'Squad' member Ilhan Omar in spat with president of former 'murder capital' ahead of his re-election

 Voters in El Salvador are set to re-elect their current president and self-proclaimed "world's best dictator" Nayib Bukele with a landslide victory after restoring their country's crime-ridden reputation.

Bukele warned in a video that quickly spread across social media and news outlets in El Salvador, "The opposition will not be able to achieve its true and only plan to free the gang members and use them to return to power. would be able."

Bukele's controversial tenure as leader of the Central American country looks set to continue, thanks to a reform of the constitutional courts in which he replaced judges with loyalists, who ruled that he could seek a second term despite a constitutional ban on reelection. Can run for.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., questioned U.S. relations with El Salvador and urged the U.S. State Department to review its relationship with the Central American country, charging that Bukele presented a "threat to democracy." Have done.

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"The people of Salvador deserve free and fair elections without fear of repression," Omar wrote on the social media platform X.

A community note on his post said Bukele won the 2019 election with a 54% majority and his crackdown on gang violence has helped cement his immense popularity among voters, with a 91% approval rating.

Bukele hit back at Omar, joking that he was "honored" to receive your attacks, adding that he would have been very concerned if he had supported him in the election.

Bukele came to power in 2019 and clashed with the legislative assembly over policies, including severe restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. His party took control of the National Congress in 2021 and began making sweeping changes and new laws to other branches of government, allowing him to effectively wage war on gangs in his country.

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El Salvador, once known as the "murder capital" of the world, underwent significant reforms, allowing the government to purge hundreds of alleged gang members and put them in rapidly-established superprisons.

This prison, built in a few months during 2022, can hold 40,000 people and thousands of military personnel are deployed for its security. Bukele made sure to share plenty of videos and photos of the prison and its first few thousands of prisoners.

The measure, which ultimately caught many potentially innocent people, led to a decline in murder and crime rates over the following year. Salvador's Justice and Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro claimed that the country would record 154 murders in 2023, a 70% decrease from the previous year.

According to Reuters, that would be a rate of 2.4 per 100,000 people, potentially the lowest in the US other than Canada.

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During an interview with Fox News Digital in May 2023, Bukele's vice president and running mate Felix Ulloa claimed that his country would "face the problem" of mass violence and urged the United States to invest in the country so that He could continue to crack down. Criminal.

Ulloa argued that if El Salvador and other countries could deal with their crime crises in a similar manner, it would help ease the migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border, since many of those who flee north are crime-ridden. They do this to escape from the motherland.

El Salvador's success has boosted Bukele's popularity so much that other countries such as Honduras and the Dominican Republic have considered replicating the model, raising concerns from civil rights advocates.

Ulloa acknowledged to The Associated Press this week that the government made "mistakes" in detaining thousands of innocent people as part of its routine campaign, which often profiles young people for fear of joining gangs.

Ulloa stressed that El Salvador is "not a police state" but "a state that provides security." Bukele continued to insist that if he lost the election, it would jeopardize the country's "war with gangs".

Critics also point to other troubling developments in the legislature, such as Bukele's efforts to reduce the number of municipalities, which could help ensure his victory and party superiority in local and congressional elections in March.

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