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Gellman on Salvadoran President’s Dismantling of Democracy: Jacobin and The Dialogue

Mneesha Gellman, Associate Professor of comparative politics in the Marlboro Institute of Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies, writes in Jacobin that the State of Exception instituted by recently re-elected Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele in March 2022 has meant that the working classes have traded gang violence for a police state.

“Safety for some in El Salvador is paid by those who have been detained under the state of exception and their families and communities. … Many human rights workers and community members I spoke with said they were staying quiet, either out of appreciation for Bukele’s policies or out of fear of being denounced themselves for voicing opposition.”

In The Dialogue‘s Latin American Advisor, Gellman responds to a question about what ramifications can be expected from Bukele’s New Ideas party consolidating a supermajority in El Salvador’s legislature.

“From being able to indefinitely extend the State of Exception, which has
authorized a police state and undermined the human rights of detained people, to allowing further violations of constitutional rules, including those governing presidential re-election, the supermajority gives Bukele carte blanche to govern at his whim,” she writes.

Gellman will speak on “El Salvador’s Presidential Elections and the Future of Democracy” on Friday, March 29, in an online event hosted by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

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