{"code":"25747","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"4110","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202109\/el_salvador\/25747","link_edit":"","name":"The \u201cWorld\u2019s Coolest Dictator\u201d is Breaking with the US","slug":"the-ldquo-world-rsquo-s-coolest-dictator-rdquo-is-breaking-with-the-us","info":"El Salvador, in Brief: President Nayib Bukele pivots toward China as he grows isolated from the rest of the international community. Meanwhile, the United States struggles to maintain its political influence in the country. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"4110","pict":{"cms-image-000036365-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36365","name":"cms-image-000036365.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036365.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036365-jpg","text":"","capt":""},"cms-image-000036018-jpeg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36018","name":"cms-image-000036018.jpeg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036018.jpeg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036018.jpeg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036018-jpeg","text":"<p>Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele meets with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in December 2019. Photo: Noel Celis\/POOL\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ESalvadoran president Nayib Bukele meets with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in December 2019. Photo: Noel Celis\/POOL\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036408-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36408","name":"cms-image-000036408.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036408.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036408.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036408-jpg","text":"<p>President Nayib Bukele addressed the U.N. General Assembly remotely on September 23, 2021. Photo: Casa Presidencial official Twitter account<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EPresident Nayib Bukele addressed the U.N. General Assembly remotely on September 23, 2021. Photo: Casa Presidencial official Twitter account\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":36408,"date":{"live":"2021\/09\/24"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"09","data_post_dateLive_DD":"24","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong id=\"docs-internal-guid-7f0100a8-7fff-9f3b-7150-be1be20f1642\"\u003E\u003C\/strong\u003EOn Thursday, Bukele addressed the U.N. General Assembly with a clear message: his administration will move forward with its plans \u2014 widely considered authoritarian and even financially negligent\u00a0\u2014 \u003Cstrong\u003Eregardless of criticism from other governments and the human rights community.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cInstead of calling again for a refounding of multilateralism toward a new model in which we unite as nations to analyze and decide the path that we\u2019ll take, I\u2019m announcing the intention of my country, El Salvador, to take this new path \u2014 the path toward development,\u201d he said in a pre-recorded address intersticed with references to the human condition, Buddha, and the lessons of past civilizations. \u201cGod willing, we\u2019ll be an example for other countries.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cGod has already decided whether we will be successful,\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E he continued, invoking an image of himself as El Salvador\u2019s messiah that has become a common theme of his discourse. After his party took a supermajority in the legislature in February, he went as far as to change his Twitter bio to \u201cAn instrument in the hands of God.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2048&ImageHeight=1364&ImageId=36408\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"President Nayib Bukele addressed the U.N. General Assembly remotely on September 23, 2021. Photo: Casa Presidencial official Twitter account\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EPresident Nayib Bukele addressed the U.N. General Assembly remotely on September 23, 2021. Photo: Casa Presidencial official Twitter account\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETimes have changed since Bukele first appeared on the international stage. In 2019, \u003Cstrong\u003EBukele shocked the General Assembly by snapping a selfie at the podium.\u003C\/strong\u003E He then gave a distinctly millennial sermon on the power of the internet to reach citizens. In those early days of his presidency, the international press widely dubbed him the region\u2019s cool millennial president and fawned over his use of social media in political messaging and his promise to break away from El Salvador\u2019s bipartisan postwar era.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut now, as world leaders and the press are souring to his administration\u2019s consolidation of power and hostility toward dissent, \u003Cstrong\u003Ehe again rewrote his Twitter bio, this time ironically: \u201cThe coolest dictator in the world.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E Though many embraced the joke, civil society and human rights defenders did not find it so funny.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe cynical language that @nayibbukele resorts to is one more example of his contempt for those who constructively question him,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ErikaGuevaraR\/status\/1440094050477092866\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ErikaGuevaraR\/status\/1440094050477092866\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ewrote\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas on Twitter. \u201cIt is more \u201cprofitable,\u201d for his propaganda to respond with mocking, than to focus on building bridges of dialogue and designing serious public policies.