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Tucker [00:00:00] Mr. President, thank you for having us.

Nayib Bukele [00:00:01] Thank you Tucker.

Tucker [00:00:02] At your Camp David, which is beautiful. So you were inaugurated two days ago. This is a small country, and yet your inauguration was international news was everywhere. Why? Why do you think that is?

Nayib Bukele [00:00:15] Well, it was a shock for us, too. I mean, we know we knew that a lot of people were coming, and, I mean, that will draw some attention, of course. We have, we had big delegations from 110 countries. So, of course, that will draw news, because, you know, if a chancellor comes from a country, then he brings his, you know, his media team and that and that will create some news over there. And if a president comes or a king comes, they will create some news, even you came. So you know, that created some news.

Tucker [00:00:48] But why were they coming?

Nayib Bukele [00:00:50] Oh, well, I don't know. For different reasons, of course, I could ask you, why did you come? Right.

Tucker [00:00:57] I came because I think something remarkable is happening here. That's why. But I'm interested in why you think people came.

Nayib Bukele [00:01:03] Yeah. Different reasons. For example, the US government sent a big delegation, but then we had also a delegation from Congress. That started as a Republican delegation, but then the Democrats jumped on the wagon. And we had a bipartisan delegation from Congress. So, you know, it was like, so, you know, it's up, I don't know, at the end what happened. But I think this is like how a star, you know, how stars are born. They say that, you know, debris starts joining up and if they become an asteroid. But if more debris joins up, it becomes a planet because the, you know, the gravitational pull, the more debris comes up, it becomes a star, because then the gravitational pull is too big. So that's called critical mass. So I don't know, sometimes just, you know, because God wants it like that or just be a stroke of luck or whatever. You get some critical mass in something you're doing, and then it becomes bigger than what you than the sum of all of its parts. So, I don't know, probably got some critical mass that we didn't we didn't foresee.

Tucker [00:02:19] My guess is that of all the countries in the hemisphere, El Salvador seemed in the toughest shape or close to the bottom in the rankings. For everything.

Nayib Bukele [00:02:29] Yes, yes.

Tucker [00:02:29] Lacking abundant natural resources.

Nayib Bukele [00:02:31] And since the country was born. Yes. I mean, the country has been poor since it was more. Yeah. Lacking everything.

Tucker [00:02:39] Lacking everything with a dense population. A lot of people packed in. So what do you how did you change it? I guess I'll cut right to it. If you can fix El Salvador, what are the lessons for the rest of us? What did you do first?

Nayib Bukele [00:02:55] Well of course, you cannot do anything if you don't have peace. Right? And when I say peace, I include war, civil wars, invasion, crime. I mean, you need to have peace. You need to be able to move freely, to have your basic, basic, right, with respect to, starting with the right to to live the right to move the right of the property to have property. So you need your basic rights being to be respected. So you need peace. That's the first thing in society, will struggle to achieve. And once you, once you achieve peace, then you can struggle for the other things like, you know infrastructure.

Tucker [00:03:46] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:03:47] Well-being, quality of life. But you have to start with peace. So we had to start with peace. And in the case of El Salvador, we were literally the murder capital of the world.

Tucker [00:03:57] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:03:58] And we turn it into the safest country in the Western Hemisphere, safer than any other country in the Western Hemisphere, which is, you know, I was it was, if I would have said that five years ago, they would say that I was crazy, right? Because this was the literally the most dangerous country in the whole world.

Tucker [00:04:13] Your capital is now safer than our capital in Washington.

Nayib Bukele [00:04:16] Yes, yes. And the country is safer than the United States as a whole.

Tucker [00:04:20] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:04:21] The US murder rate is around six murders per 100,000 inhabitants. And our murder rate is two. So we're safer than Canada. Safer than Chile. Safer than Uruguay. Safer than the U.S, safer than any country in the Western Hemisphere. There are countries in the in the other hemisphere that are safer than El Salvador. But not in that, not in the Western Hemisphere.

Tucker [00:04:40] So you did that in just a couple of years?

Nayib Bukele [00:04:43] Yes, we did that in basically in three years.

Tucker [00:04:47] So just bottom line it for us. What's the formula?

Nayib Bukele [00:04:52] Well I can tell you the official formula and the real formula. So the official formula is that we did a plan. I mean, we need a plan. It's not that. When I say official, I mean, it's a lie. It's just, the official one we did, a plan that was comprised of phases. So we rolled up the first phase, then the next one, then the next one, and then, gangs started attacking back. So we need to we had to roll up everything at once. Like in a in a hurry. So and it worked. It worked in a couple of weeks. We, the country was transformed because the gangs were, were not yet arrested, but they were on the run. So we had we basically and the roll up of phase six, we basically, pacified the country in a couple of weeks.

Tucker [00:05:47] How do you do that? How do you pacify a country?

Nayib Bukele [00:05:49] Well, with the phases, including the building up of the police forces, the army, we doubled the army. We literally doubled the army to fight crime, to use the army to fight crime. And, we equipped them, before, like soldiers we didn't have, like, you know, like useful guns or, you know, vehicles, drones, you know, basic things that an operation of that magnitude would need. So, yeah we roll up the phases and then we went after them.

Tucker [00:06:29] Okay. So that's the official that's the official.

Nayib Bukele [00:06:31] Yes that's the official.

Tucker [00:06:32] What's the real answer?

Nayib Bukele [00:06:34] It's a miracle.

Tucker [00:06:36] It's a miracle. I love that. What do you mean?

Nayib Bukele [00:06:39] Yeah. It's a miracle. You know, when, when gangs started attacking us back. Basically, they killed 87 people in three days, which for a country of 6 million people it's crazy. Would be the equivalent, 60 times would be the equivalent of having 5,000 deaths, 5,000 murders in the US in three days. Yeah. So we were in the meeting and well, when it started not when it ended, but when it started. We were in the meeting in my office, 3 a.m 4 a.m. just watching, you know, what was happening and trying to figure out what to do, because the problem with the gangs is that, they don't only attack their objectives when they want to create terror, they can attack anyone. So they can actually kill their grandma.

Tucker [00:07:41] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:07:42] And it's your victim.

