Ricardo Valencia joins co-hosts Andrés Bernal and Scott Ferguson to discuss recent protests against Bitcoin in El Salvador. Adopted as legal tender by the authoritarian President Nayib Bukele in September 2021, Bitcoin has become an emblem in El Salvador for U.S. corporate imperialism, public mismanagement, and anti-democratic rule. Whereas mainstream accounts of cryptocurrency tend to flatten stories in Latin America to matters of success and failure, Ricardo draws upon rich critical approaches in Cultural Studies developed by the likes of Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy to situate current events in El Salvador within histories of global governance, political conflict, and cultural identity. During the conversation, Ricardo weighs the fraught legacy of left politics in and beyond El Salvador. He analyses the conspicuous convergence of “tech-bro” boosterism coming from the U.S. with right-wing regimes in vulnerable countries across the Global South. He considers tensions between imperial domination and quotidian safety that attend El Salvador’s dollarization in 2001, including the large role that remittances play in the everyday lives of the Salvadoran people. Finally, Ricardo contemplates the future promise of left politics in El Salvador. This promise, he explains, hinges upon feminist, queer and environmental movements, which are now demanding democratic and just uses of public money.
Dr. Ricardo Valencia is an assistant professor of public relations in the Department of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. Between 2010 and 2014, Dr. Valencia was the head of the communication section at the Embassy of El Salvador to the United States. He has also worked as a reporter covering international and domestic politics for Salvadoran and global media outlets such as La Prensa Gráfica, German Press Agency (DPA), and El Faro. Follow Ricardo on Twitter @ricardovalp.
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