07 May 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

Bukele against the Baron de Montesquieu

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Nayib Bukele, the young president of El Salvador, the smallest republic in Latin America, has been in power for just over two years. It is said that he has 90% of the popular support in his country. He was elected in February 2019. He is a young man who put an end to bipartisanship. For thirty years it seemed that the nation was politically standing on ARENA (right-wing) and the FMLN (left-wing). The first 20 years belonged to ARENA. The last 10 belonged to the FMLN.

In the recent elections that took place on Sunday, February 28, 2021, Bukele won 56 deputies out of a total of 84. El Salvador has a unicameral legislative system. When the 5 deputies of the allied party GANA are added, he gets 61 deputies. Impressive. ARENA got just 14 and the FMLN communists, 4. It is true that only half of those registered voted, but those who do not vote in open and transparent elections, such as those in El Salvador, validate with their absence what happened in the country. This remarkable victory is joined by success in the mayoralties. Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas) party also won by a landslide. Virtually all the departmental capitals (13 out of 14) and the municipalities that make up the Metropolitan Area of ​​San Salvador (12 out of 14) fell into Bukele’s territory.

Bukele will turn 40 next July. His adversaries accuse him of being an “anti-system populist.” There is something to that. The populist is a very showy variant of the usual demagogue, although, in his case, he has some distinctive peculiarities. His period in the presidency has served, for a start, to eliminate the strange idea that Salvadorans sympathized with the left. Most of them, in fact, do not sympathize with the status quo. Those hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans who struggle to make ends meet because their salary is not enough, think that Bukele will do justice and give them back what the usual politicians and the ruling class have stolen from them.

Will Nayib Bukele succeed? We may be dealing with a great salesperson with a knowledge of advertising and marketing. Hopefully he will succeed, but it is very difficult to transform a traditionally underdeveloped country like El Salvador. It takes a long time. In general, if there is a tailwind, it can take thirty or forty years. That’s the time that the Asian “dragons” or “tigers” needed, as well as China itself. Foreign investments are key, until enough national capital is accumulated, and investments come if there is a peaceful climate in the country.

It doesn’t have to do with the size of the nation. El Salvador has roughly the size and population of Israel. It is the people, but also the circumstance. I remember when Daniel Ortega assured that he intended to create a Sweden in Nicaragua, and I asked myself, in a very low voice, so that no one would hear me, where were the Volvos, Saab and Ikeas to achieve that feat. Or where was the patent law to build a type of society that was capable of leading the planet by collecting royalties generated by local inventions.

Furthermore, it may not be wise to absorb the Salvadoran judiciary, even if it is legal, even if it is less than satisfactory. Charles-Louis de Secondat, the famous Baron de Montesquieu, author of The Spirit of Laws, a book that has never ceased to be published, despite the fact that the first edition dates from 1748, recommended something essential to safeguard the republics –the separation of powers. Nayib Bukele had already conquered Parliament in the last elections. Did it make sense to also seize the Judiciary?

I don’t believe it. One must learn to rule under the judges’ watchful eye. In the United States, it seemed exemplary to me that 60 judges, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, examined the evidence of many lawsuits and found no traces of the fraudulent conspiracy denounced by supporters of Donald Trump, including justices of the Supreme Court, named by him with great fanfare. Reality is one thing, but fantasy is quite another.

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