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HomeCentral AmericaEl SalvadorBukele Calls El Salvador's Gang Crackdown a Miracle

Bukele Calls El Salvador’s Gang Crackdown a Miracle

President Nayib Bukele labeled the gangs operating in El Salvador as “satanic” and considered it a “miracle” to have pacified the country by imprisoning more than 80,000 of their alleged members. He made these statements in an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, aired this Wednesday.

“As the organization (criminal) grew, it became satanic. They started doing satanic rituals,” Bukele asserted about his fight against the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs in the Central American country.

He mentioned that the “official formula” for the success of his “war” against these criminal groups was that he managed to strengthen the police and double the army, but that the true key was that it was a “miracle.” “In a couple of weeks, the country was transformed,” he defended.

“We are safer than any other country in the Western Hemisphere, and if I had said this five years ago, people would have called me crazy. This was literally the most dangerous country in the world,” he noted. The president recalled that in March 2022, the gangs began attacking and “killed 87 people in 3 days, which for a country of 6 million people is madness.”

After this escalation of violence, Bukele asked Congress to decree a state of emergency, which after 27 months is still in effect with more than 80,000 alleged gang members captured. This measure, which allows detentions without a court order, is criticized by human rights organizations for the detention of “innocents who suffer” in prison.

For three decades, the gangs subjected the population to extortion, created a parallel state, and according to official figures, committed 120,000 homicides, more than the 75,000 deaths caused by the civil war (1980-1992). Bukele argued that these organizations killed “anyone to generate terror” and clarified that “(the state) has no intention of attacking anyone other than the gang members.”

The president commented that the gangs emerged in the 1980s on the streets of Los Angeles in the United States and then arrived in El Salvador, “grew,” and have a presence in Italy, Guatemala, Honduras, and in cities across the United States. Asked in the political realm if he believes Donald Trump will win the presidential elections in November in the United States, Bukele responded: “Well, yes, he can win,” recalling the difficulties he himself faced for the 2019 elections in El Salvador.

Tucker asked him for advice for a former president seeking re-election who might face a criminal conviction, as is the case with Trump. “If there is no way to prevent his candidacy, everything they do will give him more votes,” Bukele considered.

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