Weekly InSight: Special Investigation of Gangs and Municipal Power in Apopa, El Salvador

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In our November 2 Facebook Live session, senior investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos and senior editor Mike LaSusa spoke about InSight Crime’s new investigation of the criminal ties of José Elías Hernández, the former mayor of Apopa, El Salvador.

Silva and LaSusa discussed the revelations of the new investigation, which is the final installment of a three-part series that also examined similar dynamics in Guatemala and Honduras.

The article details how Hernández — known by the nickname “Maistro,” or “Old Timer” — allegedly rose to political power with the help of the Barrio 18 gang, and how the gang’s infiltration of Apopa’s city hall helped it to essentially take over the municipality. As Silva and LaSusa explain, the case serves as a microcosm of a phenomenon that appears to be playing out in El Salvador ahead of next year’s municipal elections.

Watch the full conversation below:

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