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El Salvador

CrisisWatch El Salvador

Unchanged Situation

National Assembly 16 Aug voted to make permanent the controversial “extraordinary measures” in place in some prisons, including extreme isolation of jailed gang members; vote entrenches security policy based on tough law enforcement, and seen by observers as likely to deepen crisis in country’s jails and make possibility of dialogue with gangs more remote; also prompted criminal gangs to increase attacks against police and military in protest. Police chief Howard Cotto 7 Aug claimed murder of six police officers two weeks before vote were part of gang strategy to push for suspension of “extraordinary measures”, bringing total officers killed in 2018 to fourteen. Human rights groups continued to voice concern over measures including extreme isolation of jailed gang members. 61 MS-13 gang members, including national leaders, were condemned to over 100 years’ prison 21 Aug after arrest in July 2016 “Operation Jaque”. Attorney General 28 Aug launched operation against MS-13 with 50 arrests. Month saw some progress in fight against corruption as former President Saca 7 Aug pleaded guilty to embezzlement scheme amounting to over $300mn during his govt, becoming first former Salvadoran head of state to face prison for corruption. Govt 21 Aug established diplomatic relations with China, ending support for Taiwan (see Taiwan Strait).

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Reports & Briefings

El Salvador’s Politics of Perpetual Violence

Also available in Español

Mafia of the Poor: Gang Violence and Extortion in Central America

Also available in Español

In The News

1 Mar 2018
Un pacto de Estado por la paz en El Salvador [entre el Partido FMLN y Arena que] suponga un compromiso con los cinco ejes del Plan El Salvador Seguro [es un paso indispensable]. El Faro

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Analyst, Northern Triangle
20 Dec 2017
Reprimir y perseguir el crimen [en El Salvador] es necesario, pero tratar por igual a los supuestos criminales y al casi medio millón de personas que viven bajo su yugo puede llegar a ser contraproducente. El Faro

Sofía Martínez Fernández

Analyst, Northern Triangle

Latest Updates

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Originally published in EFE

Undocumented Migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America

The northward flow of undocumented migrants fleeing economic hardship and violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America exposes thousands of vulnerable people to mass victimisation. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Third Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to continue to pursue an approach grounded in supporting community violence prevention, institutional reform and poverty alleviation in the countries of origin while supporting transiting countries in managing the flow.