A week ago, a photo from El Salvador circulated that looked like something out of the Cold War — soldiers armed with M-16s occupying the country’s Legislative Assembly. It was all the more striking coming from a country that emerged a quarter-century ago from a devastating civil war and became a model for negotiated peace.
If the occupation was a throwback, it was also tailored for the social media era. El Salvador’s millennial president, Nayib Bukele, tweeted his demands beforehand, calling on the assembly to pass a bill to secure financing for his security plan. He took a selfie with a crowd of supporters before marching in with troops. Then he addressed the mostly empty chamber, warning that he could “press the button” at any moment and dissolve the legislature.
Bukele then announced that God had told him to give the legislators another week. As of Sunday, he has taken no further action. What’s going on in El Salvador? Here’s what you need to know.