[ View the story "El Salvador's gangland" on Storify] El Salvador's gangland Can the government's strong arm tactics stop gangs set to 'rape, control and kill'?
The Stream· Wed, Oct 21 2015 16:45:57
El Salvador has seen nearly
this year, most of them related to gang violence. That's a 72 percent increase from the same period last year. The bloodshed has turned El Salvador into the world's most violent country not embroiled in war, surpassing the high murder rate in Honduras.
Salvadoran police estimate that "80 percent of the homicides are related to purges and score-settling between the country’s gangs",
to The Guardian.
The government 's
is increasingly heavy handed. In August, the Supreme Court
major gangs as terrorist organizations. Children accused of gang activities are
as adults, and police have permission to shoot gang members
fear of consequences.
The Stream's online community weighed in on the extent of El Salvador's gang problem and the government's strategy to stop it:
Gangs definitely need targeting. A broken window policy, providing security and etc... could definitely help. But a mass militarized response like Mexico will only bring a civil war worse than drugs.Joe Laughon
@ajstream @realrudygiulian up until recently I would absolutely encourage complete decimation of the gangs. But this is bigger than that.Angel Rodriguez
@AJStream Incredibly difficult in villages under gang surveillance, little less so in San Salvador. Still, the threat persists.Sobremesas
@AJStream many families don't have outside help. The gangs have targeted them for breakins and harassment etc. bc they don't join.TANYA LUA
Several gangs are operating in El Salvador, but the two largest are the
(or MS-13) and
(M-18). They're estimated to have tens of thousands of members in El Salvador and even more across Central America and the
MS-13 and M-18 were formed in the US. Salvadoran refugees started MS-13 in Los Angeles, after fleeing their country's 1980-1992 civil war. In the 80s and 90s, their crimes got many deported back to El Salvador, where gang members expanded their activities.
Warning: the video below contains some graphic content.
La Mara Salvatrucha- Ochoas Class VIDEO.wmvMrSQUIDE1
Also formed in Los Angeles, M-18 is larger internationally and comprises members from across the Americas.
18th street gangxv3dc818
The gangs have waged a bloody turf war in El Salvador that has taken thousands of lives. In 2012, a truce brokered by church leaders and former gang leaders briefly reduced the violence. By some estimates, the number of murders
by as much as 50 percent.
Salvadoran gang celebrates 100 days of truceAFP news agency
But the truce began unraveling during El Salvador's 2014 election, when presidential candidates
a political issue of it. By January 2015, President Salvador Sanchez Ceren had
his government's unwillingness to negotiate with the gangs.
@AJStream negotiating with the Government led gangs in El Salvador to become attractive assets sought by political parties to win electionsCarlos Ponce
(Breach of the truce between the gangs in #ElSalvador exacerbates violence and homicide rate.)
Although many Salvadorans support the current government's aggressive approach towards the gangs, some are critical.
@ajstream @realrudygiulian you have to look at what created the opportunity for these gangs to flourish.Angel Rodriguez
@ajstream @realrudygiulian if you don't address the cause, then new ones will spring up. that is not the proper solution.Angel Rodriguez
@presidencia_sv @sanchezceren estamos años luz de esas palabras vanas.gob.fmln causa mas daño con sus politicas d seguridad q maraschanbita angustia
(We are light years away from those empty words. The FMLN government causes more damage with their security and gang policies.)
SUBE LA RACHA DE HOMICIDIOS,IMPUESTOS,EXT ORCIONES,MARAS,PAGOS,MUERTOS EN LAS CALLES,MASACRES EN GRUPOS FAMILIARES, QUE PENA @sanchezcerenLa granja !
(It increases the blight of killings, extortion, gangs, payouts, dead in the streets, massacres of family groups, what a shame)
Human rights apply to EVERYONE. All are capable of changing their life from that of a "monster".Tom Rizzo
@AJStream #minors they can be easily reformed.kenneth m. pitt
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