Tucker [00:07:44] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:07:44] Because they don't care about their grandma. You care about their grandma. So it's your victim. As if they kill their grandma. You have one one death and they have, you know they achieved the terror that they want to create so they can kill any anybody. A woman walking by a guy and working in the street, a taxi driver, they can kill anybody. And if the if the state goes after them, the state has no intention of, killing or harming anybody but the gang members. So you have you have 70,000 objectives, which were the 70,000 gang members, but they have 6 million possible targets. So it was almost an impossible task.

Tucker [00:08:34] It's a guerrilla war really.

Nayib Bukele [00:08:35] Yes, it is, but it was an impossible task because you have to go after them. They were intertwined with the population. They were everywhere and they were killing randomly. So how do you stop it? So we really we try to figure out what to do and I, they basically said, well it's we're looking at into an impossible impossible mission here. So we pray. And we and we.

Tucker [00:09:12] You prayed in the meeting?

Nayib Bukele [00:09:13] Yes. Yes of course, several times yeah.

Tucker [00:09:16] What did you pray for?

Nayib Bukele [00:09:18] To wisdom. To win the war. I thought at the time that we would have civilian casualties. So we said we pray that the casualties will be as low as possible. And we didn't have any civilian casualties.

Tucker [00:09:36] And was everyone in the meeting comfortable with that?

Nayib Bukele [00:09:39] Yes, yes, every all my security cabinet are believers. They've all believe in God. We're a secular country, of course, but we all believe in God.

Tucker [00:09:51] MS13 is one of the major gangs.

Nayib Bukele [00:09:52] And they are satanic also.

Tucker [00:09:54] That was my question. Yes, no, but I hope you will explain it, because very little has been written in the West about this, but actually literally. Can you explain?

Nayib Bukele [00:10:06] Well, they didn't start as a satanic organization. They MS13 started in Los Angeles in the US because, Salvadorans weren't allowed to sell drugs by the Mexican gangs. So they created a gang that was called 18th Street Gang because they basically wanted to sell drugs in a street that was 18th street over there. But then, the mission started to create, they started dividing themselves and started infighting. So they created MS13, and, and then MS13 started outgrowing the other gangs, and they started exporting the organization to other parts of the U.S. And when Bill Clinton decided to, deport those guys, he didn't tell the government at the time, I'm deporting this criminal. They just, you know, send them here. And they came they were few, but unchecked at the same time some laws were passed to protect minors from imprisonment. And, of course, the gangs use that to recruit 15 year old, 16 year old 17 year olds. So at the beginning was, you know, some youth causing harm, assaulting, you know, trying to control their territory, selling drugs, things that are bad, but, you know, probably not critical. But they grew, they grew, they grew. And they started controlling territories a few years, a few years later, they were actually a huge criminal, huge international criminal organization that they have bases in Italy, Guatemala Honduras, El Salvador, the US, basically, a lot of major cities in the US, would have strongholds.

Tucker [00:12:05] Right outside Washington DC.

Nayib Bukele [00:12:07] Yes, of course, in Long Island and.

Tucker [00:12:11] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:12:12] And LA, it's a huge criminal international organization. So they grew and they started, you know, killing more people to, just to get territory or to fight against rival gangs or to, you know, collect debts or, you know, money or whatever. But as the organization grew, they became satanic. They started doing satanic rituals. I don't know exactly when that started, but it was well documented. Yes. And we now arrested we've even found alters and things like that.

Tucker [00:12:45] Yes, I've seen them.

Nayib Bukele [00:12:46] And so it's they became a satanic organization. And even when, when you, sometimes when you interview gang members that are in prison, they would say, I'm out of the gang. Of course they're in prison. They would say, I'm not a member of the gang anymore. And when you asked them why, I remember one I remember the news outlet that made it this but it's a, you know, a very well known news outlet that made this interview with a gang member in person. We allowed them to go into prisons and do interviews. And the guy that they asked him how many people have you killed? And he said, I don't remember. They don't remember how many. Probably 10, 20. He didn't remember. And then they ask him and, you, what is your position in the gang? He explained how he went up in positions. But I left the gang, I said, why do you leave the gang? He said, well, because, I was, I was used to kill, I was used to kill people. But I killed for territory. I killed for to collect money. I killed for extortion. But I came to the, you know, to this house, and they were about to kill a baby. And he, the killer that had killed tens of people said oh well wait, what were we doing? Wait, wait, why are we going to kill that baby? And they told him because the beast asked for a baby, so we have to give him a baby. So he said that he couldn't assist that so he left the gang. He is in prison because, you know, he's a killer. But he left the gang because he couldn't tolerate what he was seeing.

Tucker [00:14:26] So human sacrifice was a part.

Nayib Bukele [00:14:28] Well, in the United States a couple of weeks ago or a couple of days ago, I don't remember exactly. I saw the news that they were they were going to kill a young girl, or they killed a young girl I don't actually remember, because it was a it was a Satanic ritual. It happened in the US a couple of weeks ago.

Tucker [00:14:43] You may have come to the obvious conclusion that the real debate is not between Republican and Democrat or Socialist and Capitalist. Right left. The real battles between people who are lying on purpose and people who are trying to tell you the truth. It's between good and evil. It's between honesty and falsehood. And we hope we are on the former side. That's why we created this network, the Tucker Carlson Network, and we invite you to subscribe to it. You go to TuckerCarlson.com/podcast. Our entire archive is there a lot of behind the scenes footage of what actually happens in this barn? When only an iPhone is running TuckerCarlson.com/podcast. You will not regret it. So that's almost never described in English language press as clearly as you just described it.

Nayib Bukele [00:15:31] No. Which is weird, right?

Tucker [00:15:34] Well, you sort of wonder why.

Nayib Bukele [00:15:36] Yeah.

Tucker [00:15:37] If there's a spiritual component that's driving it, why not just say so?

Nayib Bukele [00:15:41] Yes.

Tucker [00:15:41] But I guess my point is you saw it as that.

Nayib Bukele [00:15:44] Yes. Yes, of course there's a spiritual war and there's a physical war, and the physical war could be that's the unofficial that's the official version. If you win the spiritual war, it will reflect into the physical war. So our I think our I don't know what I would call it. Our impressive victory was because we won the spiritual war very, very fast.

Tucker [00:16:17] Well, that leads me. I didn't.

Nayib Bukele [00:16:20] You didn't have competition. I mean, they were satanic. I think that made it easier.

