El Salvador News

El Salvador Detains Officials in Ongoing Fight Against Corruption

El Salvador Detains Officials in Ongoing Fight Against Corruption

El Salvador has taken down a network of colluding officials from within its judiciary, a sign that the momentum against corruption propeled by Attorney General Douglas Meléndez remains strong.

El Salvador Profile

El Salvador

El Salvador

El Salvador is a relatively small but growing player in the drug trafficking business. It serves as a drug recipient and storage point along the Pacific Coast, and a bridge via the Pan-American Highway, the Fonseca Gulf, and roads from Honduras that cut through relatively unpopulated areas.

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  • US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control: Responding to Violence in Central America

    This report outlines a series of actions by the U.S. government in order to face violence in Central America. Mexican drug trafficking organizations, local drug traffickers, transnational youth gangs, and other illegal criminal networks are the main focus. As the report notes, the work is the result of staff visits to Guatemala and Honduras, briefings, interviews, and a review of documents from both government and non-government subject matter experts.

    An excerpt of the Executive Summary:

    Violence in Central America – particularly in the northern triangle countriesof Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – has grown out of control. In Honduras, there were 77 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. El Salvador and Guatemala were not far behind with 66 and 50 murders per 100,000 people. As apoint of comparison, just to the north in Mexico, there were 18 murders per 100,000 people in 2010.(1) While reports of drug-related violence in Mexico continue to be front and center in the press, Central America does not receive adequate attention.

    Like Mexico, Central America’s location between the world’s largest producers of illicit drugs in South America and the world’s largest drug consuming nation in the United States makes it particularly vulnerable to drug traffickers. As Mexican President Felipe Calderón has cracked down on drug trafficking organizations in his country, these groups have increased their presence in Central America. Mexican drug trafficking organizations – particularly the Zetas and the Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels – have moved into Central America because it is a“business friendly” environment with weak governance and virtual freedom from prosecution. In fact, General Douglas Fraser, the Commander of U.S. Southern Command, stated at a March 30, 2011 Department of Defense news conference that “the northern triangle of Central America – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras– has become probably the deadliest zone in the world outside of …active warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan and others around the world.”(2)

    Unfortunately, violence in Central America is not only carried out by drugtrafficking organizations. Transnational youth gang members in Central America –numbering around 70,000 – are particularly active in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Other illegal criminal networks – including mafia-like groups – are active throughout Central America and are sometimes linked closely to elites, including current and former military and government officials.

    (1) Homicide rates for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are drawn from U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Regional Gang Initiative: Progress Status Report – CY2010, February 8, 2011. Data for Mexico is from Mexico’s National System of Public Security.

    (2) News Transcript, U.S. Dep’t of Defense, DOD News Briefing with Gen. Fraser from the Pentagon on U.S. Southern Command Operations (March 30, 2011) available at http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4804 (last visted 9/8/2011).

    For the full report in pdf click here.

  • How Central America's Crime Wave Has Spared Nicaragua, So Far

    Nicaragua, along with its neighbors Panama and Costa Rica, is often described as a country that dodged the wave of organized crime violence swamping Central America, but that could be about to change.

  • Honduras Murder Rate Set to Soar to 86 per 100,000

    Honduras is on track to reach a murder rate of 86 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, while El Salvador could see a rate of 72 per 100,000, according to new reports.

  • El Salvador Buses Strike Against Extortion Rackets

    At least two bus routes around San Salvador have been hit by drivers striking to demand that the authorities protect them from extortion demands by gangs.

  • El Salvador to Train Police to Combat Small Drug Dealing

    El Salvador plans to train some 300 police officers to combat small-scale drug dealing across the country.

  • El Salvador Seizes 1,000 Illegal Weapons in East Region

    El Salvador's police reported that they had seized some 1,010 illegal firearms in the eastern part of the country in the first eight months of 2011.

  • Central America Emerges as Key Drug Route: NGO

    Drug trafficking in Central America is now a greater threat to the region than ever before, according to a report by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA).

  • Al Jazeera Special on Drug Wars in Central America

    News network Al Jazeera has published a series of articles on organized crime and drug violence in Central America, with reporting from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

  • 'Criminal Organizations Deepen Extortion Activities in U.S.'

    Extortion has long been a favored tactic of drug gangs in Central America and Mexico, but evidence suggests that criminal organizations may be increasingly running these activities from inside the United States, potentially even targeting U.S. businesses and residents.

  • El Salvador Military Officer Sentenced for Arms Trafficking

    A former officer in El Salvador's Special Forces was sentenced to 31 years in prison after attempting to sell weapons to an undercover agent posing as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC).

Investigations

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Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

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