Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies
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Colombia University, Center for Mexico and Central America Studies
This paper examines the current democratic breakdown in El Salvador, identifying factors and events in the country from 2019 to 2022 that have led to democratic backsliding, the process by which democracy as a political system loses traction. Indicators of backsliding show that El Salvador’s shared characteristics of liberal democracy — free and fair electoral procedures accessible to all; freedoms of the press, to assembly, and to express political opinions; the rule of law; and basic human rights protections — are in peril. Given the events of the last several years under President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s regime more closely resembles democratic failure facilitated by populist authoritarianism rather than one of democratizing momentum that it embodied in the first part of the twenty-first century.
Gellman, Mneesha. (2022) “El Salvador’s Democracy in Crisis.” Colombia University, Center for Mexico and Central America Studies, Expert Paper Series.
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