Thirty-eight-year-old populist President Nayib Bukele has drawn attention to the complicated sociopolitical problems facing the smallest country in Central America, El Salvador. Wielding Twitter as his greatest political tool, President Bukele’s flagrant use of military forces for undemocratic means and uncouth behavior towards the United Nations General Assembly has successfully captured the attention of scholars, activists, and politicians alike. Despite President Bukele’s attention-grabbing stunts and claims of revolutionary change, his presidency illuminates trends in El Salvadoran leadership which have produced generations of human rights noncompliance and socioeconomic failings. The six presidents who have led El Salvador in the postwar period have each utilized the military against civilians and protected state agents of political violence from prosecution. I argue that while there has been measurable progress towards increased human rights compliance and poverty reduction, sweeping change will not happen in El Salvador unless new leadership has the willingness to confront decades of governmental corruption and military abuse.
The Road to a Democratic Future for El Salvador © 2021 by Sarah Guggemos is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0