El Salvador : a country ruled by gangs – a photo essay
There are few places on earth as dangerous as El Salvador , a country with a population of just 6.5 million people – yet 10% are involved with gangs
The gangs’ origins can be traced to Salvadorans who fled to the US, and in particular to teens in Los Angeles. Through radicalisation via jail stints for nonviolent crimes, Salvadorans were hardened and turned to violence, establishing the methods and networks associated with MS-13. La 18, in contrast, was formed as the first multiracial, multiethnic gang in the city, and is now a mostly Central American gang, with between 30,000 and 50,000 members in the US.
The police are always on high-alert and officers wear balaclavas to protect their identities, but attacks on the police are common, including secondary, “double tap” shootings at murder sites. This breakdown of trust has created a uniquely problematic socio-political situation, and helps explain why for many Salvadorans the only answer is migration, usually to the north to Mexico and the US. A large migrant caravan currently at the US’s southern border at Tijuana, Mexico, is composed largely of those fleeing gang violence in El Salvador and Honduras.
Two months in, the Salvadoran police reported more than 5,000 arrests nationally. The plan also involved declaring a state of emergency in the prison system, putting 28 prisons on lockdown by prohibiting visitors, confining inmates to cells, attempting to block all communication networks within the prison and with the outside world through a near-blackout of mobile phone signals, and transferring prisoners to more secure facilities.
To date, 3,382 people have been reported missing. That is already 200 more than the year before. While the scale of violence in this small central American country is predictable, its future is less certain. For how much longer will the people of El Salvador have to endure fear and murder as the social norm?Read more: The Guardian
Well, it looks like they’re in jail. Is Only El Salvador ruled by gangs in central america? Another country victim of decolonization. I'm glad you printed this story. Some people only have a travel brochure view and opinion of El Salvador. This is what happens when you fail to listen to your people for a century.
Let’s not forget that the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations did everything they could to squelch much-needed reforms and backed a murderous government there. The UK is ruled by gangs as well. When will that expose be fine Oh good, all of Reagan’s and Bolton’s work with right-wing death squads is finally paying off.
Delightful individuals. Why wouldn’t we want them coming to our country? USA, a country run by the Mob. Where was this coverage when the Guardian was regurgitating US State Dept propaganda against Venezuela (and, subsequently, Bolivia)? Stop with the selective crap, hey?
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