Large banners, rallies, and political flags may not be present, but President Nayib Bukele’s image can be seen on merchandise at the Excuartel Artisan Market in San Salvador as he becomes the favorite for Sunday’s reelection. Vendors showcase Bukele’s popularity with cups, t-shirts, caps, keychains, and more.
Oscar Martínez, 54, recently bought a blue t-shirt featuring an image of Bukele giving a speech. Martínez, an air conditioner maintenance worker, enthusiastically supports the president.
Bukele, 42, has a chance for reelection after the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution, allowing a second five-year term. Polls predict a landslide victory, with left-wing and right-wing opponents polling in the single digits.
Gloria de Echeverría, 53, sees a significant demand for Bukele-related merchandise. Ana Hernández, 67, agrees, noting that people love him and consider him a good president.
Bukele’s 90% popularity, according to the 2023 Latinobarometer, stems from his war on gangs. However, human rights activists claim this is based on arbitrary detentions and abuses due to the state of exception in place since March 2022. Analysts and human rights groups also warn about Bukele’s control over the government and his autocracy in El Salvador. Despite these concerns, Martínez and Echeverría remain untroubled and continue to support the president.
Key Takeaways From Article
1. Visit the Excuartel Artisan Market in the historic center of San Salvador to find various souvenirs and merchandise featuring President Nayib Bukele. The market vendors take advantage of the president’s popularity, offering items like cups, t-shirts, caps, keychains, watches, paintings, clay dolls, aprons, and plaster piggy banks.
2. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere surrounding the upcoming elections in El Salvador. Even though there are no large banners or rallies, the excitement among the locals is palpable. Take part in conversations about the political landscape and learn about the impact of Bukele’s presidency on the country.
3. Learn about the history-making achievements of President Nayib Bukele during your visit. He is regarded highly by many in El Salvador and has implemented significant changes, such as the modern library built with a loan from China, which is popular among locals and serves as a symbol of progress.
4. Understand the political context in El Salvador before forming an opinion. While Bukele enjoys a high popularity rate and is seen as a positive force for change by many, human rights activists and certain groups express concerns about the state of exception in force and the concentration of power in the president’s hands. Stay informed about all perspectives to have a well-rounded view.
5. Explore the historic center of San Salvador, where the Excuartel Artisan Market is located. The area has undergone renovation, and street vendors have been displaced. Witness the transformation and appreciate the efforts made to revitalize the district.
6. Engage in conversations with locals to get a better understanding of their perspectives on Bukele’s leadership. While opinions may vary, engaging in respectful discussions will broaden your knowledge and allow you to appreciate the diversity of viewpoints in El Salvador.