A year ago, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, convened the Legislative Assembly, controlled by pro-government forces, to vote in favor of an emergency decree that would be in force for 30 days, and whose purpose was to reduce gang-related violence. . Since then, the state of emergency has been extended 12 times, implying the suspension of constitutional guarantees and, according to some international organizations and NGOs, human rights abuses by the country’s security forces.
90% of the 60,000 or 66,000 arrests of people have been for prolonged periods in pretrial detention and there is no opportunity for the judge to hear their cases. The massive arrival of detainees has caused the Central American country to be the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world, which is added to the opening of the mega prison called the ‘Terrorism Confinement Center’.
The actions, the figures and the procedure have turned this emergency measure into an entire security strategy, which in the eyes of many citizens works, the figures for the reduction in violence support it. But, for others, it comes at a high cost. One that ranges from the violation of human rights to complaints of overcrowding and mistreatment.
The strategy is beginning to gain followers not only in El Salvador, as many political and social sectors in other countries in the region have begun to look at the measure in detail, analyzing its possible implementation in other territories. Understanding that insecurity and violence in general is a problem that afflicts all Latin American countries and there has been no right or left government that has effectively combated it.
Is El Salvador’s strategy the formula to combat violence? One year after the state of emergency was declared, we discussed its lights and leftovers. We also investigate how this has translated into the popularity ratings of President Nayib Bukele. We address it together with our guests:
– Eva Lardizábal, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Latin America.
– Abraham Abrego, director of the Strategic Litigation program of the NGO Cristosal.
– Carlos Andrés Arias Orjuela, professor of the master’s degree in Political Communication at the Externado de Colombia University.
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