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis new communications strategy comes after a rough few weeks for the Salvadoran government\u2019s usually dominant media apparatus. On the bicentennial anniversary of independence, El Salvador \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202109\/el_salvador\/25728\/Thousands-Defy-Bukele-on-El-Salvador\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202109\/el_salvador\/25728\/Thousands-Defy-Bukele-on-El-Salvador\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eweathered the largest anti-government protests since Bukele took office\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, as demonstrators condemned Bukele\u2019s cooptation of the Salvadoran state \u2014 with many outright calling him \u201cdictator\u201d \u2014 and the introduction of bitcoin as legal tender. Days before, Jean Manes, the U.S. Embassy\u2019s top interim official, \u003Cstrong\u003Ecompared him to Hugo Ch\u00e1vez\u003C\/strong\u003E and asserted that Salvadoran \u201cdemocracy is in decline.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=1440&ImageHeight=380&ImageId=36365\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-eae32466-7fff-5c48-5451-c13acf87c941\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThen, just this week, the U.S. State Department named the five Supreme Court magistrates illegally appointed by legislators from Bukele\u2019s party on May 1 as part of the Engel list of corrupt Central American officials, arguing that they had subverted the Salvadoran constitution by ruling that Bukele can seek reelection in 2024. Already included on the list are four senior officials in his administration.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong id=\"docs-internal-guid-679a04fa-7fff-45dc-db80-f460ae91d81f\"\u003EFriends Come and Go\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhen Manes left her first stint as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from 2016 to 2019, Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/web.archive.org\/web\/20200521072432\/https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1144405912288976896\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/web.archive.org\/web\/20200521072432\/https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1144405912288976896\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that \u201cthousands of ambassadors may come, and we\u2019ll work with them 100%, but we\u2019ll never have another Jean Manes.\u201d (He has recently deleted the tweet.)\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESince the change of U.S. administration, Bukele has gone from posting photos of lobster dinner with Trump-appointed ambassador Ron Johnson to comparing U.S. criticism of his administration to a guest meddling at the dinner table.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIf you invite a friend into your home, he can bring a gift, something to go with the meal, bring nothing, or bring something small or symbolic. \u003Cstrong\u003EWhat he can\u2019t do is want to show up and make the rules in your home,\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E he \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1440852604163018765\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1440852604163018765\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E on Wednesday. \u201cYou\u2019re better off not inviting him back.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESince Manes\u2019s return to El Salvador at the beginning of June, U.S.-Salvadoran relations have become rickety at best. By then, the U.S. government was already using many diplomatic levers to try to reverse the decision to remove the Constitutional Chamber judges. On May 21, USAID \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.usaid.gov\/news-information\/press-releases\/may-21-2021-usaid-redirects-assistance-salvadoran-government-institutions-civil-society\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/www.usaid.gov\/news-information\/press-releases\/may-21-2021-usaid-redirects-assistance-salvadoran-government-institutions-civil-society\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eannounced\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E it would cut funding to Salvadoran government institutions involved in the judges\u2019 removal.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhen the long-awaited Engel list was published in July, \u003Cstrong\u003Efour senior Bukele officials and two former ministers were included, sending a strong message to Bukele\u003C\/strong\u003E that the U.S. was not conflict-adverse. The U.S. drove the message home on Monday when it added the five Constitutional Court magistrates, illegally appointed by Bukele\u2019s party, to the list.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EManes said in an interview Tuesday with widely viewed and influential TV interview program Frente a Frente that the U.S. believes other members of Bukele\u2019s government have also engaged in corruption. \u201cIf we have evidence, if we\u2019re right, \u003Cstrong\u003Ewe can put more names on the list\u003C\/strong\u003E at any moment and show the immediate consequences,\u201d she said.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-38249e62-7fff-1bee-50da-4a1bd0515d01\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn Monday, in a clear response to the Engel list additions, Bukele\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/mobile.twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1440049278685044741\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/mobile.twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1440049278685044741\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cWe\u2019re nobody\u2019s backyard.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E In a speech before diplomats on Sept. 15, he accused the international community of financing protests against him that day, and of fomenting dissent in general. In July, when the Engel list was first published, he\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1410710273669881858\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1410710273669881858\"\u003E \u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eretweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E with a winking emoji a comment that pointed out Honduran President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez was excluded.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt seems to be no coincidence, then, that government news outlets have recently published articles highlighting hits to Biden\u2019s popularity following the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn July, a State Department official \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25586\/State-Department-Accuses-Four-Senior-Bukele-Officials-of-Corruption.htm\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25586\/State-Department-Accuses-Four-Senior-Bukele-Officials-of-Corruption.