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El Salvador: Diaspora and Solidarity Organizations Around the World Reject Bukele’s Presidency in El Salvador as “Illegitimate”

Salvadorans in six countries, and five U.S. cities, demonstrated on June 1, as Nayib Bukele was inaugurated for a second term in El Salvador, to make clear they “do not recognize [his presidency] since it is the result of unconstitutional and illegitimate elections.” The Salvadoran constitution contains multiple prohibitions consecutive presidential terms, even “[obliging] insurrection” if the principle of alternance of power is violated.

An emcee at a rally in front of the Salvadoran Embassy in Washington, DC said, “We’re out here to show that not all Salvadorans voted for Bukele, despite what he claims in order to justify his illegal actions.” Bukele called his win on February 4 the biggest “in all the democratic history of the world,” though the 2.7 million votes he received represent just 43% of eligible voters.

Together with faith and solidarity organizations, Salvadorans in DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ottawa, Mexico City, Bogota, Buenos Aires and Oslo, expressed outrage over systemic abuses under the State of Exception, including the warrantless arrests of 80,000 people and the confirmed deaths of over 300 people in state custody, as well as persecution of human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents.

On May 30 and 31, in anticipation of demonstrations planned for inauguration day, police arrested leaders of the National Alliance for a Peaceful El Salvador, a broad coalition that emerged to defend democracy in the face of Bukele’s consolidation of power. 

“Bukele’s policies,” said groups who joined the International Day of Condemnation, “mirror the repression experienced by the Salvadoran people during the years of civil war that forced thousands of Salvadorans, including many of us and our families, to flee El Salvador to cities across the United States and around the world.” 

They also warned that Bukele’s politics of austerity and deference to big business has led to rising poverty, and a new wave of displacement. Recent census data show that over 67% of working Salvadorans earn less than $400 per month. 

At the DC rally, looking down the street to the White House, Consuelo Gomez, the U.S. coordinator for the Movement of Regime Victims (Movimiento de Víctimas del Régimen, MOVIR) and mother of two sons “disappeared” within El Salvador’s prisons, made a personal call to President Biden: “We know that your government knows of the kidnapping and deaths of our children and families in Bukele’s jails - and it shames us that your government decided to participate in the inauguration of a new dictator in El Salvador.”

Similarly, Ana Sol Gutierrez on behalf of the Salvadoran Nation Abroad (Nación Salvadoreña en el Exterior), called on “the governments of the world and international organizations not to recognize the Bukele government, which arrived illegally and unconstitutionally to power,” a sentiment echoed by the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean (Conferencia Permamente de Partidos Politicos de América Latina y el Caribe, COPPPAL), representing more than 70 political parties in the region. COPPPAL’s May 31 resolution called on governments around the world to “suspend all military and financial support to a regime that maintains a permanent State of Exception against the population.” 


For photos and video clips (English and Spanish), as well as copies of full statements (English and Spanish) by participating organizations, please visit contact