Tucker [00:16:28] In your inaugural and I was listening on headphones for the translation. So I just want to check this. You said we have achieved this great victory and made this a safe country. And that's the predicate for everything that follows. And the next thing we're going to do in this term is to, is to work on the economy to make it better.

Nayib Bukele [00:16:43] Grow the economy yeah.

Tucker [00:16:43] And you said, I have a correct me if I'm wrong, you should have a three point plan. And I'm thinking, I wonder what that is. I don't know, start a Federal Reserve Bank. And you said the first, the first point of my plan is seek God's wisdom.

Nayib Bukele [00:16:55] Yes.

Tucker [00:16:56] That is what you said.

Nayib Bukele [00:16:56] Yeah, I said that. Yeah.

Tucker [00:16:58] Why would that be the first point of an economic plan?

Nayib Bukele [00:17:00] Why wouldn't it be what should be the first part of it.

Tucker [00:17:04] Well, I think it should be.

Nayib Bukele [00:17:05] Yeah.

Tucker [00:17:06] But I can't.

Nayib Bukele [00:17:07] Most people would think that. Right.

Tucker [00:17:10] I just I've never heard any leader of any country say that.

Nayib Bukele [00:17:13] Because they probably they forgot to represent the people that elect them. It's like you ask most of the people that elect the politicians. Yeah, that's that's fine. Yeah, I believe that. But then you ask the politician and he said, no, no, no, that's not, who is it? Who is he trying, pandering to? I mean, it doesn't make sense, right?

Tucker [00:17:38] Do you think.

Nayib Bukele [00:17:38] It's a commonsense thing to seek god's wisdom.

Tucker [00:17:42] Yeah. It's a prerequisite for wise decision making.

Nayib Bukele [00:17:45] Exactly. So that's the first part of our plan.

Tucker [00:17:49] I don't why it makes me laugh. Do you think that that's one of the reasons that your successes, which are just measurable I'm not saying it's for ideological reasons, but just the fact that you've transformed the country in a good way and that you're literally the most popular elected leader in the world. Again, not speculation, provable fact. You'd think that would be greeted in the hemisphere as this amazing thing, like what's going on in El Salvador. And instead there's been this what's going on in El Salvador? Yeah, there's been hostility.

Nayib Bukele [00:18:16] Yes.

Tucker [00:18:17] Do you think that's why?

Nayib Bukele [00:18:18] I'm not sure. But one of the reasons is that we don't pander to them. So probably they don't like that. It's probably a reason. It's like, like there's, I'm not going to go into conspiracy theories. I'm going to go into into provable facts. Right. Like you said. So there's worldwide agendas. Right. These are provable facts. Right. They, they, they have benchmarks that they need the countries to follow and they need the countries to do it. This is, you know, out there. Right. And but sometimes if you work on those things, you're probably neglecting the important things for your people, the things that your people are really asking for. Give you an example. When we arrested the gang members that were killing, they were killing so much people that we were the murder capital of the world, literally the most dangerous place in the whole world. More dangerous than Haiti, right. More dangerous than Iraq. This was literally the most dangerous country in the world. We had triple the amount of the murder rate that Haiti has right now. All the mayhem that they have we had triple that here. So what do we have, what do you have to do? You have to stop that, right? I mean, it's like it's a no brainer. I mean, you know, you don't need to have a big thought process. You just you have to stop it. That's the first thing you have to do. When we did when we did that, we got huge condemnations. You name it. So and they were and they and a lot of them were human rights organizations. And you would ask but with, with the human body, what about the human right of a women not to be raped? I mean, what about the human right of kids to, you know to play or to be free or to, you know go to the park. And what about the human right to live? Or the human right to walk in the street? Right. And but no, they were they were worried about the human rights of the of the killers, which, you know, they have human rights. I don't say they don't they are humans. But if you have to prioritize, what will you prioritize? The human rights of the honest, hardworking, decent people. Not the not the not the human rights that they do have, but you won't prioritize the human rights of the killers and rapists and murderers. And, so we secure the country and we did it with no help from any other country and with huge, huge condemnation in everything that we were doing. Everything. I mean, we changed the attorney general. We got so much condemnation because we changed the attorney general that we needed to change to prosecute the, you know, the murderers. So we basically we they try to block every step of what we were doing. And now it's that the results are there, that it's, you know, they're tangible, measurable, undeniable. Now, they don't know what to do because a lot of other countries are saying maybe a lot of other countries similar to ours that have similar problems. They are saying maybe we should do that too, but they don't want that because that's not in their agenda.

Tucker [00:21:53] But I guess that's why I came here, to be totally honest, is what your success says about the country that I live in, or other countries in the hemisphere or in Europe where people are killed by the thousands every year.

Nayib Bukele [00:22:08] Yeah.

Tucker [00:22:09] And what you've proven with very little money and no help from anyone else is it's not that hard to fix. Therefore, all that killing must be a voluntary decision that my government and many other governments are making about their own citizens.

Nayib Bukele [00:22:23] You can make that logical.

Tucker [00:22:26] Well, I don't know what other conclusion to reach if El Salvador can do it. What? What's going on here?

Nayib Bukele [00:22:30] Yes. You can make that logical conclusion. I think that's probably what they are afraid of, because, I mean, we don't have, weapons of mass destruction. Why are there why would they take so much time in, in making condemnations to El Salvador? Right. It doesn't make any sense if you didn't.

Tucker [00:22:47] You didn't send a man to the moon.

Nayib Bukele [00:22:49] Exactly. So I think I think they're afraid of the example because a lot of people might say, hey, we want that too. If they can do it with no money, with very few resources and with a huge problem, because I have heard some people say, oh, well, somebody could do it because the problem was not that big. And we were literally the murder capital of the world. How big how much bigger can it get, right? We were literally the most dangerous place in the world. Three times more dangerous than Haiti right now. So, I mean, what could, how bigger can the problem get? And at the same time, we had a little, very few resources and we were able to do it with no civilian casualties after we started the war on gangs, we had no civilian casualties. And we lost aid, between, police officers and soldiers, and we basically eradicated all crime. And we arrested 70,000 gang members, which the number is not a number just came up. That's the official number that all the organizations said we had of gang members. And you couldn't I mean, you can watch the world Bank reports, etc. They said El Salvador has around 70,000 gang members and 500,000 collaborators. So we spare the collaborators basically. And we only got the gang members. Why? Because most of the collaborators were just, you know, family members or, you know, the woman that sell tortillas. And she had to tell, oh, the police is coming, because if not she would, she would probably have been killed by the gangs. So most of the collaborators were not really criminals. But just people living in a society that was controlled by gangs. The government was really was the real government was the gangs. Just like in Haiti, you have a you have a fake government, you have the real government, the government in Haiti is the gangs. It was it was like that. You had a formal government, of course, with offices and everything, but you have the real government in the territory, which were the gangs.

