The spotlight is on Bukele for the final part of Peter McCormack’s documentary. Here’s the first part. Here’s the second one. Armed with everything he’s seen, the seasoned interviewer goes back to the President’s chambers for the interview’s second round. Was “Follow The Money #1” more about McCormack than about El Salvador? Or does the host’s internal struggle with the whole story mirrors the rest of humanity?
McCormack’s introduction starts strong, “the president was about to make Bitcoin legal tender, a decision no other leader had done. It was a bold move and something I supported, but my experience this week had taken this story to a place I’d not expected.” However, he quickly goes into hyperbole, “I had met and spoken with people who had problems that bitcoin could not fix.”
Of course it could, Peter. Bitcoin fixes this, but we must be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Immediate solutions are not realistic.
The conversation took place a few days after the Bitcoin Law came into effect. “In a couple of weeks you won’t need to carry cash or credit cards, actually, you won’t need a real wallet,” Bukele claims. All of the global corporations that operate in El Salvador quickly adopted bitcoin. Bukele thinks this case study might convince them to deploy similar programs in other countries. We’ll just have to wait and see if he’s right.
For his part, Peter McCormack maintains a position he’s expressed before. “I don’t know if the measures will be there in a year but, like, in 10 years time I think it works.” Bukele remarks that the opposition has accused him of wanting to force bitcoin into Salvadorans, or that he’s going to remove the dollar from the equation. “You don’t need a year, you don’t need 10 years for people to realize that this is voluntary. Nobody’s taking your dollars away from you. If you want paper money, you can have it,” Bukele assures.
BTC price chart for 05/27/2022 on Oanda | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
So, Are You a Dictator?
They discuss the protests. Bukele claims that the opposition can’t gather more than 500 people. McCormack responds, “the will say that the numbers are low because people are scared to come out. That’s what some people said to us.” Bukele doesn’t buy it. “We never dispersed a protest. We haven’t used one can of tear gas in my whole presidency,” the President flexes. “They are able to protest whatever they whant, wherever they want.”
After a few hesitations, McCormack throws it. “Are you a dictator? That’s the thing that people are really saying.” Bukele doesn’t buy it. “Do you think that’s that there’s any logic to that? I mean, are we doing anything by force? Or, do we obtain power by force? Are we imposing it on everybody else?”
There’s one last thing McCormack wants to ask. How long is Bukele planning to stay in power? He can’t, so he goes with this, “what are the long-term plans? Is it to do a specific job? Or is it one of those things where it’s like, you know, I love the job, I want to stay in it?” Bukele reads him like a book. “I’m not going to answer, but I can tell you it’s not my plan to just stay in the job (…) I don’t want to do that with my life.”
McCormack’s Closing Thoughts
The What Bitcoin Did host does a great job summarizing the situation, but it all goes downhill in the end:
“Bukele made bold decisions in the face of opposition from both domestic and international groups , and he certainly implemented a number of successful policies which have changed the face of the country, and potentially offer a brighter future. But what I’ve learned on this trip is that the problems for countries like this are much too big for one person to shoulder, and there are issues that require a broad range of policies beyond a change of currency.”
What is this man talking about? This is much more than a change of currency. Bitcoin is a change of paradigm, something the world has never seen. Bukele is not shouldering all of El Salvador’s changes alone. He plugged his country to the most successful open network ever created. And things are just getting started.
To close the documentary, McCormack goes back to El Zonte and is moved by an immense line of people trying to claim some bitcoin. He gets his faith back and gives us this line to close this series, “If all else fails in El Salvador, at least this small fishing village showed the world that Bitcoin can be a powerful force for positive change, and the hope for all may be just around the corner.”
Featured Image: Peter McCormack, screenshot from the documentary | Charts by TradingView