Weekly Report - 19 March 2020 (WR-20-11)

EL SALVADOR: Bukele takes bold steps to prevent spread

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele declared a national state of emergency last week in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Bukele is not alone in the region in taking such a move. However, it raised eyebrows as at the time there had been no confirmed cases of the virus in the country, with the first case only announced on 17 March. Bukele’s decisive action has been well received by some but the suspension of civil liberties comes as his apparent willingness to take authoritarian steps - as evidenced in his recent deployment of the military to pressure legislators [WR-20-06] - is fuelling concern among human rights activists.

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