Tucker [00:24:46] So, I mean, and I know you want to stick to the facts, but I mean, at some point you do have to I mean, this is a really important question. Why would a government that has the means to end violent crime. There is always going to be crime, people breaking laws, but violent crime, people murdering and raping each other is a voluntary decision that a government makes. Why would a government choose to have that?

Nayib Bukele [00:25:09] I don't know. I don't know. I can make up theories, but I really don't.

Tucker [00:25:14] But do you have a gut instinct about it?

Nayib Bukele [00:25:17] I think it's a combination of factors like everything. They might be evil people that have that are doing it on purpose, of course. And probably planning stuff, I don't know. Possibly. At the same time, there's a lot of people they just being fed these ideologies and they think they're doing the right thing. Like allowing shoplifting, for example. Yeah. That's the most stupid thing you can think of, but they do it.

Tucker [00:25:42] Oh, you don't allow shoplifting here?

Nayib Bukele [00:25:46] No of course not. But you would think how why would anybody think allowing shoplifting lifting would be a good idea. I don't know why. I mean, that's the stupidest thing to think. Right. Or giving away drugs, I said this or giving away drug unless you give away drugs. It's like very stupid things. And you would you would guess that some of the people doing enacting these policies are not necessarily evil. They're just, you know, they've been fed this idea. They think they're doing the right thing. It's like, I give you an example, I think a month ago or something like that. Yeah, like a month the Spanish police arrested a gang member that has fled that had fled El Salvador. So the gang member escaped. He flew,he went to Spain. And with an international operation between the police of our police and the Spanish police and Interpol, they were able to arrest the guy. So in that in those cases, you need to do an extradition because it's an automatic, you know, international operation. So they just get the guy, you know, process him and send him. Send him to the original police where they filed the claim. So the Spanish police was very proud of the arrest. So they put it up they put it up on Twitter. So they said we just arrested this gang member. So I, you know, quoted the tweet and I said, great, send him we'll take care of him. Right. So that was used in his court hearing in Spain as a proof that he wouldn't get a fair trial here. So he was protected by Spanish laws. And he stayed there in Spain.

Tucker [00:27:34] Maybe they don't have enough gang members in Spain.

Nayib Bukele [00:27:36] Exactly. So. I mean, I don't care if they want to keep him. It's a it's a mouth that it's a mouth that we don't have to feed. Right? But, so they can keep him. But the thing is that you would think. Why would why would the Spanish government want the gang an extra gang member? It's not necessarily the out of evil. It's just that, you know, the laws, the system, the things that are being fed to the to the judge, to the prosecutor. So they think that, you know, my tweet was too mean. And you know, this gang member, he's right to be, you know, not respected or he wouldn't get a fair trial in El Salvador so he had to stay in Spain to be protected. You know, I mean, they know he's a killer. They actually arrested him because of that. It was an international operation and everything they know you know he probably murdered dozens of people, but they feel the need to protect him.

Tucker [00:28:31] So what's sad about that is that that's a sign that your defense mechanism no longer works.

Nayib Bukele [00:28:36] Yes.

Tucker [00:28:37] And that your society is dying. Yes. And Spain is in my opinion a wonderful.

Nayib Bukele [00:28:41] Western civilization is reaching a point in to it's, it will start failing.

Tucker [00:28:48] I think that's obvious to those of us with great sadness, to those of us who live here.

Nayib Bukele [00:28:52] Unless things are done. Of course you can. You can always turn around.

Tucker [00:28:56] So okay, two part question why do you think that's happening? Because it is recognizably happening in real time before us. And what can be done at this point to reverse it?

Nayib Bukele [00:29:06] Well, you know everything erodes and degrades. I mean, that's, you know, just the laws of nature.

Tucker [00:29:13] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:29:13] I mean, we do that's why we die. We age and we die. You can slow it, right? You can, you know, stay fit. Diet. You are eventually going to age and die. You cannot avoid that. Same happens with everything infrastructure. You know, I had an argument with my at the beginning of the government had an argument with my Ministry of Public Works, my Minister of Public Works, because there was a, there was this neighborhood that was built in an area that you shouldn't build things, they the soil was basically flour. So it was, you know. The mountain was falling and the houses were falling with, with the mountain. So to save the people the Ministry of Public Works started building a huge wall, you know, to stop the houses from falling. So they were building this huge wall. And of course, I can't micromanage everything. So when I saw the wall being built, I called my minister, said, what are you doing? I mean, you won't stop the mountain. And I said, you should build let's build houses for the people somewhere else. It would be cheaper. And you know, he said, no, no, the love of the world will be fine. We have, you know, engineers from, you know, international cooperation and everything will be fine. So they finished the wall, they never it didn't follow. Don't worry them the the way for them to wait for that plot twist. But I was I was still angry because I thought that it was a huge waste of money and a lot of risk. That if in the future the wall falls, it'll be on us because we built it, right. So I started pressuring him, why did you build that wall, or if you build the wall if the wall falls in the future would be an hour and it would be our fault. And I thought he grew tired of me as the pressure. And he said, well, everything that is made by humans need maintenance. I mean, of course, if we just leave the wall there falling 10, 20, 30 years, but if we give maintenance to the wall, the wall won't fall. Right. So that is to me not because of the war itself, but because everything is like that. In a relationship.

Tucker [00:31:35] Yes right.

