El Salvador's Bukele does Joe Biden a favor, and all he gets are insults

How is this for another Biden administration foreign policy failure?

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida brought the receipts:

He was almost certainly referring to the news in this Reuters report last December:

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) — The United States sanctioned several Central American officials it accused of possible corruption in their respective countries on Friday, including two politicians close to El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele.

U.S. authorities sanctioned over 40 people under the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the government to sanction foreign officials for human rights offences, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the United States.

Possible corruption?  Like they aren't entirely sure?  What kind of rationale is that for sanctions, as if these people were not different at all from the butchers of Tehran or Ukraine?  Why the hell the micromanaging of El Salvador's internal affairs?  They can police themselves if there's corruption.  This looks like judgment first, trial afterward, which is about par for the Biden style of government.

The misuse of the Magnitsky Act on these officials is even more skeevy.

For the record, El Salvador has cleaned up its notorious crime situation through the simple solution of jailing every criminal it could find.  The government built a gargantuan prison; took every gang member plaguing society through kidnappings, extortion, shakedowns, random killings, gang shootings, and bus hijackings; and put all of them in a prison so confining and unpleasant that they'll never be running their rackets from inside the joint, and more important, will never want to come back to it.

Yes, it's harsh, but the public have had enough, and they're willing to take Bukele's route since everything else they've tried was a miserable failure.  Bukele sports a 91% public approval rate in that country, all because he cleaned up the crime in the country, and citizens can now go about their daily business without being shot at, extorted, robbed, or beaten up.

That's what Joe Biden is laying sanctions on for?  Cleaning up the country? 

Here's why that's such a disgusting thing: from a cold hard Realpolitik perspective, Nayib Bukele has done Joe Biden a big favor.  Instead of shipping his country's criminals here, which is what Venezuela has done, he's put them in jail in the home country.  That's what Joe Biden and all his crummy minions need to be noticing.  By cleaning up the crime in that country, he makes his country a desirable place to live.  The knock-on effect of that is that El Salvador's locals don't want to leave it anymore; they're happy in their country.  That is a boon for the U.S., which doesn't have to pay as much for El Salvador's migrants anymore.  That's a favor.

Last October, the U.S. Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a steep 22% drop in border encounters with Salvadoran nationals entering the U.S. illegally, even with Joe Biden's open borders policy, which is drawing in millions from around the world.  They are not coming.

According to statistics from the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), El Salvador reduced irregular migrant flows on the border between the United States and Mexico by 22.04% from January to September 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.

From January to September of this year, 68,691 encounters were registered, while in 2021 there were 88,105. In addition, the country only accounted for 4.09% of the apprehensions and expulsions of the 2.38 million encounters in fiscal year 2022.

US authorities reported 5,810 encounters between Salvadorans in January (3,580 in 2021); in February, 7,146 (5,599 in 2021); in March, 8,403 (9,475 in 2021); in April, 8,355 (11,043); in May, 8,980 (10,462); in June, 9,123 (11,582); in July, 7,952 (12,719); in August, 6,675 (12,692); and in September, 6,247 encounters (10,953 in 2021).

Meanwhile, during fiscal year 2022, the detention of Mexicans amounted to 808,339 immigrants; that of Guatemalans, to 231,566; that of Hondurans, to 213,023, and that of Salvadorans, to 97,030 people. The cumulative number of other nationalities was 1,028,986.

 And yes, that's a function of less crime in the home country, as the Salvadoran government argues.  Foreign Policy reported that in 2020, homicides in El Salvador on Bukele's watch hit an all-time low.  The crime rate has gone so low that they are actually advertising now for Americans to come move there. 

According to the Daily Caller:

The president of El Salvador is inviting people to move to his country, touting it as the "new land of the free" following his year-long crackdown on gangs, drugs and violence.

El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele took to social media March 26, encouraging families seeking a better life to move to his Central American country. The vintage-style ad depicted a traditional, nuclear multi-generational family gathered around a 1950's era television set, enjoying a quiet evening at home, listing all the benefits El Salvador has to offer.

"No shootings. No lootings. No fentanyl crisis. Lowest crime rate in the Americas," the ad listed as the top reasons to relocate. In addition, those moving from the United States would not have to worry about currency conversions as El Salvador uses the U.S. dollar in circulation. In addition, the Central American country offers "great coffee, great weather, and great beaches."

Anyone with a brain could see that that situation could be a golden opportunity for the U.S. to channel El Salvador's newfound stability and security into the border surge currently hitting the U.S. as millions seek to enter the U.S. illegally.  Might not some of the Central Americans fleeing crime in their home countries find El Salvador a hospitable place instead?  The Central Americans in fact share similar cultures, speak the same language, and are so close to one another that the migrants might find that attractive, as they could return to their home countries to visit their families fairly easily. 

Couldn't the Biden administration hammer out a deal with El Salvador to take in some of the migrants?  Where's Kamala Harris, the border czar, who has repeatedly yowled that nobody leaves his home country because he wants to?  El Salvador, which needs people based on all the previous waves of outmigration, could absorb many of these current migrants with alacrity, offering them a safe place to live in a comfortable culture.  If the Bidenites were serious about halting the border surge in the U.S., even if to just keep the television cameras off it, you'd think they'd be quick to cut a deal with El Salvador to take some of the migrants.  President Trump certainly cut one with this country to take migrants coming here — and Joe Biden scuppered that arrangement in 2021.  Way to go, Joe.

But instead of working with El Salvador to take one problem and use it to solve another, the Bidenites are all in for insults, sanctions, and other garbage directed at El Salvador's democratically elected government, and relations are nearly nil, starting from the beginning of the Biden term, when Biden himself snubbed Bukele, who visited the U.S. but got no reception from the White House.  That was a nasty, uncalled-for insult, with a country that could have been very useful for the U.S. now, and not another problem for it.  Kamala Harris has not visited that country or that president, possibly because she can't be trusted not to wreck things further.

But Biden's done a good job wrecking the golden opportunity all by himself.  He could have had a friend and ally in El Salvador, which had done the U.S. a favor by keeping its nationals happy back home.  He could have had a role model for all the other states to loudly tout.  He could have instituted a bonus points system for diplomatic goodies and foreign aid based on the help El Salvador has given.  Instead, he's slapped on the insults and sanctions, making the NGOs happy, perhaps, and trashed what could have been a beautiful friendship.

As former secretary of defense Bob Gates has said, Joe Biden has been wrong on "nearly every foreign policy issue," and there's no argument there.  He's singularly unfit on this front, and the "who lost El Salvador" failure looms large in this sorry reality.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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