After President Gustavo Petro launched harsh taunts regarding the mega-prison that has been installed in El Salvador and the policies that have recently been implemented in that country, the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukele, responded to the Colombian president.
(In this regard: This was Petro’s taunts to Bukele for mega-prison: ‘They are gruesome’).
This Wednesday, the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, compared the policies of El Salvador and those that his government proposes through education, at the expansion ceremony of the Francisco José de Caldas District University.
A subjugation of the gangs that today are in those prisons, in my opinion, gruesome.
«You can see on the networks the concentration camp in El Salvador, full of young people, thousands and thousands of prisoners,» said Petro. And he added: «I think there are people who like that: seeing the youth in prisons and I think that’s security.»
Regarding the reduction in homicides in El Salvador, a result that Bukele has highlighted during his government, Gustavo Petro said that his counterpart «feels proud because he reduced the homicide rate by subjugating the gangs that today are in those prisons, in my opinion, Dantesque. We achieved the same thing. We managed to reduce the rate of homicides and violence, not from prisons but from colleges and universities.»
Bukele, for his part, responded to the Colombian president via Twitter, writing: «Mr. @petrogustavo, the results outweigh the rhetoric. I hope that Colombia actually manages to lower the homicide rates, as we Salvadorans have achieved God bless you,» Bukele wrote on his Twitter account.
Results outweigh rhetoric.
I hope that Colombia actually succeeds in lowering the homicide rates, as we Salvadorans have achieved.
God bless you. pic.twitter.com/3AV7Ed6MUq
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) March 1, 2023
Bukele also questioned some Bogota homicide figures shared by President Petro, saying:
(Also read: The shocking photos of thousands of prisoners arriving at a mega-prison in El Salvador).
From 1993? 30 years…
You governed 30 years?
Bogota? Aren’t you the president of Colombia?
From more than 100 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, we are now in single digits.
And the reduction was rapid, because the dead do not recover. https://t.co/6yA490zMUG
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) March 2, 2023
This is the mega prison in El Salvador
Bukele inaugurated the Terrorism Containment Center (Cecot), a 23-hectare jail, at the end of January. The Minister of Public Works, Romeo Rodríguez, told the president that this «would become the largest prison in all of America» and that «it would be impossible for an inmate to leave» the compound.
Last Friday, February 24, the Government of El Salvador took 2,000 suspected gang members to this new prison, which has a capacity for some 40,000 people. “This will be their new house, where they will live for decades, mixed, without being able to do more harm to the population,” Bukele said.
(We recommend: Inmate families in El Salvador must pay US$170 for food and toilet paper).
The imprisonment of this construction occurred amid criticism from the opposition that has pointed out a lack of transparency, mainly due to the approval in the Legislative Assembly, dominated by the ruling party, of a law that allowed bypassing the usual controls in state works.
At the beginning of February, Amnesty International (AI) expressed its concern about this new prison in El Salvador, arguing that «the construction of this new prison could mean the continuity and escalation of abuses.»
This contrasts with the high popularity that President Bukele has gained among Salvadorans after the measures he has taken against organized crime in this country and that, according to figures from the National Civil Police of El Salvador with records up to February 28 , has led the Central American nation to complete 313 days without homicides.
In addition, the president enjoys a 92 percent favourability, according to the most recent survey of the SA Gallup Interdisciplinary Development Consulting. Thus becoming the Latin American leader with the most favorable opinion among its citizens.