Bukele says the Satanic gangs have grown and have a presence in Guatemala 

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, described the gangs operating in his country as “satanic” and considered it a “miracle” to have appeased him by imprisoning more than 80,000 of his alleged members, in an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson broadcast on Wednesday, June 5.

“As the (criminal) organization grew up, it became satanic. They started doing satanic rituals,” Bukele said about his fight against the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs in the Central American country.

Bukele said that the main weapon he used to fight the gangs that made his country the capital of the crime world was to “pray” and claimed that it is now the safest in the Western Hemisphere.

He mentioned that the “official formula” of the success of his “war” against these criminal groups is that he managed to strengthen the police and duplicate the army, but that the real key was that it was “a miracle.”

The president, who recently swore to a second term, indicated that people lived in a gang-controlled society, and acknowledged that it was a difficult task, and achieving it “a miracle.”

Bukele, who won re-election for a second term in a row in February with more than 85.5% of support, said that when he came to power four years ago he launched a phased plan to combat MS-13.

“In a couple of weeks, the country was transformed,” he defended.

‘We’re safer than any other country in the Western Hemisphere and if I had said this five years ago, they would have told me I’m crazy. This was literally the most dangerous country in the world,” he said.

The president recalled that in March 2022 gangs began attacking and “killed 87 people in 3 days, which for a country of 6 million people is crazy.”

After this escalation of violence, Bukele asked Congress to decree an emergency regime, which after 27 months remains in force with more than 80,000 alleged gang members captured.

This measure, which allows for arrests without a warrant, is criticized by humanitarian agencies for the detention of “innocents they suffer” in prison.

Bukele says gangs grew and have a presence in Guatemala

Bukele, who is close to the 43rd birthday and an entrepreneur by profession, assumed his second term among critics of various sectors, such as the opposition and non-governmental organizations, for certain actions that have marked his first five-year term, such as his entry into Congress with armed military personnel, the implementation of an emergency regime to fight gangs or the adoption of bitcoin as a currency of legal tender.

The Salvadoran president commented that the gangs emerged in the 1980s on the streets of the U.S. city of Los Angeles and then arrived in El Salvador, “becrified” and have a presence in Italy, Guatemala, Honduras and in cities in the United States.

In three decades, the gangs subjected the Salvadoran population to extortion, created a parallel state and, according to official figures, committed 120 thousand homicides, more than the 75,000 dead left by the civil war (1980-1992).

Bukele argued that these organizations killed “anyone to generate terror” and clarified that “the state) has no intention of attacking anyone but the gang members.”

“It was an impossible task because you had to go after them and they were intermingled with the population everywhere and killing randomly. We tried to figure out what to do and I said ‘we’re facing an impossible mission. Then we pray.””

Bukele said he prayed “for wisdom” to win the war he had waged against the Salvatrucha Mara, to which the U.S. in 2012 The U.S. designated an international criminal organization and the one that according to the Salvadoran president became satanic.

“They started doing satanic rituals. I don’t know exactly when that started” but “it was well documented,” he added.

“Our impressive victory was because we won the spiritual war very, very quickly,” he said.

The president also said in the interview that in order to achieve other goals you must first have to have peace. “And when I say peace I include wars, invasions, crimes. You need to have peace to move freely so that your basic rights are respected,” he said.

“Once you achieve peace, then you will be able to fight for all other things like infrastructure, wealth, well-being, quality of life,” he said, stressing that after healing from the gangs now El Salvador is looking to heal the bad economy.

This article has been translated after first appearing in Prensa Libre