Nayib Bukele [00:31:35] And at home, I mean everything. I mean, your haircut, you know, you need if you want to maintain it. You need to spend time and resources maintaining. So Western because you know civilization goes like this. So Western civilization reached the peak. I cannot point exactly where the peak is. It's like time in the market, right? I'm going to buy in the bottom and I'm going to sell at the top. Nobody can do that, right? And so I don't know exactly what was the peak, but we can all agree that we're in the decline. Yes. So that is happening because we're not maintaining we're not giving the correct maintenance to the civilization. Why? What made the West the leader in the world at the time we're living right now. What caused that to happen? A lot of things like, you know, importing the scientific process they started, you know, developing science. Focusing, you know, putting a lot of money into art into science, into trying to build the best things in the, you know, the fastest and as best and as great as possible. And, you know, importing, wisdom and technology and trying to develop new technology and trying to, you know, but suddenly, when you get wealthy, happens with families, too. Then people probably get spoiled or they get, you know, I want more things. I want, I want that. I want this you have to provide me that and, you know, politicians the problem I mean, democracy is great, right. We, the US has proven that democracy can work. But the problem with democracy, because everything has, you know, pros and cons. The problem with democracy is that politicians have a great incentive to offer. To give away the treasury.

Tucker [00:33:41] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:33:42] So if I say no, I'm going to keep the Treasury because we might need it, you know, for an emergency or something. Nobody would like that. People are like, oh, I'm going to give away the Treasury. So they would vote for him. Then another politician. You know what? I'm going to give the Treasury plus another treasury. So we're got to go into debt, right? Everybody will say, great, let's, you know, let's receive more money from the Treasury. And when I say treasury, I mean, you know, everything. Of course, building stuff, you know, giving free stuff, sending checks to people, you know.

Tucker [00:34:11] Covid relief.

Nayib Bukele [00:34:12] Yeah, exactly. You know, getting, you know, the stimulus, whatever. So the politicians are have the incentives of, you know just giving away the Treasury and entering huge amounts of debt. And that does it not only destroys the structure of the government, but it also destroys the structure of society. Because if you give, for example, money, okay, if you don't work, I'll give you I give you money, right? Or if you if you can shoplift $1,000 a day and still get some money from the government for food, you know housing, well, why would you work in that story that we shoplifted and probably get in trouble, right? So the incentives are wrong, but it's not only because, you know, there's maybe they are, but I'm not going to go into the spiritual theories. But it's not only because they are evil politicians are evil people planning everything, which might be the case, but I won't go into that. But just because things, you know, the incentives are wrong. Yes. So even if normal not evil politician has the incentive to give away the Treasury because he needs the votes. I mean, he needs to be elected. That's what he needs, right? He needs the votes.

Tucker [00:35:34] The nature of the system.

Nayib Bukele [00:35:35] Yes. It's the nature of the system. So the problem is that democracy works. Nobody can say it doesn't because it worked in the United States. Right? But if you don't maintain if you don't give maintenance to the system, it will fall like a wall if you don't give maintenance to it. Because the same system will degrade itself. So what you're having right now is a huge erosion of Western civilization. So we have governments pandering to their basis about, you know, to their ideology because they mobilize the vote or whatever. Looking at what was happening in the election, what we can do to get more votes in the election. I don't want to get into US politics because it's not my special, but hey so we had this we have this huge voter, group, let's give them something to get their vote. Let's give them, you know, $100,000 each. It makes sense, right? To get their votes. But it doesn't make sense for a country. I mean, why would you give $100,000 to each member of a voting group? It should be illegal. But it's not because who makes the laws, right? It's the government. So the system is eroding, and, any maintenance if the maintenance team doesn't go in and fix all the things that have been, you know, degrading the last 50, 70 years. It will, of course, it will eventually fall.

Tucker [00:37:14] So if the West doesn't continue to maintain its systems, which you have said, I think correctly, have worked really well for a couple years, they will degrade just like anything else made by human hands. If you don't maintain it, it will fall like your house. The question is, does anyone in the West do its leaders have the will to fix the system that is clearly failing? Do you think that will happen? And if it doesn't, what is the message about democracy to the rest of the world?

Nayib Bukele [00:37:42] Well, you know, you know, the, the, the fun thing about about anything about any concept like democracy that it works until it doesn't. Right. It happened with monarchies. It happened with anything. Right. They say things like, oh, you know, we have to separate religion from state. It worked. It really worked. But it also worked religion with the state at their time.

Tucker [00:38:07] Yes. Very well.

Nayib Bukele [00:38:09] Yes. Very well. Until it didn't. So, the the thing is that things work until they don't. So the problem is not democracy. I mean, it's not the concept of democracy. The concept of democracy is great. I mean, imagine the power of the people. Why would the people have the power to to decide their own things? It's like the most I mean, I really like the concept. And it's not normally a theoretical cosplay communism, right? It works. I mean, I mean democracy has been proven to work. George Washington could be the king if he wanted to. He could have been King George the First, right? But he decided, well, not he, but, you know, the Founding fathers decided that the United States would be a democracy. Right. And it worked. Nobody can say it didn't, it worked. But so the fact that democracy appears to not be working. I don't think it's because the concept doesn't work like a church separated from a state, or a church conjoined with the state.

Tucker [00:39:08] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:39:09] It's just that things work until they don't. So the problem, I think, is not the concept of democracy itself, but the the state of the democracy of democracies in the world right now.

Tucker [00:39:21] Have we reached the end of the democratic theory?

Nayib Bukele [00:39:23] I don't know, but it may be the beginning of the end. If a huge maintenance team doesn't come and fix things. It's like, this is not about geopolitics or anything. I'm not going to even mention the countries. But I saw somebody show me the 600 meter railway that was built in California, and it cost like, you know, $15 billion or something like that to build the 600 meter piece of railway that they were, that they were building.

Tucker [00:39:54] A lot per meter.

Nayib Bukele [00:39:55] Yes. So I mean, you have to you cannot go on. I mean, it's like, obvious. It's like somebody eats too much, right? I mean, you can be a little fat, right? It's fine. But then if someone is morbidly fat, it's okay I mean you have to stop, right? Because you know your heart. Your heart can take it anymore, right? You have to stop. Or somebody drinks. I don't drink, but if somebody, somebody drinks, doctor might say, you know, your liver, your liver can't take that anymore. Look at your liver how it is right now. Or the lungs for smoke or whatever. When you see things like that 600 meters of railway, $15 billion, ten years. I, there's no other possible diagnosis. I mean, you have to stop that fast now, because if not, it's that I mean, the decline is inevitable. It's inevitable. I mean, it's already there. It's not like, you know, I'm telling you, I foresee. No, no, I mean it's there I mean, it's $15 billion to make a 600 mile piece of railroad. It's not even working in ten years. The Empire State was built in a year. One year they built the Empire State. That's where things were working, right? I don't know what were the things back then, but they built the Empire State in one year. What happened with the World Trade Center. Freedom tower was changed name later to World Trade Center. How long did it take?

