The president of El Salvador – Nayib Bukele – canceled his appearance at the Miami Bitcoin conference. The leader explained that “unforeseen circumstances” in his home country require his presence.
State of Emergency in El Salvador
The ongoing Miami Bitcoin Conference will not see the presence of one of the biggest proponents of the leading digital asset – Nayib Bukele. In a letter, El Salvador’s president said he has made “the hard decision of canceling his participation” in the event due to “unforeseen circumstances” happening in the Central American country.
Still, Bukele raised hopes that he will be available to attend a similar future gathering of people who celebrate “the power of freedom, decentralization, and human ingenuity in its fight against ignorance, centralization, and dogma.”
The crime levels in the Latin American state have surged drastically in recent weeks. On March 28, the police reported a total of 62 homicides, making it the most violent day in the country’s past 30 years. On top of that, the officials registered 1,140 murders in 2021 – an average of 18 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In comparison, nations like Japan and Singapore have reported 0.3 killings per 100,000 people.
To solve the problem, El Salvador’s authorities declared a “state of emergency,” followed by the arrest of over 5,000 people who had been detained without a warrant.
In addition, Bukele threatened to stop providing food for imprisoned gang members if the wave of killings did not cease:
“There are rumors that they (gangs) want to start taking revenge on random, honest people. If they do that, there won’t even be one meal in prisons. I swear to God they won’t eat a grain of rice, and let’s see how long they last.”
The Violence Might Disrupt El Salvador’s Tourism Sector
Even though the country leads the dark statistics considering the number of killings per year, it is also known as a preferred tourist destination due to its tropical climate, white sandy beaches, volcanoes, and ancient ruins. Apart from those natural sightseeings, El Salvador gained global popularity last year when it became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.
The initiative caused significant controversy as some praised the endeavor, while others claimed that president Bukele used the primary cryptocurrency to win additional political support. In any case, the move has positively affected the local tourism industry, which went up by 30% since.
Morena Valdez – El Salvador’s Minister of Tourism – added that American tourists are most attracted by the destination. Prior to the adoption of Bitcoin, travelers were coming mainly from neighboring nations such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The picture looks different now as 60% of visitors come from the USA.
It is yet to be seen how the recent events will reflect on the advancing tourism sector.