Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Governments must go beyond punitive measures and address the social and economic roots of gang culture, tackle extortion schemes and invest in communities.
Govt 4 May declared fall in homicides, though uneven across country. Media 25 April reported self-defence armed groups operating in some areas; President of Assembly Guillermo Gallegos 6 May admitted he had armed these groups himself, senior police officials expressed caution. National Security Council 5 May discussed potential reforms and monitoring systems to mitigate impact of possible increase in U.S. deportations of gang members. Media 27 April reported potential split of MS-13 gang into two groups, confirmed by police and govt, although respected gang experts denied rift, claiming it was govt attempt to brand groups as divided and weak. U.S. Congress 5 May approved more funding for Central America countries including $10mn for El Salvador’s attorney general’s office.