El Salvador’s Bukele Remains Popular Despite Bad Bitcoin Bets, Slumping Economy

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele counted on it Bitcoin last September when he made it legal tender in the Central American nation and invested heavily in the cryptocurrency himself.

A year and $107 million later, his investment isn’t paying off: the president has lost over $61 million on paper from it Bitcoin buys data from the Nayib Tracker website showsand many citizens still don’t use it.

The economy of the tiny country is not doing well either. The IMF has warned that El Salvador’s economy will grow just 1.7% in 2023, which will feel like a recession.

But that doesn’t mean President Bukele isn’t liked. To The leader has the highest approval ratings in Latin America, according to a CID Gallup poll released Thursday.

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CID Gallup, a Costa Rican consulting firm, polled 1,200 citizens in 13 Latin American countries and found that President Bukele was the most popular with an 86% approval rating. Bukele fared much better than leaders in major Latin American economies like Mexico and Argentina (but the survey didn’t include all countries in the region).

Given reports of civil unrest in El Salvador, this may come as a surprise to political observers outside the country. Last year, Salvadorans take to the streets several times to protest the Bitcoin Act and the President consolidating too much power.

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And the leader who once authorized buying crypto on his phone while naked has been criticized by all US lawmakers – who called the bitcoin law a “careless gamble” – for World Bank and the IMF.

El Salvador’s bitcoin law requires companies to accept the largest cryptocurrency if they have the technical means to do so.

The country’s government encouraged citizens to take advantage of the asset by making all $30 worth of bitcoins available to them through a government-issued digital wallet.

When decrypt At the end of 2021 we visited the country found Many Salvadorans were not interested in Bitcoin and companies were reluctant to accept it.

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But El Salvador, an impoverished nation that often ranks on lists of the world’s most murderous countries, is said to be less dangerous under Bukele.

The eccentric leader launched a crackdown this year by rounding up suspected gang members and jailing more than 53,000 of them.

This bold move has been praised by Salvadorans – who say the country is safer – but has been criticized by human rights groups to warn it is unsustainable and could lead to a crisis in the country’s prisons.

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