{"code":"25804","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"1634","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202110\/centroamerica\/25804","link_edit":"","name":"Does God Support Corrupt Leaders?","slug":"does-god-support-corrupt-leaders-","info":"Central America, in Brief: Presidents and lawmakers in Guatemala and El Salvador have pivoted toward religious rhetoric and policymaking in response to increased public scrutiny. The Salvadoran legislature cited the Bible while striking down a partial decriminalization of abortion this week, following the footsteps of Ortega\u2019s alliance with conservative Nicaraguan churches since returning to power in 2007. The phenomenon may also spread to Costa Rica, set to hold presidential elections in February. 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":"1634","pict":{"cms-image-000036537-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"36537","name":"cms-image-000036537.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036537.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036537.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036537-jpg","text":"<p>\u201cYou're the man that God has sought for this country,\u201d Pastor Romel Guadr\u00f3n of Iglesia Esp\u00edritu de Vida told presidential candidate Nayib Bukele on December 8, 2018. \u201cBelieve me that I haven't annointed anyone else. This time is different; I felt it in my heart.\" Photo: Arysbell Arismendi\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003E\u201cYou're the man that God has sought for this country,\u201d Pastor Romel Guadr\u00f3n of Iglesia Esp\u00edritu de Vida told presidential candidate Nayib Bukele on December 8, 2018. \u201cBelieve me that I haven't annointed anyone else. This time is different; I felt it in my heart.\" Photo: Arysbell Arismendi\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"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":""}},"pict_main__sort":36537,"date":{"live":"2021\/10\/21"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2021","data_post_dateLive_MM":"10","data_post_dateLive_DD":"21","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis week in Guatemala, legislators chose a new president of Congress, Shirley Rivera, a \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/politica\/shirley-rivera-el-respeto-a-nuestras-autoridades-va-a-hacer-la-diferencia\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ebacker\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E of proposals to curb the self-determination rights of trans children and teens and to promote \u201creligious freedom,\u201d has also supported some of President Alejandro Giammattei\u2019s controversial policies, including the \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25607\/As-Pandemic-Pummels-Guatemala-Government-Stalls.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Estate of emergency\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E amid mass calls for his resignation.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn her acceptance \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/raulbarreragt\/status\/1450242901372547074\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Espeech\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, she quoted a passage from the Bible urging citizens to submit to their government. \u201cIn Guatemala, the majority of the population is Christian and we have put our faith in God,\u201d she said. \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cWhen we respect our leaders, we are respecting God, who puts kings in their place and removes them.\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EGiammattei has also recently appealed to Guatemalans\u2019 faith. In July, he promised to pass the religious freedom law to enshrine \u201crespect for life-from-conception and family\u201d in government institutions. \u201cWe\u2019re a country of faith,\u201d he said in a \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/politica\/alejandro-giammattei-asegura-que-firmara-la-ley-de-libertad-de-religion-breaking\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Evideo\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E statement. His predecessor, Jimmy Morales, also sought \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/201908\/centroamerica\/23562\/C%C3%B3mo-Jimmy-encontr%C3%B3-el-negocio-de-la-impunidad-en-Jerusal%C3%A9n.htm?st-full_text=all&tpl=11\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ealliances\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E with evangelical groups in the U.S. and Guatemala to shield himself from the fallout of corruption scandals.\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EGrowing Influence of Protestantism\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2019, an investigation by the Latin American Center of Journalism Investigations (CLIP) in which El Faro participated, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.elclip.org\/lideres-evangelicos-amparados-por-la-casa-blanca-exportan-agenda-fundamentalista-a-america-latina\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Erevealed\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that powerful evangelical leaders linked to Trump\u2019s White House were expanding their political influence in Latin America.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Catholic Church has historically been the most important religious institution in Latin America and about 90 percent of the region identified as Catholic up until the 1960s. But other forms of Christianity, some of which promote hardline and unwavering anti-abortion policies, have been growing rapidly since the 1980\u2019s. In El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, between 36 to 41 percent of the population identify as Protestant, the most in Latin America, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.pewforum.org\/2014\/11\/13\/religion-in-latin-america\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ereport.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EHistorian Carlos Malamud identifies a few \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/www.realinstitutoelcano.org\/wps\/portal\/rielcano_en\/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=\/elcano\/elcano_in\/zonas_in\/latin+america\/ari131-2018-malamud-political-expansion-evangelical-churches-latin-america\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ekey factors\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E contributing to the rise in Protestants, including the Catholic church\u2019s alignment with political and economic elites, the social and spiritual distance from the region\u2019s most marginalized communities, and repression against the liberation theology movement within and outside the Catholic Church. This \u003Cstrong\u003Edisenchantment helped open the door for increased religious competition\u003C\/strong\u003E in Central America from Evangelical, Mormon, Jehovah\u2019s Witness, and other predominantly U.S.