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etold\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E El Faro that the Engel list \u201ccomplicates relations with the Northern Triangle, but in the long term it makes clear to the governments of the region that actions have consequences.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENearly three months later, these efforts have not yet materialized. \u003Cstrong\u003EIt\u2019s unclear whether relations with Bukele are salvageable.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp id=\"docs-internal-guid-ac3cacbb-7fff-0fae-f1d1-a51421d7328f\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENeither Manes\u2019 public comments denouncing Bukele\u2019s policies and emphasizing the longstanding links between the two countries, nor her private interactions with the Bukele administration have been able to reel in his anti-democratic actions \u2014\u00a0or his defiant tweets.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut \u003Cstrong\u003Ethere is one country that Bukele has increasingly embraced: China,\u003C\/strong\u003E which has sent more than three million vaccines to El Salvador.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1389&ImageId=36018\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele meets with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in December 2019. Photo: Noel Celis\/POOL\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ESalvadoran president Nayib Bukele meets with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in December 2019. Photo: Noel Celis\/POOL\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the wake of the May 1 legislative coup, the Chinese embassy emphasized its commitment to the principle of non-interference \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ElFaroEnglish\/status\/1389325332524658688?utm_source=DB+El+Faro+_English&utm_campaign=f62e340aa4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-f62e340aa4-\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/ElFaroEnglish\/status\/1389325332524658688?utm_source=DB+El+Faro+_English&utm_campaign=f62e340aa4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-f62e340aa4-\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ein a tweet\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, saying it believes \u201cthe Salvadoran people are capable and wise enough to handle their own internal affairs.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAfter the State Department released a preliminary list of corrupt officials in May, \u003Cstrong\u003EBukele \u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/news.trust.org\/item\/20210518183250-apl3k\/\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/news.trust.org\/item\/20210518183250-apl3k\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epraised\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E China for its aid \u201cwithout conditions.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJust this week, Chinese ambassador Ou Jianhong quickly offered to put up the money to cover rebuilding costs after a fire consumed the popular Miguelito Marketplace in San Salvador.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong id=\"docs-internal-guid-d52551c5-7fff-d4b6-db08-e978e5f1a074\"\u003ENicaragua's Model\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele seems to be following the blueprint of his Nicaraguan counterpart, Daniel Ortega, in shrugging off international criticism of his anti-democratic actions. In the face of increasing international condemnation after their deadly crackdown on protesters in 2018, Ortega and wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo have refused to back down, going as far as imprisoning or placing on house arrest all legitimate opposition candidates in the run-up to November presidential elections.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis week in a congressional hearing, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/sires.house.gov\/media-center\/press-releases\/congressman-sires-chairs-subcommittee-hearing-on-ortega-s-anti\" data-cke-saved-href=\"https:\/\/sires.house.gov\/media-center\/press-releases\/congressman-sires-chairs-subcommittee-hearing-on-ortega-s-anti\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ecalled for\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Congress \u003Cstrong\u003Eto approve tighter international economic sanctions against the Nicaraguan government\u003C\/strong\u003E, scolded the IMF for awarding $350 million to the Nicaraguan government to respond to the pandemic and hurricane season, and called for the suspension of Nicaragua from the Organization of American States and the reevaluation of its standing in the Central American Free Trade Act.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ERelations with the United States may have more strategic importance for El Salvador than for Nicaragua. \u003Cstrong\u003EAn estimated 2.3 million Salvadorans live in the U.S.,\u003C\/strong\u003E according to Pew Research Center. More than 200,000 have Temporary Protected Status and are still waiting for Congress to pass legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship. El Salvador\u2019s current fiscal situation makes it dependent on international loans, and the U.S. holds sway in the international financial system.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESources in Washington said this week that U.S. pressure on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to approve a new agreement with the country is certain from now on. The fund is preparing a new round of meetings with the Bukele government in the coming weeks, but analysts are beginning to think that Bukele \u2014 who just embraced Bitcoin as legal tender \u2014 \u003Cstrong\u003Eis planning to seek support for his model of progress outside the IMF\u003C\/strong\u003E as well.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIf Bukele\u2019s relations with the U.S. start to have consequences for Salvadorans \u2014 or even if Salvadorans just perceive it can make their lives harder than they already are \u2014 a reputation as a self-proclaimed \u201cdictator\u201d might not be so cool after all.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThanks for your time. 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