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Security & Strategic Review - May 2022

Gang crackdown in El Salvador reignites democracy concerns

A crackdown on gangs, which was instigated in late March by the Nuevas Ideas (NI) government led by President Nayib Bukele in response to soaring homicides, is sparking major democracy and human rights-related concerns. The surge in violence has again cast doubt on Bukele’s flagship security plan, Plan Control Territorial (TCP) which he previously credited with the hitherto drop in homicides. Meanwhile his government’s response – the declaration of a state of emergency, suspension of constitutional guarantees, and mass arrests accompanied by legislative reforms widely considered repressive - have reignited existing fears regarding Bukele’s authoritarian tendencies.

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