Weekly InSight: US Finances El Salvador Police Implicated in Abuses

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In our May 31 Facebook Live session, InSight Crime Senior Investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos and Managing Editor Josefina Salomón analyzed a recent report that accused the United States of financing El Salvador police involved in human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings.

The investigation, published by CNN, reported that the United States sent “significant US funding” to the Special Reaction Force (Fuerza Especializada de Reacción – FES) of El Salvador’s National Civil Police (Policia Nacional Civil – PNC), despite its alleged responsibility for the execution of 43 people suspected of belonging to gangs during the first six months of 2017.

At the beginning of 2018, the FES was replaced by another specialized police unit. However, according to the investigation, some FES members joined the new unit and continue to receive funding from the United States.

During their conversation, Salomón and Silva, who has investigated these reports, discussed the failed “iron fist” or zero-tolerance strategies utilized by Salvadoran authorities to mitigate the growing presence of gangs such as the MS13, as well as the United States’ history of ignoring reports of abuses.

They also talked about the possible impact of the next report that United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard will publish following a visit to El Salvador. During her recent visit to El Salvador, she strongly condemned abuses allegedly committed by security forces.

Watch the complete Facebook Live discussion in Spanish below:

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