporters applauded the show of force, but it provoked an outcry from critics concerned about the 38-year-old president’s disdain for the rule of law and his willingness to politicize the military. Bukele argues that the loan from […]

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