N AYIB BUKELE presents himself as a thoroughly modern leader. A year before running to be president of El Salvador in 2019, the former mayor and law-school dropout founded a party called New Ideas. He said that the party would shake up a country plagued by corruption and crime, which has been dominated by a political duopoly since the end of the civil war in 1992. In the same vein, Mr Bukele likes to emphasise his youth. At 40 he is a millennial—just. He eschews ties and wears a baseball cap backwards, as if it were still the 1990s. He tweets constantly and often furiously, sometimes pinging out pronouncements over a hundred times a day. On September 7th, after weeks of Mr Bukele's hype, bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, was made legal tender in the country of 6.5m people. This has made him an unlikely hero to some tech bros in Silicon Valley. But look beyond his nerdy puffery and there lies an old-fashioned autocrat. Even before New Ideas won a landslide victory in February's legislative elections, giving Mr Bukele and his chums a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly, he had started the process of undermining the rule of law. In… Read full this story
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