Tucker [00:41:31] Forever.

Nayib Bukele [00:41:32] Yeah. And it was, you know, the whole country united to build it. There was no budgetary. I mean, I know  probably but it was no if it needed budgetary but it was not a problem. Budget or investors willing to pour money on it or engineers. I mean, why would it take over a decade to build something that was so significant for the whole country? I mean, you could build the tallest building in the world. You did it. You could have built the tallest building in the world and said, okay, we're coming back bigger and stronger. We're going to build, you know? Yeah, yeah, we got ahead, but now we're going to build back better and strong, build back better and stronger, right. Or whatever, and build a you know, two mile high skyscraper. I'm not I'm not a fan of, you know, two mile high skyscrapers. But you know, you could have done that and you had you have the money you have the resources, you have the engineers, you have the the market. Because if I built a you know, mile skyscraper, I kind of filled with offices because I don't have enough of a market to fill residences and offices or whatever. You do have the market in New York to shop, to build offices, and you want hotel rooms. I mean, you would feel like this, but you didn't. You took over a decade to build, a very unimpressive building. And that was 23 years ago.

Tucker [00:42:54] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:42:55] Now you're building 600 meter railways with $15 billion. how long it would take to build to rebuild the Baltimore Bridge should take a year?

Tucker [00:43:11] How long would it take?

Nayib Bukele [00:43:12] You're here. Yeah, a year, two years. And we're small poor country. I mean, we're the one of the poorest nations in the in the world, right? You know, so that's why.

Tucker [00:43:23] This is so shameful and interesting.

Nayib Bukele [00:43:25] Yeah. I mean, the US assume they have still unlimited amounts of resources because you can just print money, right? That's another topic, but you can just print whatever. How much is worth? I mean, what do you want to do when you build it of made of gold? I mean, you can do anything, right? You just how much is it? Do it.

Tucker [00:43:45] So that sounds like a systemic failure. Doesn't sound like it's a systemic failure.

Nayib Bukele [00:43:49] Yeah.

Tucker [00:43:50] So what you're describing maybe can't be you know, maybe that's something that you would have to level and rebuild or something. Maybe that's beyond maintenance. I don't know what is the answer to that.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:02] I don't know, but, well you need leadership. But I'll tell you something. If you see the mess that we were living here.

Tucker [00:44:11] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:13] It's a bigger mess than what you have over there.

Tucker [00:44:15] Yeah.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:16] So.

Tucker [00:44:17] Oh, yeah.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:18] I mean, so just the fact that a a third of our population fled the country, I know I went to the United States.

Tucker [00:44:28] I know.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:30] Give you an example. The mess we were living here and we still have in other areas that, you know, not safety. We were the safest country in the Western Hemisphere. But we have problems in other areas, like the economy, for example. Yeah. So but our problems were bigger than your problems in relative sizes.

Tucker [00:44:49] So you said.

Nayib Bukele [00:44:49] Or you can if you can I mean, if you can fix a mess like this with in the US with unlimited amount of wealth with, you know, scientist innovation like no other country in the we're still the innovation coming from the US is more than any other country still. Right. Even not because of the government. But, you know, it's still it has the best innovators.

Tucker [00:45:15] Yeah for sure.

Nayib Bukele [00:45:16] I mean anything. So you still have the best innovators. You still have the biggest companies. You still have the biggest the world reserve currency, the biggest wealth, the biggest GDP. The the the availability to hire talent from anywhere, you can bring whatever talent to you. You need to fix any gaps you can, you know, pick, pick any. You get it. You get when you what do you want? You still can get what you want. You can't get attached because you're you're too far away. You're too far away from anyone that wants to attack you. Because Mexico or Canada are not going to attack the U.S. so your enemies are too far away and you still have the biggest army, the, maybe some armed forces.

Tucker [00:46:14] The biggest energy reserves.

Nayib Bukele [00:46:15] Yes. And yeah the US, like Russia, they were built as superpowers. So it's not like, for example, if you see the economy, the economy in Spain, it's very good. It's a robust economies, big G7. But they are like, how you call how you say in English to run nugget. They sell nugget, right.

Tucker [00:46:43] Yeah.

Nayib Bukele [00:46:45] Or they sell Iberic Ham.

Tucker [00:46:47] Yeah.

Nayib Bukele [00:46:50] So it's very good inexpensive, but you don't actually need that.

Tucker [00:46:54] Right.

Nayib Bukele [00:46:55] Luxury goods. So if you sanction Spain you will you'll break the economy. But if you sanction Russia, you can't break Russia because they're built as a superpower. So they have wheat, they have energy. They have natural gas and oil. Because they were built like that.

Tucker [00:47:13] Industrial capacity.

Nayib Bukele [00:47:14] Industrial capacity, factories, you know, workers. So the US is like that too, was built as a superpower. So you have wheat, you have corn, you have workers, you have blue collar workers, you have trained skilled factory workers, you have, colleges, you have universities, you have school system, you have infrastructure, you have, cities, tourism, the Mississippi River, you know, I mean, you have everything, you have ships, you have warehouses, you know, agriculture, fertile land. You know, you didn't have before. You you got. Right, you took from, you know, Mexico or whatever. So the US was, was built to be a superpower, right? Acquire land, acquire fertile lands. I mean, Texas was part of Mexico, but yes, it's part of the U.S. and you have all the oil there. So, I mean, and then you have California. I mean, the US is built as a superpower. So the US has everything to go on for a thousand years. It's not like it's doomed to fail. But apparently the leaders or most of them, you have probably very good leaders. But most of the leaders, they don't. They're not seeing they they either of they, they are evil or this is not, you know, conspiracy theory. Just, just, you know, the options you have other they're evil and they want to destroy the U.S because of some evil reason or they're puppets and they are being handled. There's people that need the US to be destroyed for some reason or the incompetent and they just, you know, doing wrong stuff because they're not capable of doing the right or sorry, I said three, but, the incentives. Right? I mean, changing a country and changing a lot of things that are badly done, probably anger, anger, some people some groups, some some lobby, some interest. I mean, if you say, okay, we're going to stop the railway that's costing us $15 billion or 600m. A lot of companies will be angry. A lot of, you know, I don't know mayors. I mean, you have a system that that that needs to be needs to be handled so and that the it's leadership and it needs a clear mandate that is probably a little hard to get in the US because, you know, the opposite views and you that bipartisanship, but you need to do it.

