Central America, in Brief: Regional expansion of the Salvadoran president’s political project seems to have started. Relatives of a Guatemalan publicist and partner with Nayib Bukele in launching multiple businesses began enrolling the political party Nuevas Ideas in Guatemala last July.
José Luis Araneda Cintrón, a 27-year-old Guatemalan lawyer, began the process before Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal on July 2 to found a political party called “Nuevas Ideas,” the same name as that of President Nayib Bukele in El Salvador. The new party’s cyan logo is identical to that of the Salvadoran party.
Araneda is the nephew of Pedro Andrés García Manzo Méndez, a Guatemalan publicist who founded two companies in 2005 and 2006 with Bukele and Ernesto Castro, Bukele’s former private secretary and current president of the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly, and a third only with Castro. García Manzo’s sister —Araneda’s mother— is also a member of the executive board of Nuevas Ideas Guatemala.
García Manzo is a businessman with a long track record in Guatemala and El Salvador. In Guatemala, he has for years managed businesses in digital marketing, event production, and restaurant purveyance. In El Salvador, he founded an event production company with Bukele and Castro in 2005. The next year, the three founded a business to operate restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, while García Manzo and Castro also opened a general merchandising company.
While the original Nuevas Ideas party in El Salvador denies any ties to the new party, Araneda posed for a picture with Bukele in Casa Presidencial in San Salvador on the day of the Salvadoran legislative elections last February.
The Bukele administration wrote in September 2020 that it would look to “convert Central America into a common homeland.” The executive branch wrote in a press release that Vice President Félix Ulloa will present the draft of an agreement in 2024 to “create the Central American Union,” and that the Salvadoran government would begin studying unification projects including the creation of a common Central American passport.
Bukele has also invoked the rhetoric of a unified Central America. After delivering 880 tons of pandemic relief food to Hondurans in November 2020, he tweeted: “One people.” Then, in reference to the agenda of the president of the defunct Federal Republic of Central America from 1830 to 1839 to maintain a politically unified isthmus, he added: “Morazán’s dream took a step forward yesterday in Honduras.”
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