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Nayib Bukele achieves second term in El Salvador, putting press freedom at risk

Bukele will become the first president to govern El Salvador for a second consecutive term, since the current Constitution prohibits immediate re-election in several of its articles.

Nayib Bukele triumphed in the presidential elections in El Salvador and consolidated his power with 70 percent of votes counted, with the support of more than 1,600,000 voters.

"This day, El Salvador has broken all the records of all democracies in the entire history of the world," said Bukele upon learning the first results on Sunday night.

Bukele will become the first president to govern El Salvador for a second consecutive term, since the current Constitution prohibits immediate re-election in several of its articles. However, the judges of the Constitutional Chamber, in which Bukele's party has a majority, made an interpretation that cast doubt on giving the green light to his candidacy.

In El Salvador there is a press that is afraid to report what is really happening, leading it to self-censorship, since they are very afraid of the reprisals that the government may have, said Natalia Borrero, coordinator of strategic alliances at the Foundation for Freedom. press release, in a talk with Manuel Ortiz during the Península 360 Radio program in collaboration with Marcos Gutiérrez from «Hecho en California".

Natalia Borrero was in El Salvador with some organizations defending freedom of expression and the press, carrying out accompaniment and observation work during the elections.

Nayib Bukele achieves second term in El Salvador, putting press freedom at risk
Natalia Borrero, coordinator of strategic alliances at the Foundation for Press Freedom.

"At some point, what was called the gag law had been established, in which journalists could not talk about the gangs because they could be imprisoned or criminalized. They already lifted it but they sent some messages," Borrero commented when talking about the local press.

He highlighted that, with the implementation of reforms, independent media that receive financing through international cooperation were prevented from having it, generating a risk in what can happen in civil and constitutional matters. 

Speaking of reprisals in the Bukele government, La Prensa Gráfica, one of the traditional and historical newspapers, has received judicial harassment for documents, which causes them to feel suffocated, generating uncertainty among journalists, Natalia Borrero explained.

?On the day of the speech, imagine the number of people who were in favor of Bukele's government, when he attacks the journalists, that could have ended very badly in attacks, even physical, but it was only a booing of the press, although we know that it begins with these smear campaigns on social networks that can lead to physical attacks on journalists in El Salvador,” added the defender.

The speech he gives when he proclaims himself president also focuses on an episode that had happened a few hours before, in which he called a press conference, where Salvadoran journalists, neither traditional nor critical media, were not allowed to speak. , only to international media, where the responses extended the speech that Bukele had already prepared, making his intentions clear.

"He not only attacks the press, but also civil society organizations," added Borrero.

Likewise, he explained that the other candidates did not have financial support, or in any way, and that what is generally felt is an apparent tranquility, but that when observing reality, one can notice the regime of fear, where everyone It's scary to give a comment. 

?Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are key to restoring democracy, not only in El Salvador but in all countries in the world. The greatest risk now is that this possibility of being free to associate, to protest and express ourselves, will be lost, so that democracy will be increasingly eroded? Borrero concluded.

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