Despite their ideological differences, the winner of the presidential elections in El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, shares with the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, an ironclad speech against corruption that can help to strengthen ties between both countries.
Bukele, candidate of the right-winged Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA), swept Sunday in the first round of the Salvadoran presidential elections with 54% of the votes and breaking with the two-party system of the last two decades.
It is a victory similar to that of López Obrador, who on December 1 assumed the Presidency after obtaining in July a strong victory of 53% of the votes with the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena), a leftist party made to measure.
In this way, a renewed leadership will be launched in Central America that will coincide in forms of government with the Presidency of López Obrador, a key country in the current migration context of the region.
“There are several coincidences despite the fact that Bukele’s party is from the right, it is a match that had never won and breaks a hegemony in El Salvador,” Manuel Valencia, director of the International Business Programs at the Technological Monterrey
On the one hand, both leaders have sent a blow to the opposition to the parties that had ruled in a hegemonic way: the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party and National Action Party; and the Salvadorans Nationalist Republican Alliance and Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation.
The two politicians have achieved their exploits thanks to a discourse more focused on the country’s ills and on channeling social discontent than on concrete ideological positions.
They also share an image of anti-system leaders despite having long political careers. López Obrador governed Mexico City between 2000 and 2006 and Bukele was mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlán from 2012 to 2015 and from San Salvador from 2015 to 2018.
And the persistence also unites López Obrador and Bukele, who orchestrated splits within their parties to be able to participate in the presidential elections.
There are issues in which both differ, because the Bukele party supports the death penalty and militarization against gangs, unlike the Mexican president, but their similar leadership can bring both governments closer.
“This is the first time that a different party governs in El Salvador, and that simple fact seems attractive enough to open a dialogue with López Obrador,” said Valencia.
The expert pointed out that there are several issues on El Salvador’s agenda in which Mexico plays an important role, such as the economic support to Central America and the issue of the caravans of Central American migrants that cross Mexico bound for the United States.
Since López Obrador took office, Mexico is promoting a comprehensive development plan for the Central American region, in which El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras participate, and which received the support of Spain last week.
The objective of this cooperation plan is to create education and employment opportunities in those countries to prevent forced migration to the United States, where most migrants are barred from entering and stranded in Mexico.
“The conjuncture of these new governments,” explained the expert, “is a good opportunity” for Mexico to commit to cooperation and for El Salvador to assume a “major role” in the region that Nicaragua, Honduras or Guatemala are unlikely to have.
However, he warned that López Obrador has no intention of traveling abroad since he prioritizes domestic politics, which is why Bukele will take office on June 1, who should have the initiative to visit Mexico.
“If El Salvador understands that it is in their interest (to cooperate with Mexico) and the new president takes advantage, this can help his government start on the right foot,” he concluded. (EFE) .-