Announcing the second phase of El Salvador's gang truce

The negotiators of El Salvador’s gang truce, which has reduced murders by two-thirds in the last eight months, have proposed a second phase which would aim to end all gang crimes, including extortion, in designated “zones of peace.”

On November 22, negotiators Bishop Fabio Colindres and ex-congressman Raul Mijango announced their proposal for the next phase of the gang truce (read the full text of their proposal here).

They said that despite the drop in murders, Salvadorans still suffered from extortion and from the general atmosphere of insecurity. To address this, the negotiators suggested naming certain municipalities as “special zones of peace,” where gangs would make a pact of non-aggression with each other, and agree to stop all extortion, kidnapping, theft, and murder.

In these areas, gang members would hand in their weapons, and the police would cease large scale or night-time operations, while the government would put into place schemes to give work to gang members who leave crime behind.

The negotiators also asked the government to prioritize mental health services in these peace zones. They said that they had selected 10 municipalities where the scheme would begin, before being rolled out throughout the country, reported El Mundo.

InSight Crime Analysis

The plan to cut extortion and other crimes that affect the population in El Salvador is the logical next step of the truce between the country’s main gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, which was brokered in March. While murders have been slashed by two-thirds, reports vary on whether extortion has decreased or has even gone up since then. Extortion is thought to be the primary source of income for these gangs, meaning that to make these “peace zones” work would likely require serious concessions from the government in return.

The announcement was made at a press conference to present the report on the first year in office of Security and Justice Minister David Munguia Payes, who was the driving force behind the truce. He promised at the beginning of his term that he would reduce homicides by 30 percent in his first year, and has delivered a reduction of double that amount, putting him in a good position if he wishes to run for the presidency or vice presidency in the 2014 elections.

Munguia greeted the proposal by saying that he viewed it with optimism and that the government would help “facilitate” the measures, while stressing that it does not negotiate with gangs.

Investigations

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

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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.

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.