Nayib Bukele: Bitcoin messiah of El Salvador | Trade and Economy

In June, El Salvador became the first country ever made recognizes cryptocurrency as legal tender, just days after millennial President Nayib Bukele – who defines himself on Twitter as “officially the most beautiful president in the world” – announced his fresh crypto-vision in a whirlwind of Bitcoin in Miami.

In September, all Salvadoran companies will be required to accept payments in Bitcoin and even in the US dollar, which was itself adopted in fury as the national currency in 2001 in similar dubious circumstances.

The new Bitcoin project dragged the Salvadoran legislature into five hours – which meant at least that Bukele would not have to send the national army and police into the palace to threaten lawmakers, as did so in February 2020 when he was not making his way.

Instead of addressing impoverished Salvadorans that their tax money and livelihoods will now be spent on an inconceivably volatile cryptocurrency, Bukele took to live a Twitter feed with two of his brothers to inform foreign investors about the property. in front of the beach and other perks that await them in the land of Bitcoin wonders.

In an article for the Salvadoran investigative magazine El Faro, economist Carlos Acevedo – former president of the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador – compared Bitcoinization to roulette in Las Vegas, and invoked the words represented by the mathematician Sir Isaac Newton of the seventeenth century: “I can calculate the motion of the stars, but not the madness of men.”

Incidentally, Bukele managed to combine themes of space and madness when, in April 2020, he updated his Twitter profile photo to an image of him masked in the face in a chair atop a spaceship. This was done shortly after he tweeted that “rumors of my abduction by foreigners are completely unfounded.”

At the very least, Bukele’s intergalactic antiquities served as a useful distraction from his terrestrial activities. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, these have evolved to embrace things like launching thousands of perceived quarantine violators into unhealthy containment centers – which, of course, have quickly become COVID points.

Adhering to the government’s tradition of tweeting – popularized by former US leader Donald Trump, whom Bukele once praised as “very nice and cool” – the Salvadoran leader used the social media platform to authorize the “use of lethal forceFrom soldiers and police against gang members who allegedly exploited the pandemic to do harm.

In a country already known for extrajudicial executions by law enforcement personnel, the presidential white paper has yielded predictable results. In one case, as a Bloomberg opinion piece said, “security forces confused a young woman who had gone shopping for a mother’s day for a member of a criminal gang and killed her. tombu “.

In addition, Bukele’s press office triumphed in triumphant Salvadoran prison scenes, where the president’s pandemic strategy was essentially about stacks of hundreds of prisoners dressed in underwear on top of each other.

For Salvadorans imprisoned in Bukele’s current Bitcoin experiment, meanwhile, the future looks increasingly bleak – especially when Bukele pledges to eradicate all controls of his power, as he did in May. u spontaneous removal of five judges of the Supreme Court and the nation’s attorney general.

In his latest Twitter profile picture, Bukele shrugs off the so-called laser eyes that have come to denounce members of the Bitcoin cult. In addition, he updated his Twitter biography in English on “President of the Savior Republic,” the literal translation of El Salvador.

It is anyone’s guess, however, how Salvadorans will be saved from the inevitable conversion of their country into a paradise for money laundering and tax evasion, where the collective wet dream of international Bitcoin groups is a priority over the ability of Salvadoran families to put food on their tables.

Often sporting returning baseball caps and other “cool” paraphernalia, Bukele, 39 – a former advertising executive and founder, in 2017, of the political party Nuevas Ideas (New Ideas) – has in fact been marketed for as long as the true savior of El Salvador, dismissing his party as a much-needed break from the system of two corrupt parties he had won since the end of the Salvadoran civil war in 1992.

It does not matter that the Bukele administration itself has just expelled an anti-corruption commission from the country.

However, putting a baseball cap behind fascism doesn’t give it a new idea.

It is recalled that the vast majority of lethal violence during the 12-year civil war, which killed more than 75,000 Salvadorans, was perpetrated by a right-wing military with associated paramilitary groups and death squads. The United States has injected billions of dollars into the conflict to ensure a capitalist victory – that is, the maintenance of the obscene economic inequalities that had generated the war in the first place.

In the end, try how Bukele could sell Bitcoinization as an ultramodern, ultramodern initiative that will propel El Salvador onto the global stage (the virtual Bitcoin portfolio that is pushed into the Salvadoran gorges is also called Chivo, slang for “cool “), the prospect of having the poorest sectors of society support the bill for elite tyranny is not, well, even ‘new’.

Just before the pandemic, I spent several months in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador, and was present in the city during the parliamentary militancy of February 2020. Bukele finally canceled the siege, saying that God had told him to have “patience” – divinity is a useful ally in a country where religion is pathologically invoked as a distraction from mass misery.

One cannot even recall other leading global leaders who enjoyed a direct line of communication with higher beings – such as former US President George W Bush, whom God allegedly commissioned to annihilate Afghanistan and the United States. ‘Iraq. Isaac Newton’s words come to mind again.

God’s blessings have no doubt helped in Bukele’s approval votes – even as he effectively makes war on his own people. Of course, the current era of dependence on social media has also proved auspicious by a president who believes countries can be managed by mobile phones.

But as Salvador’s Bitcoin messiah continues to gamble fearlessly on Salvadoran lives, perhaps it’s time for that spaceship to plan a recovery.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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