Tucker [00:49:41] Well you know ultimately as you well know since you've succeeded. And that's so, so thumpingly the instrument for all of that is the ballot. Is the election itself. Like, how many votes do you get? That's your mandate. But I think there is a sense among a lot of non conspiracy minded voters in the United States, that part of the system is itself corrupt. And that it is actually hard to affect change through voting because it's is it's rigged. And so with that in mind, do you think Trump is ahead in the polls? Do you think he can get elected?

Nayib Bukele [00:50:17] Well, yes. Yes, you can get other things. I'll give you an example. We. In 2019, the system was totally rigged. I mean, they canceled over our party. I mean, we were running with a party, and they cancel it. I mean, they are not a party. So I state I was party less, so I we went to a small party and said, you don't have any candidates. You're very small. You you know, you want to win the election. And so we got the that party registration and they canceled that party. Yeah, and they canceled that party on the last day that you can, file the candidacies. So we got, a medium sized party at 11:11 p.m., and we were able to file our candidacy, so it was not like it was easy or the system wasn't ready. It was just so fair that we just, you know, we put up our our proposals, and the people just voted. It was very hard to win. And then when we won, we since we even didn't have simultaneous parliamentary elections, we actually went to the executive branch totally opposed to the to the legislative branch and the judicial branch. So they controlled the Supreme Court and they control 90% of the legislative body. So I had to veto everything, and they override my videos, and they and they approved over so many laws that I veto. Yes. And everything that we do, the Supreme Court's constitutional unconstitutional. Unconstitutional. So we went to the people and said, you know, we cannot work like this. We need a majority in Congress. We need a huge majority in Congress because we not only need to approve laws, we need to get all these people out. And the only way you can tell democratically and respecting the rules of the system is if we got a huge, immense majority in Congress, right, because Congress can fire anybody. I mean, the president.

Tucker [00:52:21] Yes.

Nayib Bukele [00:52:21] So people gave us the huge majority, and it was hard because they controlled they still control the electoral Tribunal as of today. That's why our election was recognized by all the countries in the world, because they know the Electoral Tribunal is controlled by the opposition still.

Tucker [00:52:39] That's the only thing that control.

Nayib Bukele [00:52:40] It is the only thing. And we have we have we have liberalized. So, you know, that validates and legitimizes everything else. So they but the thing is that in 2021, when we went to when we went to, congressional elections, we carried a supermajority that they say they said it was impossible because the system was designed. So you cannot get a supermajority. But we got we got we would more than that. And then we would that supermajority, there is no recourse because the Constitution that allows the super majority in Congress to fire the Supreme Court justices. So our party fired the Supreme Court justices. When they got them, they got the majority. They fired the attorney general, which I couldn't. I mean, the state's president appoints the attorney general. Here is Congress, the next attorney general. Congress fires the attorney general. But you need two thirds of Congress to fire an attorney general. So we got 75% of Congress.

Tucker [00:53:36] But you stayed within the rules the whole time?

Nayib Bukele [00:53:38] We have never not respected a single rule. That's that's also a narrative that they want to bury. They cannot point out a single thing that was done by not respecting the rules that were written by them, because the rules are written by people. It's not like all these rules were, you know this was on that given by God. These rules were written by people, but still we respected all the rules that were written by them. And, and yeah, we got to the, the I just I just saw an interview the president of Costa Rica gave in Costa Rica because he came also like many other world leaders, he came to the to the inauguration. So they asked him over there in Costa Rica and they said, but do you think that Bukele is like doing things that are in, not, within the constitutional limits that that, that he has and this, this, this interview was today earlier, the president of Costa Rica said, well in a, in a soccer game or in a football game, you have the rules and you have the score, right. And the rules are made. So the score, you know, will be like that. But sometimes you get a super score in one side, right? So are you angry at the rules or are you angry at the score because the president of a sub, they're the only thing he can be, criticized for, is to getting a huge score in his favor with the rules of the game that they lay out, lay out for him. So, yes.

Tucker [00:55:24] But it was enormously disruptive to the people who ran the country before you of hard work, obviously.

Nayib Bukele [00:55:29] Obviously.

Tucker [00:55:29] Yeah. Did you ever worry they would try and put you in jail?

Nayib Bukele [00:55:32] Well, they did even well, even when I was President, I mean, and even I already in being irate in the, in the presidency, they tried to to impeach me. They say I was in there's an article in the Constitution that says Congress can actually fire the President if he's not fit to lead. So they say that I wasn't fit to lead. And they were. They they try to impeach me because of that. But there was such a. I mean, the people were like, they they fear that the people would die. You know.

Tucker [00:56:06] So what?

Nayib Bukele [00:56:07] Advising is up against them or some.

Tucker [00:56:09] Or it's a fair concern given your majority. Exactly. What advice would you give to another former democratically elected leader seeking office who is facing jail time? Yeah. Anyone? Yeah. If there was.

Nayib Bukele [00:56:29] I mean if there was a way to stop the candidacy, then he's he's probably in trouble. But if there's no there's no way to stop him from competing in the election. All the things that they do to him will just give him more votes. Right.

Tucker [00:56:50] That seems to be happening.

Nayib Bukele [00:56:51] Yes. I mean, either you stop the candidacy or you  let him be. But just, you know hearing him  you just get him, you are making the greatest campaign ever. I mean.

Tucker [00:57:04] Do you think they know that?

Nayib Bukele [00:57:06] Some of them, they should know that. Yeah, they they I think they some of them do, but of course they're the ones that don't or they think that, you know there's a there's a problem with indigenous groups. Right. Because they all play you know. So it's so great to do it. And you know they're they're making a huge mistake a huge, huge, huge mistake.

