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In an interview with José Luis Sanz for El Faro, Santiago Canton, director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, speaks about the situation of democracy in El Salvador and the recent ruling from the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber authorizing consecutive presidential reelection.
Comments from Santiago Canton:
“Debating whether or not El Salvador is a democracy makes no sense anymore. The Chamber’s decision is clearly unconstitutional. It contradicts Bukele’s own statements on a reelection ban, as well as his vice president’s frequent opposition to reelection. But above all, it’s unconstitutional and conflicts with a recent advisory opinion issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that rejects unlimited reelection.”
“A week ago, nobody in the international community ventured to unequivocally state that there is an institutional breakdown in El Salvador. But add in the events of May 1, the dismissal of one-third of the country’s judges, and now allowing consecutive presidential re-elections, which is clearly unconstitutional — that does it… The biggest mistake made by the Inter-American community in recent decades has been its slowness to take action.”
“Article 20 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter must be invoked against El Salvador. Also, the United States must get tougher and have an explicit policy on such matters with international financial organizations. But the United States alone won’t be able to solve anything. The United States continues to be the most destabilizing or stabilizing influence in the region, depending on how you look at it. But it is not enough. The rest of Latin America must join in. It would be useful for everyone to understand that El Salvador is already like Nicaragua. We’ll see what happens — there will be either total paralysis or nations will come to their senses and start treating Nicaragua and El Salvador the same. If not, we’ll be opening the door to a serious inter-American crisis of democracy.”