World in View: El Salvador youth gulag

March 21, 2023

From the March-April 2023 issue of News & Letters

by Eugene Walker

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has opened a gigantic new prison called the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism, with a capacity for tens of thousands of prisoners. In his iron-fisted approach to gang violence, Bukele has continued to round up thousands of young men—some no doubt gang members, but others just rounded up from the street.

Built to hold as many as 40,000 inmates, complete with x-ray machines, surveillance towers, a “riot intervention squad,” and isolation cells that are kept completely dark, he has created a true First World prison in a Third World Country, a monument to man’s inhumanity to man.

At least 60,000 Salvadorians have already been imprisoned since Bukele initiated a state of emergency that continues in permanence. El Salvador has the highest incarceration rate in the world, beating the U.S. with around 100,000 in a population of only 6.5 million. Long live the incarceration state!

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