Tucker [00:57:27] If, if you're a country like El Salvador or really any other country in the hemisphere, including Canada, in your eyes on the United States, because it's the dominant power. Yes, obviously. But it puts you in a weird position if you're being criticized from the United States. So there's a congressman from Massachusetts, a pro-communist congressman called Jim McGovern, literally pro-communist, I don't know, attack, just an observation. Who attacked you the other day for daring to move a painting of Oscar Romero as a Catholic priest who was murdered here more than 40 years ago in your airport, I think. What did you make of that? It seemed like a pretty minute criticism, pretty small.

Nayib Bukele [00:58:06] And we actually moved it to a nicer place in front. It's not like, you know, we moved it from a very nice place and we put it in some warehouse, you know, or whatever, some place, you know.

Tucker [00:58:16] But what if you did? It's your country now.

Nayib Bukele [00:58:18] Of course. Of course we.

Tucker [00:58:19] What?

Nayib Bukele [00:58:20] But you can make the case. And I can assure you that he didn't like, you know the place we put the painting. But the fact that he that he protested and or he expressed his concerns with deep concern, on Twitter and not, you know, call if he could have called here and said, hey, the more the painting was done. No it is right here, Mr. Congressman. So of course he can he can even come and see for myself. But of course, he was doing an attack. So but it backfired because. First the the painting was right in front. So yeah, just to move the camera, I was in the other side. So this was a, you know he misfired. But also the fact that a US congressman is trying to micromanage where art is being displaced is being displayed in another country. Just, you know, gives you an example of how out of touch they are.

Tucker [00:59:25] It feels like colonialism to me a little bit.

Nayib Bukele [00:59:27] Yes, yes. And it comes from the from the Democratic Party, which you would guess.

Tucker [00:59:32] The anti-colonial party.

Nayib Bukele [00:59:33] Yeah. But, you know, at the end is like, you know, sometimes, sometimes the guy is called racist. This is not really the racist. The guy that is called, you know, the, you know, colonialist. It's not really the colonial is. Right. Sometimes it's weird how narratives work sometimes.

Tucker [00:59:53] Are you getting a lot of Americans moving here?

Nayib Bukele [00:59:54] Yes, yes. I mean, probably in numbers. It won't be significant to you, but yes, we you can see it. I mean, you can see it everywhere. And we're also getting something that's that's very meaningful to us is that we're getting a lot of our diaspora and of our immigrant, the, the people that emigrate was up there because of the war or because of the gangs or because of the economical, issues that that have always happened here. A lot of them are coming back. And there's a study made that the IOM and USAID. So I'll send you the link. Yes, there's a study made by the IOM and the USAID that says it's 62% of El Salvadorans living in the United States want to come back to live here. That means 62% and 18% are already making plans to come. That's over half a million Salvadorans coming back. So that's super significant because, I mean, we expelled we expelled them from their homes, right? Because of crime, because of the war because of lack of opportunities and the fact that they're coming back. Yes. I mean, it's a it's the is the biggest proof that we're doing things the right way. We have a long way to go, but we're doing things the right way.

Tucker [01:01:09] So after.

Nayib Bukele [01:01:10] So we have a lot of Americans, American born Americans coming, but we have also a lot of Salvadoran Americans with American citizenships coming here.

Tucker [01:01:20] Do you have the space?

Nayib Bukele [01:01:21] Well, has created a housing bubble because, you know, we we don't produce as much. Houses are being bought, are being bought right now. But that would create a temporary problem, which is the housing bubble. But then which is not actually a bubble. It's just, you know the offer.

Tucker [01:01:36] And yes finance on level.

Nayib Bukele [01:01:37] Yeah. So now of course construction companies know that the the amount of houses they will build, it will they, will they, they will sell them. So construction has become 20% of our GDP and it's growing. So this is going to be a huge construction boom. And they have the clients. So it's not built in a bubble of speculation, but it feels like a bubble. But it's built. And you know, people coming back home.

Tucker [01:02:03] Has any other head of state called you for advice on how to improve this country.

Nayib Bukele [01:02:06] Yeah, yeah. Several some of them have said in public of course. And they have we have a meetings mostly security issues. We're, we're talking with a lot of Latin American leaders. They have come they have sent their security ministers to meet here with our security ministers. They have, send people to see our jail jail system, because sometimes people see our jail system and they try to compare it to the United States jail system. And they're all over the main. They don't have gyms, they don't have Netflix, you know. But but you shouldn't compare the some of those jail system with the US system. You should compare ourselves jail system with that in the American jail system. So if you go and see most of that in American countries, the jails are run by the by the guys.

Tucker [01:02:49] They were here I remember that.

Nayib Bukele [01:02:50] Yea they were that they had they had parties, prostitutes, strippers.

Tucker [01:02:55] They were it was autonomous here. I mean, you had to get the permission to go in there.

Nayib Bukele [01:02:58] You have to get the permission to go in. They only have permission to get in food, medicine. But they controlled the they controlled the jails not only in the suburbs. They do it in most of Latin American countries. So gangsters they will control the jails. Is their operation there. They even go out and buy it and yeah so they, we totally control that. And we have 100% control in our jail system so that in the making countries look to our jail system in to see if they can, they can fix their, their own. So we do a lot of cooperation in security issues, jails, army, training. Do you know, even more powerful, bigger countries? Of course.

Tucker [01:03:48] Have you ever, you know, a lot of heads of state because you are one. Have you ever met a head of state who, when faced with a a serious problem, a threat to his own country, would, in the middle of a cabinet meeting, pause and say a prayer?

Nayib Bukele [01:04:03] I don't recall that. Yeah.

Tucker [01:04:05] But do you know anyone who would do that, do you think?

Nayib Bukele [01:04:08] Yes, probably. Probably. I don't recall right now, but I know, but that's just.

Tucker [01:04:12] So far from the mindset of any leader I've ever interviewed. Anyone who would admit I'm not sure what to do. Let's ask God.

Nayib Bukele [01:04:21] Yeah, probably. It's probably not that common, but yeah, I would guess some leaders do it.

Tucker [01:04:26] How long do you plan to stay president?

Nayib Bukele [01:04:28] Yeah. Five years. Five years. That's about as much as the Constitution allows me to.

Tucker [01:04:37] Thank you for talking to us.

Nayib Bukele [01:04:38] Thank you.
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