Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, placed a gamble on Bitcoin last September when he declared it legal tender in the Central American country and made a sizable personal investment in it. After investing $107 million of national wealth into Bitcoin, his decision hasn’t paid off.
The president has lost over $61 million on paper from those Bitcoin purchases, according to data from the website Nayib Tracker, and many people are still not using it. The Latin American economy isn’t doing too well either, and El Salvador’s economy will only grow by 1.7% in 2023, which the IMF has warned will feel like a recession.
Everyone from U.S. politicians, who branded the Bitcoin Law a “careless gamble,” to the World Bank and the IMF have condemned the leader, who once acknowledged he buys bitcoin on his phone while nude.
Despite this, President Bukele is still well-liked, though. According to a CID Gallup poll released on Thursday, the leader has the highest approval ratings in Latin America.
Given the tales of turmoil in El Salvador, this could surprise political analysts outside the nation. Salvadorans took to the streets several times last year to oppose the Bitcoin Law and the president’s attempt to consolidate too much power.
However, President Bukele received an approval rating of 86% in a study of 1,200 people in 13 Latin American countries conducted by the Costa Rican consulting CID Gallup. Bukele outperformed the heads of major Latin American economies like Mexico and Argentina by a wide margin ( the poll did not include every country in Latin America.)
But under Bukele, El Salvador, a developing country that frequently appears on lists of the world’s most homicidal nations, is allegedly less hazardous. This year, the eccentric leader began a stern operation by scooping up potential gang members and imprisoning more than 53,000.
Salvadorans applaud this courageous action, saying it has made their country safer. Still, human rights organizations oppose it, saying it is unsustainable and could cause a catastrophe in jails across the country.