-based branches of Christianity.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\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=1333&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\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMany Central Americans have also been drawn to the \u201cgospel of prosperity,\u201d the idea preached by some Evangelical and other Christian churches that wealth will come to those who follow God. The message of these churches has struck a chord in the context of growing disenchantment with traditional political elites, writes Malamud in an \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/www.realinstitutoelcano.org\/wps\/portal\/rielcano_en\/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=\/elcano\/elcano_in\/zonas_in\/ari131-2018-malamud-political-expansion-evangelical-churches-latin-america\"\u003Earticle\u003C\/a\u003E for the Spanish think tank Elcano Royal Institute.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the 1990s, transitions to democracy after armed conflicts tried to reduce the influence of religion on Central American politics, echoing global trends. Yet, the increase in Protestantism has still \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/revista.drclas.harvard.edu\/evangelicals-in-latin-american-politics\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eaffected\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E politics in the region and \u003Cstrong\u003Epropelled policies to restrict access to abortion, promote \u201cfamily values,\u201d or limit LGBT rights\u003C\/strong\u003E that appease a powerful part of the electoral base.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEl Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras are among the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/maps.reproductiverights.org\/worldabortionlaws?category[294]=294\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003E16 countries\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in the world to ban abortion under all circumstances. Guatemala only allows abortion when the pregnancy poses a risk to the expecting mother\u2019s life.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EBukele\u2019s changing stance\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis week, the Nuevas Ideas-controlled Congress rejected a new proposal to partially decriminalize abortion in El Salvador when the mother\u2019s life is at risk, in the case of rape, and when the fetus has no chance of survival. El Salvador enacted its total abortion ban in 1998.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe rejection contradicts Bukele\u2019s previous stance on El Salvador\u2019s total abortion ban. In 2013, as mayor of Nuevo Cuscatl\u00e1n for the left-wing FMLN party, Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/324982191882911745\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ecriticized\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E \u201cdefenders of life\u201d who opposed a life-saving abortion for a Salvadoran woman named Beatriz, and accused them of \u201cfanaticism.\u201d The recent reform was named for Beatriz after the 2013 case.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBut in September,\u003Cstrong\u003E facing mounting pressure because of the Bitcoin Law, a crackdown on judges, and controversial constitutional reforms\u003C\/strong\u003E, Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/m.facebook.com\/nayibbukele\/posts\/411021887049287\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ewrote\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E on Facebook that he did not support legalizing abortion in any case\u003Cstrong\u003E.\u003C\/strong\u003E A previous draft of constitutional reforms included language that would have potentially opened the door to decriminalize abortion and protect LGBT rights, but the passages were removed.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cI\u2019ve decided, so that there is NO DOUBT, TO NOT PROPOSE ANY TYPE OF REFORM to ANY ARTICLE that has to do with the RIGHT TO LIFE (from the moment of conception), marriage (maintaining only its original design, A MAN AND A WOMAN), or euthanasia,\u201d he wrote.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESince winning the presidency, Bukele has entered into a \u003Cstrong\u003Erelationship of \u201cpolitical convenience\u201d with certain Evangelical leaders\u003C\/strong\u003E, according to Salvadoran feminist activist Morena Herrera. \u201cIt\u2019s a process of mutual utilization. The pastors use him, but he also uses them,\u201d she told El Faro English. Bukele drums up his voter base or redirects attention away from his corruption cases and weaker proposals. Pastors push their conservative agenda against abortion and LGBT rights.\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=1333&ImageId=36537\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"\u201cYou're the man that God has sought for this country,\u201d Pastor Romel Guadr\u00f3n of Iglesia Esp\u00edritu de Vida told presidential candidate Nayib Bukele on December 8, 2018. \u201cBelieve me that I haven't annointed anyone else. This time is different; I felt it in my heart.\" Photo: Arysbell Arismendi\/El Faro\" \/\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\u201cYou're the man that God has sought for this country,\u201d Pastor Romel Guadr\u00f3n of Iglesia Esp\u00edritu de Vida told presidential candidate Nayib Bukele on December 8, 2018. \u201cBelieve me that I haven't annointed anyone else. This time is different; I felt it in my heart.\" Photo: Arysbell Arismendi\/El Faro\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 May, when new legislators took office in El Salvador, one of their first actions was to dismiss two proposals protecting LGBT+ and women\u2019s rights. \u201cAs the new government consolidates its authority, those of us who belong to disadvantaged populations will suffer more violence and more discrimination, and will be left without a state to protect us,\u201d wrote trans rights activist Bianka Rodr\u00edguez in \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202105\/columns\/25509\/The-Day-Nuevas-Ideas-Rejected-Our-Right-to-Be-Trans.