Barrio 18 leader "Viejo Lin"

The leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha, Barrio 18, and three other street gangs in El Salvador said they accepted a proposal to end all gang activity in designated "zones of peace" in the country. 

In a statement released to the public, gang leaders said that they'd already handed over a list of 10 possible municipalities where they would agree to cease all criminal activity (read the full text of the statement here).

The creation of several designated "peace zones" in 10 municipalities was first proposed by Bishop Fabio Colindres and ex-congressman Raul Mijango on November 22. The two men helped negotiate a ceasefire between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 earlier this year, which caused the national homicide rate to fall from 14 murders a day to just five. The negotiators intended the creation of these "peace zones" to be the second phase of this gang truce.

Within these designated zones, gangs would agree to a non-aggression pact, and would commit to stopping all homicides, extortion, theft, and kidnapping. The municipalities that would include these peace zones have not yet been identified, although gang leaders said the agreement would affect some 900,000 people who live in the proposed areas. In their statement, gang leaders said that they'd already ordered affiliate groups -- or "cliques" -- to begin disarming in these areas, and hand over the weapons to the truce facilitators.

The three other street gangs who agreed to the proposal include the Mao Mao, La Maquina, and the Miradas Locos.

InSight Crime Analysis

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Mojica Lechuga, alias "Viejo Lin," told the AFP that one of the aims of these peace zones is to allow gang members to "reinsert" themselves back into society. However, the proposal comes with a condition: according to the AFP, gang members are demanding the repeal of a 2009 anti-gang law which allowed police to conduct mass arrests of alleged gang members. Some of these raids have involved the arrest of dozens of suspected gang members at once

It remains to be seen whether the government would have to agree to this -- or grant some other kind of concession -- to keep this proposal moving forward. Security and Justice Minister David Munguia Payes expressed optimism about the proposal when it was first announced, but this may change if it leads to increased demands from the gangs.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.