Nayib Bukele sworn in as President of El Salvador for second term amid praise, concerns from evangelicals

By CDI Staff |
El Salvador Nayib Bukele takes oath of office during the 'Inauguration Day'
In this handout picture provided by the Salvadoran presidency, President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele takes oath of office during the 'Inauguration Day ' at Palacio Nacional on June 1, 2024 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Nayib Bukele won the presidential election on February 4 giving him a second consecutive term in office from 2024 to 2029. | Handout/Getty Images

On Saturday, Nayib Bukele was inaugurated for his second term as President of El Salvador. Special guests included King of Spain Felipe VI, Argentinean President Javier Milei, as well as other officials, including Santiago Peña from Paraguay, Rodrigo Chávez from Costa Rica, Daniel Noboa from Ecuador, and Xiomara Castro Honduras, among others.

Renowned Argentinean pastor Dante Gebel blessed and prayed for the president, who was the first in El Salvador’s democratic era to achieve immediate reelection, albeit not without questions and criticism.

As expected, the president emphasized the results of his security policy, which was the centerpiece of his first term, and which was among the main reasons that led to his sweeping victory that won him the second term on February 4.

"In five years, we turned around a situation that had been unresolved for more than half a century, with more than 70,000 terrorists who controlled the country and left more dead than the armed conflict," he said.

President Bukele asked those present not to "lose perspective."

"We are not just changing a country, we are changing a paradigm," he explained, and stressed that "little by little, we are beginning to create something much more significant: a mirror where all of Latin America now sees itself."

In his speech, the President thanked the Salvadoran people and specifically highlighted his gratitude for and honor to God. "We achieved the unimaginable (...) with the glory of God and with his wisdom," he said.

As in the first inauguration in 2019, Rev. Dante Gebel participated by offering a prayer of dedication and blessing on the country.

"We ask for the blessing for the President, his family, the members of the cabinet, the Legislative Assembly, the Supreme Court and all those who are responsible in the leadership of this nation, the Republic of El Salvador," the Argentinean prayed.

"God will give El Salvador victory over its enemies, huge armies may come against you in battle order, but they will have to flee in complete disorder. If you obey God, He will fulfill that promise," said the pastor, alluding to the passage of blessing in Deuteronomy 28:7.

He then also referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14, quoting, "If my people humble themselves and pray and seek my face and repent of their evil conduct, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land."

Gebel pointed out that "if Salvadorans obey the commandments and do not worship false gods, El Salvador will be the most important country in the world."

According to Publinews, Gebel prophesied that the Central American country is looking at a promising economic future, as he claimed that the smallest country in Central America will not need to borrow. “In everything you do, you will do well. You will never borrow, you will have plenty and you will lend," Dante reportedly said, again alluding to Deuteronomy 28.

Not all evangelical pastors and leaders support the president, however. "The elections and the rules of the game were manipulated" in favor of President Bukele, so he could keep himself in power, denounced the general pastor of the Elim Christian Mission, Mario Vega, leader of the second largest evangelical congregation in El Salvador.

When interviewed by a Salvadoran national media, Vega said, "There is an agenda that consists of concentration of power, concealment of information, discretionary management of money that is clearer than ever, and now a manipulation of the elections and the rules of the game with the purpose of perpetuating himself in power. There is no doubt about that."

First published in Diario Cristiano, Christian Daily International's Spanish edition.