So El Salvador's president,
President Bukele is celebrating his recent landslide re-election victory.
But the interesting thing is that he's using his victory to call
out his international critics.
And I guess, quote unquote his haters.
Have you heard about this?
I've heard some good some not so good.
but also some people are just scared of,
they're afraid to talk about this.
You know, it's like a touchy subject.
I feel like you know,
we have our version one,
well, not our version but the,
the version, the media feeds us because we're not in El
Salvador. So we have that and then there's the actual people
living in El Salvador that have to,
you know, that they're going through this.
Yeah, it's just like I would love to hear what they
have to say how they feel here to explain what the people
of El Salvador want from their leader is Professor Parl Beg,
assistant professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and journalist Bianca
RAA from Puerto Rico.
Her latest documentary is a about President Bukele.
So thank you guys so much for joining us.
We really appreciate it.
Thank you for having us.
Professor, you recently posted about a survey to find out
what matters most to voters in El Salvador.
What did the survey results say?
Yes, I ran some models off of survey data collected
by Vanderbilt University called the America's Barometer.
And I looked at what issues Salvadoran voters care about the most
And what was interesting was that at the top of the
list was not gangs and crime,
which is what is mostly important in the news,
but rather the economy and unemployment by far,
Salvadoran voters were more concerned about those things.
Interesting. And it seems like we were talking earlier about
social media, like he seems to be really popular and there's
a lot of support for Bukele.
What's the story there?
Well, Prince Bukele is a publicist by background.
when I lived in El Salvador,
in San Salvador, I lived across the street from his Yamaha
dealership. So he is a businessman by background,
but his primary business has always been publicity.
So he was always very good at pr and especially at social
media and he uses social media,
especially Twitter, also Facebook to reach voters directly without going through
the media. And I wanted to ask,
Bianca, you were recently in El Salvador.
did you feel that residents actually support Bukele?
Yes, absolutely. It is true and obvious that Bukele is
enjoying overwhelming support in El Salvador and outside of El Salvador
However, there is this discomfort in some of these very same
communities that used to be victims of the gangs where they're starting
to see how the state of exception is affecting them directly and
how they starting to feel powerless when they cannot defend themselves when
they're accused of being gang members and they're brought to jail sometimes
for months. And what happens to anyone who is critical
of Bukele and his policies like the press community.
Well, it depends like the professor said,
Bukele has a contentious relationship with journalists.
I collaborated for this story with the independent newspaper,
El Faro. El Faro does not have a good relationship with
Bukele right now. What we're seeing is that these journalists have
become the target of attacks by the president.
He will either mock them,
he will not provide them interviews to be questioned for his
policies. And there is a concern that as Bukele remains in
power, that people who are critical of the government will
have less and less space to voice those opinions you mentioned right
now, he's a president.
However, I've seen that he called himself the world's coolest dictator
is that doesn't connect at least to my mind in my mind
Like what does he mean by that?
Well, Bukele has been accused of becoming a dictator and
those accusations come from the fact that he now controls all three
branches of government his party has control of the legislature
But also when his party you know,
became had so many members in the legislature,
they started replacing judges.
So the concern here is that he has consolidated power in a
democracy is being dismantled.
And I wanted to ask Professor,
what are some challenges that El Salvador and its people continue
that is entirely based on his security policy,
which has involved locking up 75,000 people arbitrarily without charge.
And and basically flooding the streets with with police
He has been far less capable when it comes to steward
of the economy. Salvadorans have been seeing inflation go up
prices rise. The country is deeply in debt and the government
is reliant on foreign financing which is say loans from abroad to
continue operating. So I think we will see how long the
president's popularity can, can last based purely on security
a lot there, but I feel like going scratching the surface
but we want to thank you for your time.
We'll obviously follow this closely and hopefully we can have you both
back soon. But before we let you go,
where can people find you on social or you know,
any websites, blogs,
stuff like that? Well,
tiktok on social media as my name Bianca Rolo Bianca Gura.
So you can find me there and I'm primarily on Twitter
also blue sky at MP A ARLB er GM PBG,
right. Well, there you have it guys,
make sure to check them out and obviously,
keep following with us and we hope we see you guys soon
Thank you for your time.
Thank you very much.