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EEl Faro\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn July, Nuevas Ideas and allied legislators \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.laprensagrafica.com\/elsalvador\/Diputados-aprueban-que-frase-Puesta-nuestra-fe-en-Dios-sea-incluida-como-simbolo-patrio--20210721-0015.html\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eapproved\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E a reform to \u003Cstrong\u003Einclude the phrase \u201cPlacing our faith in God\u201d in rooms in the Legislative Assembly building\u003C\/strong\u003E. A week before, Salvadoran First Lady Gabriela de Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/PresidenciaSV\/status\/1415878703809187847\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eannounced\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E a proposal for the \u201cBorn with Care'' law to improve health care for newborn babies and mothers. The language echoed conservative rhetoric about united families in a country where more than \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.cbsnews.com\/news\/miscarriages-abortion-jail-el-salvador\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003E140 women\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E have been imprisoned for abortion-related crimes since 1998.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ENicaragua route spreads to Costa Rica?\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the face of protests and upcoming elections, other Central American leaders have also doubled down on their religious rhetoric.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn Honduras, as Nov. 28 elections approach, the ruling National Party of President Juan Orlando Hern\u00e1ndez has \u003Cstrong\u003Eramped up its religious rhetoric against leading opposition candidate\u003C\/strong\u003E Xiomara Castro, who has said she would decriminalize abortion.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cWe declare ourselves absolutely against abortion and all of the bad Hondurans who want to promote a perverse agenda and try to convert our country into a land covered in the blood of innocent babies,\u201d the party \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/pnhonduras\/photos\/pcb.4631234213575384\/4631234143575391\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ewrote\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in a September statement.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe National Party, which has ruled Honduras since a 2009 coup, is hoping to overcome major corruption scandals to put Tegucigalpa mayor Nasry \u201cTito\u201d Asfura in the presidential office in the November elections. Castro is now the main challenger after she \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202110\/centroamerica\/25791\/Game-Changing-Electoral-Alliance-in-Honduras.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ejoined her ticket\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E with another opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn January, the Honduran Congress \u2014 led by the National Party \u2014\u00a0 \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/article\/us-honduras-constitution-idUSKBN29R03D\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eapproved\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E amendments to the constitution that \u003Cstrong\u003Emake it nearly impossible for the country to loosen its bans on abortion and same-sex marriage.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn Nicaragua, catering to conservative religious interests has helped President Daniel Ortega maintain his grip on power. Ortega\u2019s \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/foreignpolicy.com\/2018\/08\/03\/nicaraguas-catholic-church-made-a-deal-with-the-devil\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eshift\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E from atheist during the 1980s and 1990s towards portraying himself as a devout Christian helped buoy him to the presidency in 2007. Since then, he has increased his religious rhetoric: In 2016 he ran on the slogan, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/world\/2016\/nov\/04\/nicaraguas-first-couple-daniel-ortega-tighten-grip-power-election-win\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003E\u201c\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EChristian, socialist, solidarity\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EFollowing the 2018 protest movement, the Ortega family \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.laprensa.com.ni\/2019\/04\/29\/nacionales\/2545654-regimen-ortega-murillo-ahora-es-evangelico\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eturned\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E to the Evangelical church to rehabilitate its image. \u201cIt\u2019s a game where the only thing that is clear is that they don\u2019t have principles or ideology,\u201d lawyer and former Nicaraguan congressman Eliseo N\u00fa\u00f1ez told Nicaraguan outlet La Prensa in 2019. \u201cTheir objective is to remain in power.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EEven in Costa Rica, which in 2018 became the first country in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage, \u003Cstrong\u003Econservative religious groups may mount a competitive candidate in presidential elections\u003C\/strong\u003E on February 6. In 2018, the backlash from conservative religious groups against an Inter-American Court ruling ordering Costa Rica to legalize same-sex marriage \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.opendemocracy.net\/en\/democraciaabierta\/is-democracy-in-danger-in-costa-rica-too\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Enearly propelled\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Evangelical pastor Fabricio Alvarado to the presidency.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHis popular candidacy also sparked fierce resistance, including from women who dressed in red robes in allusion to the TV show The Handmaid\u2019s Tale, where fertile women live enslaved in a modern-day patriarchal regime. Former labor minister Carlos Alvarado Quesada, who campaigned in favor of complying with the international court ruling, ultimately \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2018\/04\/01\/world\/americas\/costa-rica-election-alvarado-quesada.html\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etook the presidency\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThanks for your time. If you\u2019ve gained from our reporting, consider \u003Cstrong\u003Efunding independent journalism in Central America\u003C\/strong\u003E, for the price of a coffee a month, at \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\"\u003Esupport.elfaro.net\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E"}