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El Salvador’s Bukele offers to ‘fix’ chaos-torn Haiti

Bukele, 42, is wildly popular at home and across Latin America for his crackdown on gangsters, even as rights activists raise alarm over arbitrary arrests and inhumane prison conditions
Bukele, 42, is wildly popular at home and across Latin America for his crackdown on gangsters, even as rights activists raise alarm over arbitrary arrests and inhumane prison conditions - Copyright AFP AHMAD GHARABLI
Bukele, 42, is wildly popular at home and across Latin America for his crackdown on gangsters, even as rights activists raise alarm over arbitrary arrests and inhumane prison conditions - Copyright AFP AHMAD GHARABLI

El Salvador’s gang-busting President Nayib Bukele said Sunday he can “fix” the spiraling crisis in Haiti, where criminal groups have unleashed havoc in recent days.

Bukele, 42, is wildly popular at home and across Latin America for his crackdown on gangsters, even as rights activists raise alarm over arbitrary arrests and inhumane prison conditions.

“We can fix it,” Bukele wrote in English on X Sunday, sharing a post about the collapse of Haiti.

“But we’ll need a UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolution, the consent of the host country, and all the mission expenses to be covered.”

The presidential press office later wrote that Bukele was “referring to the political and social situation that Haiti is going through.”

However, no further details were given on how Bukele proposes to aid the desperately poor Caribbean nation.

Long-troubled Haiti has plunged further into despair in recent days as armed groups, which already control much of Port-au-Prince as well as roads leading to the rest of the country, launched a wave of attacks in a bid to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Henry was in Kenya when the violence erupted and is now reportedly stranded in the US territory of Puerto Rico.

CARICOM, an alliance of Caribbean nations, has summoned envoys from the United States, France, Canada and the United Nations to a meeting Monday in Jamaica to discuss the violence.

Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali said the meeting would take up “critical issues for the stabilization of security and the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance.”

In El Salvador, Bukele launched a war on gangs in March 2022, with a state of emergency suspending the need for arrest warrants, among other civil liberties.

Under the provision, authorities have rounded up some 75,000 suspected gangsters, many of them locked away in a prison — the largest in the Americas — that Bukele had specially built.

At least 7,000 were later released.

Bukele was reelected with more than 80 percent of the vote in February and is widely credited with slashing homicides to the lowest rate in three decades.

His tactics have been praised and emulated by crime-weary authorities from Ecuador to Argentina.

This week he re-tweeted several posts featuring images of shirtless and subdued prisoners in Argentina’s most violent province, where a governor has adopted a Bukele-style crackdown on gangs.

AFP
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