NELSON RAUDA: My name is Nelson Rauda. I’m a journalist at El Faro. I’m 30 years old. I cover things like politics, climate issues, immigration, Covid, and now I’m covering Bitcoin, which is another gamble of the government.
One of the emphases of El Faro is in historical memory because we’re telling stories that were never told in El Salvador.
El Mozote was told in The New York Times and in The Washington Post. It was never told in an El Salvador newspaper until many years later, because it was simply not possible.
So, El Faro was considered that, as something that would shed light on the darkest hours of El Salvador and that we want to continue shedding light on the dark corners of power that are in position and are in office today.
It’s never been easy to be a journalist in El Salvador, but it has been especially difficult since the last couple of years, because the links between the press and the institutions have been cut off.
President Nayib Bukele won the election in 2019. And then he won a landslide election again, and obtained a supermajority in Congress. And things have kind of gone downhill from that. He branded himself the coolest dictator in the world, as if it was something to joke about.
Every power position there is to occupy in the political landscape in El Salvador answers to Bukele now. We’re talking about the police. We’re talking about the Army. We’re talking about the Institute for Transparency. We’re talking about the Supreme Court, all the cabinet.
And the things they cannot control, they attack. And that’s what’s happening with the media. The president accused us directly of laundering money, that El Faro was laundering money.
There have been journalists that have been, have been harassed by crowds. And I have been personally threatened. I have received death threats because of my coverage.
We know that our cell phones are tapped. People have followed us in cars. And it’s not only happening to El Faro, it’s happening to all journalists, all free and independent journalists in El Salvador.
So, it’s really, really challenging to get up and work every day. It affects your daily life. It affects your family, your relationships, the place where you live. It makes you paranoid. I have all these scenarios in my head of what’s going to happen and where will I finally draw the line where I say, O.K., this has happened, makes it impossible for me to keep working as a journalist.
They want us to be afraid. And that’s why it’s important for us to keep doing our work to shed light on those dark corners. And, really, because what is democracy if you don’t have independent media? You cannot have a sound society, a civil society, a democratic society if you do not have independent media working. It’s simply not possible.