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Bukele Extends State of Emergency in El Salvador

The measure has been in effect uninterrupted since March 2022, when the Salvadoran president promised to eliminate the gangs

The state of emergency in El Salvador has popular support. Photo: EFE | Confidencial

Agencia EFE

7 de junio 2024


The Congress of El Salvador, dominated by the ruling party Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas), approved on Thursday, June 6, the twenty-seventh extension of the state of emergency, the first during Nayib Bukele’s second term, to which he was inaugurated last Saturday.

With 57 votes from the 60 deputies, Nuevas Ideas and its allies automatically extended the measure, without prior debate. It suspends several constitutional rights and under which authorities make arrests without warrants.

This new extension comes despite Bukele’s inaugural speech claim that he has cured the “cancer” of gangs, and that El Salvador is the “safest” country in Latin America, despite criticisms of the accuracy of his figures.

“There are still criminal groups operating in the country,” states the decree approved without debate.

This state of emergency was the most popular measure of Bukele’s first term (2019-2024) and ensured his immediate reelection, despite the constitutional prohibition.

According to a survey by the University Institute of Public Opinion of the Jose Simeon Cañas Central American University (UCA), currently, 79.4% of the population believes that the state of emergency protects them, while when it had been in effect for six months, that figure was 48%.


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Statistics of the State of Emergency

In more than two years, there have been over 80,000 arrests of alleged gang members and individuals linked to these groups.

However, humanitarian organizations have received over 6,000 reports of human rights violations, mainly for arbitrary detentions and torture, and report around 240 deaths of detainees in state custody.

Entities such as Amnesty International warn that in impoverished communities, gang violence has been replaced by state violence.

The measure, which has become the main and the only one against gangs in El Salvador, was approved after the murder of more than 80 people by the gangs on a weekend in March 2022, which according to investigations by the local media El Faro, occurred due to the breakdown of a pact between the Government and the criminal gangs.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


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Agencia EFE

Agencia EFE

Agencia de noticias internacional con sede en Madrid, España. Fundada en Burgos durante la guerra civil española en enero de 1939.