El Salvador

Two decades after the end of its civil war, El Salvador has been trying to limit the influence of criminal gangs that control large portions of the country. Once afflicted by the world’s highest murder rate, the country now sees fewer homicides, but the gangs have tightened their grip upon turf where they run extortion rackets and exercise other forms of social control. Every year, the dangers of daily life push tens of thousands of Salvadorans to hazard the journey north to the U.S. border. Through its fieldwork and advocacy, Crisis Group presses for crime prevention, rehabilitation and socio-economic reform policies that can make El Salvador a safer place to live.

CrisisWatch El Salvador

Unchanged Situation

Bukele was sworn in for second presidential term, promising economic growth and clampdown on corruption; authorities again renewed state of exception. 

Bukele vowed to improve economy and tackle corruption in inauguration speech. Bukele was sworn in as president 1 June despite ban on consecutive re-election in El Salvador’s constitution. CID Gallup poll 11 June indicated Bukele’s popularity rating stood at 92%, highest of all Latin American leaders. In his inauguration speech, Bukele promised to focus on strengthening economy and fighting corruption. Several international representatives attended ceremony, including Argentina’s President Milei and Donald Trump Jr.; high-level delegation led by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and other senior U.S. officials also attended, reflecting shift toward more conciliatory approach in U.S. policy, likely due to concerns about immigration ahead of U.S. presidential election. 

Authorities once more renewed state of exception. Legislative Assembly 6 June extended state of exception for 27th time, with 57 out of 60 members voting for renewal despite concerns about human rights. Meanwhile, authorities 11 June transferred 2,000 inmates to El Salvador’s mega-prison, el Centro de Confinamiento para el Terrorismo, now at 40% capacity; total prison population stands at 108,200.

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In The News

20 Giu 2024
[El Salvador's president] Bukele has been able to effectively reduce [non-state] violence through authoritarian measures because he has full control of the main state ins... Vox

Renata Segura

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean

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