The president of El Salvador on Dec. 12 accused the U.S. government of funding the “communist” opposition against him in order to destabilize his government.
“US taxpayers should know that their government is using their money to fund communist movements against a democratic elected (and with a 90% approval rating) government in El Salvador,” President Nayib Bukele, who won the presidential election in 2019, wrote on Twitter.
“It’s not working though,” Bukele added, posting four pictures below his comment, including one aerial picture to purportedly show the protest against him on Dec. 12 wasn’t widely attended.
The other pictures posted by Bukele include protesters holding U.S. flags and show nearby alleged supporters of the left-wing opposition party Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).
The FMLN conducted guerrilla warfare against the U.S.-supported government during the Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992). It currently holds four seats in the 84-seat Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, whereas Bukele’s party, Nuevas Ideas, holds 56 seats.
The Dec. 12 protest against Bukele was meant to denounce “corruption, political persecution, lies, and the harmful policies of the fascist government of Bukele the dictator,” according to an FMLN official.
It’s unknown what concrete information Bukele has to link the United States to the opposition.
In an earlier tweet on Dec. 12, the Salvadoran president wrote, originally in Spanish: “The United States Government makes a conceptual error: You cannot raise a dead person, no matter how many millions of dollars are invested. El Salvador does not want to go back to the past.”
Bukele’s accusations about U.S. meddling come after the U.S. Treasury targeted high-level Salvadoran officials for alleged corruption on Dec. 8 and 9.
The Treasury stated in a press release that Bukele’s administration provided money to the criminal organizations MS-13 and Barrio 18 in 2020 to reduce gang violence.
The two officials who led the negotiations with the gangs, Osiris Luna Meza, chief of the penal system, and Amilcar Marroquin, vice-minister of justice and public security, are among those who received sanctions.
Bukele’s chief of Cabinet, Martha Carolina Recinos De Bernal, has also been targeted by the Treasury. She allegedly awarded millions of dollars in inflated contracts related to the pandemic, which provided kickbacks to Salvadoran officials and some of Bukele’s advisers.
Bukele wrote on Twitter, originally in Spanish: “These daily accusations seem absurd. I didn’t know they were so interested in El Salvador. Perhaps what they want is to correct the ‘bad example.’”
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as its legal tender along with the U.S. dollar in September, and Bukele intends to develop the country into a crypto hub and build a “Bitcoin City” financed by issuing Bitcoin bonds.
Despite controversies, Bukele’s approval ratings are very strong, with two polls in December showing 93.5 and 96 percent approval in his management of the pandemic.