El Salvador is Central America’s smallest, most densely populated country. Though homicides have declined in recent years, the country’s street gangs, known as maras, still dominate many communities — subjecting Salvadorans to threats, extortion and sexual violence. Since peace accords ended civil war in 1992, the country has changed from a military-dominated regime to a relatively open society with competitive elections, independent judges and investigative media outlets. USIP will work to protect these fragile gains by supporting civil society organizations dedicated to reducing polarization, preventing conflict and building resilient communities.

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El Salvador’s Bukele: From ‘World’s Coolest Dictator’ to ‘Philosopher King’

El Salvador’s Bukele: From ‘World’s Coolest Dictator’ to ‘Philosopher King’

Thursday, February 8, 2024

By: Mark Feierstein;  Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.;  Ricardo Zúniga

El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, celebrated a landslide electoral victory on Feb. 4, far outstripping his nearest competitor. “The opposition was pulverized,” Bukele told jubilant crowds outside the National Palace on election night. In reply to critics who warn that El Salvador is moving toward authoritarianism, he proclaimed, “we are not substituting democracy because El Salvador has never had democracy.” The leader who once called himself the “world’s coolest dictator” now boasts of being his country’s “philosopher king.”

Type: Analysis

Global Elections & ConflictGlobal Policy

Un avance sobre las elecciones de 2024 en América Latina

Un avance sobre las elecciones de 2024 en América Latina

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By: Lucila Del Aguila Llausas;  Nicolás Devia-Valbuena;  Mark Feierstein;  Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

En los últimos años, el sentimiento anti-oficialista se ha apoderado de la mayoría de América Latina, moviendo el péndulo electoral hacia la izquierda en México, Colombia, Honduras y Brasil, trastocando las coaliciones corruptas que durante mucho tiempo han gobernado en Guatemala y entregando la presidencia de Argentina a un autoproclamado "anarcocapitalista". Sin embargo, el 2024 podría resultar ser un buen año para los candidatos del oficialismo. En los cinco países con elecciones este año —El Salvador, Panamá, República Dominicana, Uruguay y México—, los aspirantes de los partidos gobernantes, al menos hasta ahora, encabezan las encuestas.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Elections & Conflict

A Preview of 2024 Elections Throughout Latin America

A Preview of 2024 Elections Throughout Latin America

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By: Lucila Del Aguila Llausas;  Nicolás Devia-Valbuena;  Mark Feierstein;  Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

Anti-incumbent sentiment has gripped much of Latin America in recent years, swinging electoral results leftward in Mexico, Colombia, Honduras and Brazil, upending the corrupt coalitions that have long ruled Guatemala, and handing the presidency of Argentina to a self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist.” But 2024 may prove to be a good year for establishment politicians. In the five countries with elections on the calendar — El Salvador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Mexico — insider candidates are polling ahead, at least so far.

Type: Analysis

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Elections & Conflict

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