The wife of a jailed MS-13 gang leader in El Salvador was arrested on extortion charges, which, if legitimate, could draw further attention to the gang's reliance on the crime as a way to bring in funds, even while it negotiates ways to leave gang life.
The constitutional chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court ruled Friday that the appointment of two former army generals in top security posts is unconstitutional, raising the question of what will now happen to the country's gang truce.
As part of a new phase in El Salvador's gang truce, the president pledged additional funds for the reintegration of gang members into mainstream society, something which has been sorely lacking from the truce so far.
Before Bishop Fabio Colindres told Salvadoran government mediators in early 2012 that he would participate in a secret negotiation to stop the fighting between El Salvador's two largest gangs, three top level Catholic Church officials had already told the government representatives that they wanted nothing to do with the talks. Colindres' decision to participate in the controversial gang truce could have far reaching consequences for the Church, one of El Salvador's most respected institutions.
With 65 murders registered in just eight days in May, El Salvador may be witnessing a wave of violence that could further shake the foundations of the country's much-praised gang truce.
Statistics show that for the first time since 2009, homicides have begun to climb at a steady pace in Guatemala, raising the question of what could be behind the rise in killings.
Forensic analysis has revealed that the MS-13 gang in Guatemala used 32 guns to allegedly commit 238 murders, offering insight into the gang's modus operandi and highlighting some of the difficulties of tackling organized crime with gun control.
Extortion and threats by criminal gangs led to the shutdown of an estimated 17,500 small businesses in Honduras over the past year, indicating the level to which street gangs continue to suffocate the country's economy.
A Spanish priest and a once-prominent critic of El Salvador's gang truce recently agreed to become involved in the proceedings, raising questions over why he experienced a change of heart.
The number of murders in El Salvador so far in 2013 is 45 percent lower than the previous year, providing a reminder of the benefits of the country's gang truce at a time when the agreement is coming under increasing pressure.