It’s been a while since I’ve thought about an election in El Salvador. Nevertheless, the voters in that small Central American nation are poised to return their president in a landslide. Yes, they love the guy who beat the gangs in El Salvador and made the country safe for grandmothers to walk peacefully to the neighborhood bodegas.
This is his amazing story:
El Salvador goes to the polls on Sunday to choose a president. Public opinion surveys indicate there will be a landslide victory for Nayib Bukele, the 42-year-old incumbent who has jokingly called himself the “world’s coolest dictator.” He’s known for his leather jackets, social media savvy and stunning offensive against the country’s gangs.
Interesting, but I’ve never heard anyone from El Salvador call him a dictator. They do like his cool look and his public image. Again, no one has called him a dictator or anything negative in my presence. Instead, they praise his work in bringing law and order to a country in turmoil for a long time.
As the article points, he dazzles his countrymen talking about bitcoin or hosting the Miss Universe pageant, and for the “mega-prison” holding 40,000 gang members.
His decision to go after the gangs, and the support it has among Salvadorans, confirms that the president understands who the victims are. In other words, the gang’s victims are the poor, and especially the women who live in villages. The rich can take care of themselves, but the poor can’t hire guards or have trained dogs protecting their homes. President Bukele understands that, and that is why he will be re-elected in huge numbers.
So what can the cool president with a lovely wife teach us or other Latin American countries? I would say that the lesson of El Salvador is that people want safe streets and don’t mind it when the leader smacks the lawless gangs.
I guess I’d be casting my vote for President Bukele if I lived in El Salvador.