Millionaire works financed by China in El Salvador and its role in the re-election of Nayib Bukele

Millionaire works financed by China in El Salvador and its role in the re-election of Nayib Bukele

National Library of El Salvador, a colossal seven-story glass urn with sinuous edges, is a symbol of modernity in the heart of the Salvadoran capital. This impressive building, illuminated 24 hours a day, reflects the renewed country that President Nayib Bukele has promoted during his term in office.

Bukele, whose main policy has been the pacification of the country, is counting on the key support of China to carry out mega infrastructure projects in his second term. The Chinese government financed the construction of the National Library and is also funding other projects that promise to transform El Salvador’s image.

However, questions arise about the terms of these agreements and China’s possible geopolitical interests.

China’s backing for El Salvador

In December 2019, President Bukele confirmed his predecessor’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish ties with China.

During his visit to Beijing, Bukele met with President Xi Jinping and signed an agreement granting El Salvador “gigantic non-refundable cooperation” from China. This agreement resulted in US$500 million in financing for infrastructure projects and other works in El Salvador.

However, some analysts point out that so far the projects financed by China have been smaller and more emblematic than the expected mega-projects.

Although there was talk of a possible port project and a special economic zone, so far the National Library has been inaugurated and work has begun on a tourist pier in La Libertad, a water treatment plant in Lake Ilopango and a new National Stadium.

National Library of El Salvador: a symbol of modernity

The National Library of El Salvador, which will be inaugurated in November 2022, is one of the most outstanding projects financed by China. With an investment of US$54 million donated by China and a US$10 million counterpart from the Salvadoran government, this library has become the largest and most modern in the region.

Library is 24,000 square meters in size and has a capacity for more than 360,000 books. It also offers internet connection, a space for early childhood, thematic rooms, virtual reality spaces and flight simulators. The highlight is that it is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This is due to the security that has been achieved in El Salvador, making it a country where there are practically no unsafe places.

Inauguration of the National Library was an opportunity for President Bukele to highlight the success of his security policy, which has significantly reduced violence in the country.

This policy has been controversial, as it has led to increased incarceration rates and generated complaints of human rights violations. However, Bukele has a high approval rating and is expected to win a resounding victory in the general elections.

Other Chinese-funded projects in El Salvador

In addition to the National Library, there are other ongoing Chinese-funded projects in El Salvador. One of them is the construction of a tourist pier in La Libertad, 30 kilometers south of San Salvador. With an investment of US$24 million, this project aims to boost tourism in the area and generate economic development.

A water treatment plant is also being built on Lake Ilopango, which will benefit more than 250,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of the Salvadoran capital. This project is essential to ensure access to drinking water in the region.

Another important project is the construction of a new national stadium, which will seat 52,000 spectators and include soccer and basketball facilities. With a budget of US$100 million, this stadium is expected to be the largest in Central America and the most modern in Latin America.

China’s Role in Bukele’s Reelection

China’s support for El Salvador and the projects financed by this country play an important role in Bukele’s reelection. These projects are a sign of the modernity and development that Bukele seeks for the country. In addition, images of the National Library and projects under construction, such as the National Stadium, help promote his political project.

However, questions arise about the terms of the agreements with China and possible geopolitical interests. Some analysts believe that China seeks to isolate Taiwan in the international arena, and El Salvador has been one of the countries that has established diplomatic relations with China instead of Taiwan.

In addition, the relationship between El Salvador and the United States has had ups and downs during Bukele’s term in office. Although the United States remains El Salvador’s main trading partner and the country where a large number of Salvadorans live, relations have cooled in recent years. Bukele has sought the backing of China in the absence of U.S. support.

Conclusion

Million-dollar works financed by China in El Salvador and the backing of this country play a key role in Bukele’s reelection. These projects represent the modernity and development that Bukele seeks for the country and allow him to promote his political project.

However, questions arise about the terms of the agreements and China’s possible geopolitical interests. The future of the relationship between El Salvador and China remains uncertain, but it is clear that China has gained ground in Central America and seeks to increase its influence in the region.