Thousands of protesters protested this week in the streets of The Savior a few days from the approval of bitcoin as legal tender. The Central American country, with a dollarized economy, gave the green light to the use of digital currencies in June with the publication in the Official Gazette of the measure, which took effect this month.
As reported BBC, the protests were organized on social media and were mostly peaceful, although there were acts of vandalism, such as the destruction of ATMs in cryptocurrencies. Some protesters wore T-shirts and signs that read “no to bitcoin”Or with the logo of that currency crossed out. Local press noted that between 5,000 and 15,000 people participated in the marches, calling them the largest since the current leadership came to power.
“What the government is doing is arrogant, it is authoritarianism,” he told Reuters one of the people who attended the demonstrations that pointed to the president’s management Here’s a look, a 40-year-old Salvadoran businessman and politician, who took office in 2019.
“No to presidential re-election, no to bitcoin, no to militarization, no to dictatorship!” Was one of the messages seen on the banners carried by the protesters.
The marches and protests were the first since the inauguration of the president, and coincided with the bicentennial of El Salvador. Bukele said on Twitter that there were numerous acts of vandalism on the streets.
In the speech on the occasion of the bicentennial, the Salvadoran president said in relation to the protesters that “unfortunately they are protected by some friends of the international community, I say some because they are not all”, and that “the sad thing is that they are financing an opposition perverse ”.
Bitcoin in El Salvador: criticism and adherence
According to reports, the adoption of the main virtual currency as legal tender in El Salvador was fraught with drawbacks, with the service down for many hours for maintenance. Critical voices point out that the move is a Bukele’s strategy to create distraction from financial problems of that nation.
“It was a very important financial decision and it was done in a totally illogical way, it was sent to Congress and it was approved the same day”, He told Bloomberg the opposition legislator Claudia Ortiz. “We are going through a deep fiscal crisis with high cost of living and unemployment, and the government’s response, rather than serious economic policy, is to adopt bitcoin as legal tender,” he added.
Those who defend the use of bitcoin in that country argue that it will help unbanked citizens to access financial services, which is estimated to represent 70% of the population. In addition, they point out that it will benefit families who receive money from abroad, avoiding the commissions of transfers in dollars. As detailed New York Post, about a quarter of Salvadorans live in the United States and last year alone they sent 6 billion dollars to their country of origin.
The adoption of bitcoin was not the only axis of the claims. The marches also protested against the removal of judges and the replacement of magistrates, in addition to a subsequent ruling that allows Bukele to stand for presidential re-election in 2024. However, following BBC, the president of El Salvador still maintains popularity levels above 80%.