The day the Commander-in-Chief militarized Congress

Víctor Peña y Carlos Barrera

The afternoon of February 9 will forever be remembered in Salvadoran history. The day is without precedent, even counting the years of Civil War. Following orders from President Nayib Bukele, the army took over the Legislative Assembly's facilities. Soldiers equipped with long weapons, helmets, and bulletproof vests usurped the country's legislative body even before Bukele walked into the main congressional chamber surrounded by cadets from the Military School. He walked in and sat on the chair reserved for the head of Congress, not the nation's president.  "It's very clear now who's in control of this situation," Bukele said to a room where only 31 out of 84 members of Congress stood. And then he proceded to pray. Once that was done, he left the Blue Room, surrounded again by soldiers, and returned to a stage outside to tell his followers that God asked him to be patient. Bukele then told the crowd that he would give legislators one more week to approve the $109 million loan he's demanding for his security plan. Behind him, he left an unforgettable scene: soldiers and riot police in charge of the nation's legislative body.