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El Salvador

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele gestures during his speech at the closing ceremony of the Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference at Mizata Beach, El Salvador, on Nov. 20, 2021.
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele gestures during his speech at the closing ceremony of the Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference at Mizata Beach, El Salvador, on Nov. 20, 2021.

El Salvador’s Scramble for a Bailout

With top officials beset by U.S. sanctions, the country’s IMF negotiations are bound to get complicated.

Salvadoran national civilian police prepare to go out on patrol, in conjunction with the armed forces, following the government’s declaration of state of emergency in San Salvador on March 27.
Salvadoran national civilian police prepare to go out on patrol, in conjunction with the armed forces, following the government’s declaration of state of emergency in San Salvador on March 27.

The Open Secret of Government-Gang Talks

El Salvador’s lull in homicides was likely the result of such negotiations. They’d be far from Latin America’s first.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington on Dec. 6.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington on Dec. 6.

The Democrat’s Playbook

Biden’s Summit for Democracy must go on the offensive.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele gestures in front of a huge screen that reads "Bitcoin City."
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele gestures in front of a huge screen that reads "Bitcoin City."

Bitcoin Failed in El Salvador. The President Says the Answer Is More Bitcoin.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele is spinning new projects as fast as he can.

A Chivo Wallet Bitcoin ATM burns in San Salvador.
A Chivo Wallet Bitcoin ATM burns in San Salvador.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law Is a Farce

The system doesn’t work, the currency crashed, and the public hates it.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele

El Salvador’s President Is Pioneering Hustle Bro Populism

Nayib Bukele has turned Bitcoin and Twitter into political tools.

López Obrador speaks in Mexico City
López Obrador speaks in Mexico City

Mexico’s López Obrador Is Pulling an Erdogan on Biden

By reducing U.S.-Mexican relations to migration, Biden is letting himself be played—and ignoring a crisis south of the border.

Protesters in Honduras hold banners.
Protesters in Honduras hold banners.

Want to Counter Authoritarianism in Central America? Follow the Money.

The United States lacks reliable partners in the region. Here’s how to hold them accountable.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele

El Salvador Is Printing Money With Bitcoin

Nayib Bukele doesn’t want to ditch dollars. He just wants his own.

A man wrapped in a Guatemalan flag takes part in a march.
A man wrapped in a Guatemalan flag takes part in a march.

Biden’s Top Priority in Central America Is Fighting Corruption. That’s an Uphill Battle.

In the last few years, as politicians, judges, and other campaigners were stymied, the political will to fight graft has eroded.

Newly appointed attorney general Rodolfo Delgado is sworn in during the first plenary session of the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador, on May 2.
Newly appointed attorney general Rodolfo Delgado is sworn in during the first plenary session of the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador, on May 2.

In Central America, Rule of Law Is Under Attack. El Salvador Is the Latest Victim.

El Salvador’s populist president is following the playbook of corrupt elites in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras when it comes to top courts.

Children attend the funeral of Rubelsy Tomas Isidro, a Guatemalan migrant murdered alongside 18 other people in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas last month, in Comitancillo, Guatemala, on March 13.
Children attend the funeral of Rubelsy Tomas Isidro, a Guatemalan migrant murdered alongside 18 other people in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas last month, in Comitancillo, Guatemala, on March 13.

Biden Rethinks Central America Strategy

Corrupt local elites thwarted some engagement efforts of the past decade, Biden’s new special envoy wrote.

A Salvadoran police officer guards a crime scene where a member of the National Civil Police was allegedly killed by gang members, in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on Oct. 17, 2017.
A Salvadoran police officer guards a crime scene where a member of the National Civil Police was allegedly killed by gang members, in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on Oct. 17, 2017.

El Salvador’s Homicide Rate Hit a Historic Low in 2020

But the reasons behind the drop are unclear, and broader security and economic reforms are urgently needed.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele poses for a selfie with a supporter after voting during parliamentary and local elections in San Salvador,  Salvador, on Feb. 28.
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele poses for a selfie with a supporter after voting during parliamentary and local elections in San Salvador, Salvador, on Feb. 28.

In El Salvador, Broken Promises Have Forced the Establishment Out

In Sunday’s legislative elections, voters overwhelmingly backed a popular president promising change, despite criticisms of democratic backsliding.

A street vendor wears as mask a message of support for Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele in San Salvador on May 1, 2020.
A street vendor wears as mask a message of support for Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele in San Salvador on May 1, 2020.

New Ideas and Old Risks in El Salvador

President Nayib Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party prepares for an electoral sweep.

Virginia Flores shows a picture of Camila Díaz Córdova as she waits outside the Attorney General's office in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Feb. 23, 2019.
Virginia Flores shows a picture of Camila Díaz Córdova as she waits outside the Attorney General's office in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Feb. 23, 2019.

El Salvador’s Justice System Takes on a Historic Case

Transgender rights activists say the prosecution of Camila Díaz Córdova’s death as a hate crime is an advance, although LGBTQ citizens continue to face discrimination and abuse.

IG-flugscham-flying-shame-decoder-germany-climate-martina-flor
IG-flugscham-flying-shame-decoder-germany-climate-martina-flor

The Words That Explained the World in 2019

A look at terms from India and El Salvador to South Korea and Ukraine.

A man faces a member of the Canadian police as he carries baggage as he crosses the U.S.-Canada border on Feb. 26, 2017, in  Champlain, New York.
A man faces a member of the Canadian police as he carries baggage as he crosses the U.S.-Canada border on Feb. 26, 2017, in Champlain, New York.

Is Canada Violating Its Constitution by Sending Refugees Back to the United States?

A federal court case could stop Ottawa from treating the United States as a safe third country due to the Trump administration’s harsh policies toward asylum-seekers.

An inmate in solitary confinement looks out of his cell at the Penal San Francisco Gótera, one of the only mixed-gang prisons in El Salvador, on Nov. 8, 2018. The facility houses members of MS-13, La 18, Mao Mao, and Mirada Loca.
An inmate in solitary confinement looks out of his cell at the Penal San Francisco Gótera, one of the only mixed-gang prisons in El Salvador, on Nov. 8, 2018. The facility houses members of MS-13, La 18, Mao Mao, and Mirada Loca.

A Nation Held Hostage

The rival gangs MS-13 and La 18 control or influence every facet of life in El Salvador, making the small Central American nation the world’s most dangerous place outside a war zone.

Nzeyimana Consolate arrives carrying her baby at the Nyabitara transit site, among other Burundian refugees, on Oct. 3, 2019 in Ruyigi, Burundi. Nearly 600 Burundians who fled political violence in their home country to Tanzania were repatriated voluntarily, the U.N. refugee agency  said.
Nzeyimana Consolate arrives carrying her baby at the Nyabitara transit site, among other Burundian refugees, on Oct. 3, 2019 in Ruyigi, Burundi. Nearly 600 Burundians who fled political violence in their home country to Tanzania were repatriated voluntarily, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Sending Refugees Back Makes the World More Dangerous

Repatriating refugees to dangerous countries violates international law and breeds conflict, instability, and future crises. Regional work visas and long-term integration into host countries are more promising solutions.

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