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Freedoms at Risk in El Salvador?

Date & Time

Oct. 8, 2020
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET


*Please note: This event will take place in English and Spanish. 

Now in his second year in office, President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele remains among the most popular leaders in the Americas. But he has unsettled many in El Salvador and abroad for actions that appear to undermine the country's fragile democratic institutions.

He has won high marks from Salvadoran citizens for his aggressive response to the COVID pandemic, measures that have limited the spread of the disease in comparison to neighboring countries. In addition, President Bukele's relentless criticism of El Salvador's leading political parties and tough posture against street gangs strike a chord in a population exhausted by criminal activity and multiple corruption scandals.

However, a recent report by independent outlet El Faro regarding alleged negotiations between senior Bukele administration officials and gang leaders - including allegations that gang leaders exchanged reduced homicides and support for Bukele's allies in upcoming elections for improved prison conditions – has threatened to undermine Bukele's tough-on-crime image. Bukele has increased attacks on critical reporting by multiple outlets, including through reported government harassment and tax investigations against El Faro.

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress have raised concerns about the reported interactions with gangs as well as measures to restrict freedom of the press. The latter critique adds to the concerns expressed in some Washington circles regarding Bukele's commitment to democratic institutions.

Please join the Wilson Center's Latin American Program on October 8th at 2 p.m. EDT as we host four experts to discuss the current situation in El Salvador and how the situation is viewed from the United States.

*Please note: This event will take place in English and Spanish. 

Hosted By

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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