Sunday 24 September 2023

Salvadorans take to the streets to stop the start of the Bukele dictatorship

"This democracy is weak but it has cost us a lot of blood and we are going to defend it," said a young woman who participated in the protest.

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Q24N – The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced on Monday the possibility of continuing with the removal of officials, two days after Congress, dominated by his allies, dismissed the constitutional magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Attorney General.

The mask became an instrument of protest in El Salvador. (Photo by Marvin Recinos / AFP)

“The people did not send us to negotiate. They are leaving. Everyone,” the president wrote on Twitter this Monday without specifying which officials are still in the sights of parliament.

On Saturday, May 1, after the new unicameral Legislative Assembly was installed, where Bukele’s allied parties have a majority with 61 of the 84 seats, he proceeded to dismiss the five magistrates and alternates of the Constitutional Chamber, and immediately appointed their replacement.

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The Constitutional Chamber, whose mission is to ensure compliance with the Magna Carta, had contained several presidential measures related to the handling of the pandemic, most of them on exceptions because it considered that they violated fundamental rights of citizenship.

The attorney general, Raúl Melara, was also removed from office, and lawyer Rodolfo Delgado was appointed in his place at dawn.

The dismissed magistrates and prosecutor Melara had been elected by the previous legislature that dominated the traditional parties Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena) and the former leftist guerrilla of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN).

Both Arena and the FMLN alternated in power in El Salvador between 1989 and 2019.

“Here it took us 30 years to throw out the regime that had us in misery, corruption, insecurity, and hopelessness,” Bukele stressed.

The president also appeared to respond to international criticism of attempts to concentrate power.

The message from the protesters is clear. (Photo by Marvin Recinos / AFP)
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“If the opposition wins in Nicaragua, they would vacate the Court and the Sandinista Prosecutor. If the opposition manages to win in Honduras, they would vacate the Court and Prosecutor of JOH (Juan Orlando Hernández). If the opposition wins in Venezuela, they would vacate the Court and Prosecutor of Chavismo. I mean, based on the balance of forces,” said Bukele.

For the dismissal of the officials, Bukele received censorship from the United States government, the Organization of American States (OAS) and humanitarian organizations, among others.

On Sunday, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, expressed “deep concern” of her government “for the democracy of El Salvador”, after the dismissal of magistrates.

“An independent judiciary is critical to a healthy democracy and a strong economy,” Harris wrote on Twitter.

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Read also: Ousting of El Salvador’s Top Prosecutor Imperils Rule of Law

Protests in the streets

But apparently, Bukele’s voice is not that of the people, this Sunday hundreds of Salvadorans took to the streets to protest.

According to ElSalvador. com, at the Monument to the Constitution in San Salvador the first demonstration was organized against the coup that the ruling legislative bench, under orders from the Executive, gave to the democratic institutions of El Salvador.

The protesters protested against what they identify as early signs of a dictatorship in the country. They also consider that on Saturday the country was dealt a coup.

“This democracy is weak but it has cost us a lot of blood and we are going to defend it,” said a young woman who participated in the protest.

Salvadorans do not want one person to assume all power. (Photo by Marvin Recinos / AFP)

“We are here to say no to the coup, no to the dictatorship,” she repeated.

“Repression and censorship are signs of a fascism to which we are not willing to return ever again,” added another group that participated in the protest at the first blow to democracy in the new legislature.

“We are moved precisely by the pain of seeing the direction of the dictatorship to which we are going,” added another young woman who accessed the microphone installed on the platform of the monument. Likewise, she summoned the various groups in protest for Thursday in the Legislative Assembly. “We are not afraid of them”, are some of the reactions published by the newspaper.


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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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