Thu Feb 22, 2024
February 22, 2024

On the False Enmity Between Salvadoran President Bukele and the United States

By Plataforma de la Clase Trabajadora, El Salvador

“I had an excellent meeting with Nayib Bukele. We talked about promoting foreign investment in El Salvador”- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols

Now I’m going to hit you, but it won’t hurt. Now it’s your turn… They pretend they are fighting, that’s how we might summarize Bukele’s relationship with the North American empire. In recent weeks, we have witnessed what some have called a “softening of the U.S. government” toward the Bukele government in El Salvador. In order not to be deceived, it is worthwhile to keep in mind some important elements.

Bukele Has Been Loyal to the Yankees from the Beginning

It seems that Bukele has more affinity with U.S. Republicans than with the Democrats. Rather, he has more affinity with those who represent the U.S. far right. For instance, recall that the recently elected Salvadoran president went to the Heritage Foundation, the headquarters of one of the most conservative organizations in the United States, where he gave a speech in which he refrained from questioning the anti-immigration policy of Donald Trump (then U.S. president) because he wanted to avoid “getting into a fight with our biggest ally.”

When the Democrats came to power, Bukele tried to distance himself from the U.S. government and even launched diatribes that seemed to challenge U.S. empire. While U.S. government officials first in a veiled manner and then openly and confrontationally criticized Bukele’s various decisions in El Salvador.

Despite their game of false enmity, the United States has not stopped “supporting” Bukele and his followers with different types of “aid.” For example, on May 27, 2020, a report was published by the U.S. State Department recognizing the government of El Salvador as a guarantor of human rights. According to the Trump administration’s analysis at the time, El Salvador met nine criteria defined by Congress as requirements for receiving $540 million in aid, along with Guatemala and Honduras.

The Pro-Yankee Policy Continues

We can point to four recent phenomena to confirm:

 A law that allowed the imprisonment of journalists or anyone who “transmitted news about gangs” was repealed. At the time when the law was passed, it was used to clamp down and prevent the free exercise of journalism that was inconvenient to the Salvadoran regime.

On the day he filed for re-election, Bukele said that the United States and El Salvador were friends and partners, thus softening his inflammatory speech against the Biden administration.

Brian Nichols, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, visited El Salvador and met with Bukele. During his visit, he said that “the issue of re-election is something that deserves debate,” but that it was up to the Salvadoran people to debate and decide whether or not to allow re-election. This contrasts with the harsh criticism that the U.S. government has openly voiced about Bukele’s intentions to continue his time in power.

The Biden administration’s visit from the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago to El Salvador announced the intention to turn El Salvador into a technological hub, which would imply U.S. “investment” in the country to make it a “regional technological center” with a “solid digital regulatory environment.”

Imperialism to the Rescue of its Enclave in Central America

This is what is motivating the intentions of both Bukele and the Biden administration.

Bukele has failed with his bitcoin experiment, which he hoped would provide him with funding that would make him less dependent on the United States. His relationship with China has also failed to produce the expected economic returns. Salvadoran debt continues to grow, and the financing options of the Salvadoran government are very limited. There is talk again of considering an agreement with the IMF for up to $1.3 billion, with the “adjustments” that the Fund requires of the government, which would only make the conditions of the working class more precarious.

For its part, the U.S. government sees Bukele as an escape valve for the social pressures that could create imbalances in Central America. But Washington also sees Bukele’s El Salvador as part of its regional agenda for two reasons: immigration and the construction of a digital wall against the influence of China and Russia. So, it is not surprising that they have recently started to charge people coming from 56 African countries an airport improvement fee of $1113.00 just to pass through the airport. This is an effort to curb migration. We all know that the last stop for these migrants is not El Salvador but the United States, and the Bukele government serves as a bloodhound against African migrants.

Therefore, it is clear that the Bukele-Biden administrations are not enemies. Regardless of whether they like each other, both will seek alliances that will allow capitalism to continue exploiting the working people, either in El Salvador or in the United States.

The working class must continue to experience and discover that Bukele is not its ally and that the U.S. is not coming to eliminate Bukele. It must trust in the ability of the working class to organize and mobilize, because only its strength can liberate it from the yoke of its oppressors. To achieve this, it is necessary to bet not on elections, but on the construction of the political instrument of the working class and the peoples of Cuzcatan, whose goal is not to win elections, but to organize the class and the people and to lead their struggles until the overthrow of capitalism is complete.

For the Construction of the Political Instrument of the Salvadoran Working Class and People!!!!

San Salvador, November 24, 2023

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