El Salvador president trolls Ilhan Omar after far-left ‘Squad’ member warned he was threatening ‘democratic values’ – despite his massive popularity after bringing down the murder rate by locking up cartel thugs
El Salvador voters are likely to re-elect their current president, Nayib Bukele, but not before he’s done with a simple Internet effort with team member Ilhan Omar.
Bukele, who fondly calls himself the “world’s coolest dictator,” sparred with the progressive lawmaker last week after she posted on X about “threats to democracy” in El Salvador.
The Central American leader, 42, has spent his time in power cleaning up crime in his country and ensuring the notoriously high murder rate fell by locking up tens of thousands of violent gang members.
His tenure as head of nation is likely to continue thanks to an overhaul of the judiciary he carried out, in which he replaced judges with personal supporters who ruled he could run for a second term despite a previous constitutional ban on doing so.
Omar and others criticized Bukele for endangering “democratic values” in his country through his dramatic criminal lock-up and re-election grab, which was previously deemed unconstitutional.
As such, Omar posted on the social media platform that he led members of Congress by sending a letter to @SecBlinken urging action against threats to democracy in El Salvador.
“The State Department must review its relationship with El Salvador and defend democratic values. The Salvadoran people deserve free and fair elections without fear of repression.’
Omar is full letter was co-signed by a handful of equally progressive lawmakers, including Texas Reps. Joaquin Castro and Greg Casar, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, California Rep. Barbara Lee, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, and DC shadow Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Bukele responded to Omar’s post with a message that has been viewed at least 8.5 million times:
‘We are HONORED to receive your attacks, just days before OUR election.
“I will be very worried if we have your support. Thank you (praying hands emoji),’ he wrote.
A community note that appeared under Omar’s post read in part that Bukele won the country’s most recent election in 2019 with a 54 percent majority and currently has a 91 percent approval rating due to his radical crackdown on gang violence.
In a video he posted on social media, Bukele told the voters of his country that “the opposition will be able to achieve its true and only plan, to free the gang members and use them to return to power.” , if he is not elected. .
After his party came to power in the national congress two years after his election, Bukele introduced changes that essentially allowed him to declare war on the gangs in his country.
El Salvador, once called the ‘murder capital’ of the world, has become significantly safer as Bukele has squeezed gang members by the hundreds into the country’s enormous prison system.
The country, which has declared itself the ‘safest in South America’, says its homicide rate dropped by 94 percent after gang crackdowns began.
Group member Ilhan Omar posted on X that she led a mostly progressive group of lawmakers to reach out to the State Department about the legitimacy of El Salvador’s upcoming election
El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, reacted sharply to Ilhan Omar’s criticism of his country’s democratic process
El Salvador now has the largest prison population per population in the world
More than 75,000 alleged gangsters have been imprisoned by the Bukele government
Human rights organizations have warned of overcrowding and ‘serious conditions’ at the Center for the Containment of Terrorism (CECOT)
Members of the MS-13 and 18 gangs remain in an overcrowded cell at the Quezaltepeque prison, in Quezaltepeque, El Salvador
In September, Bukele told the UN General Assembly: ‘We are no longer the death capital of the world and we have achieved this in record time.’
‘Today we are a model of security and no one can doubt that. There are the results. They are irrefutable.’
El Salvador’s gang problem dates back to the civil war of the 1980s.
As Latin American refugees fled to America, the MS-13 and Calle 18 gangs formed on the streets of Los Angeles. When the war ended, those from El Salvador returned to their homeland. With them they brought their gang ties, rivalries and violence.
Currently, Calle 18 is believed to have approximately 65,000 members worldwide, while MS-13 has between 50,000 and 70,000. As their numbers grew, their influence spread.
Thousands of members of both groups fought and died for the crown of Central America’s most powerful gang, which profited from crimes such as sex and drug trafficking, racketeering, money laundering, extortion and kidnapping.
Bukele in an attempt to deal with the problem, he has little time for his international critics, complaining those who “said nothing when these criminals killed scores of Salvadoran men and women, but they jumped to attention when we started arresting them and say that we are violating their rights.’
The energetic leader’s methods have been so successful and made him so popular that other South American countries, including Honduras and the Dominican Republic, with their own gang problems hope to replicate the model.