El Salvador's president inks deal with Google for Central American tech hub

Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, recently traveled to the Bay Area to sign a deal with Google Cloud to open a technology hub in the Central American country. 

The seven-year plan will help modernize El Salvador's healthcare and education industries, and strengthen the government's electronic invoicing and permitting systems, among other areas, Google Cloud said in a statement

"We look forward to working hand-in-hand with El Salvador to foster technological development in Central America," said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. "Cloud computing can truly transform Latin America, and we look forward to exploring the full potential of those possibilities in El Salvador, benefiting its citizens and boosting economic development." 

Bukele said technology and foreign investments are core components of El Salvador's future.

"El Salvador is moving forward. We believe technology and foreign investment are key for development. We are quickly becoming a hub for innovation. This groundbreaking alliance with Google Cloud opens unprecedented avenues for innovation, economic growth, and enhanced public services. Google's global expertise combined with El Salvador's audacity is set to redefine the technological landscape," Bukele said. 

The deal still has to be approved by El Salvador's Legislative Assembly, but Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party controls a majority of the legislature.

Bukele has been criticized in the past for implementing Bitcoin as legal currency in El Salvador, which was largely unpopular and cost the country roughly $375 million. 

Bukele has also faced backlash from human rights groups for his overly strong crackdown on crime that's resulted in over 60,000 people being arrested in a matter of months – which has led to severe overcrowding in jails. 

Despite this, Bukele remains one of the most popular political figures in Latin America and plans to run for reelection in 2024, despite the country's constitution barring presidents from seeking two consecutive terms. El Salvador's Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, whose members were handpicked by Bukele, ruled that he can seek reelection