Intense gang warfare continues to plague El Salvador, undeterred by successive governments’ heavy-handed and militarised repression policies. More investment in holistic violence prevention strategies and economic alternatives to criminal violence are necessary if the country's chronic insecurity crisis is to be alleviated.
Official homicide figures continued to fall, with police chief 15 Oct reporting 2,657 killings since 1 Jan, 13% reduction on same period 2017, and dramatic increase in drugs seizures since 2015. Former gang truce mediator Raúl Mijango sentenced 12 Oct to thirteen years prison for benefiting from extortion rackets during failed dialogue process. Anti-corruption drive continued with attorney general (AG) 16 Oct issuing arrest warrants for 25 people including former President Funes, a former AG and businessmen for involvement in corruption scheme within AG’s office. U.S. federal judge 3 Oct ordered U.S. administration to temporarily halt its plan to cut Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program after finding insufficient evidence to end TPS for several countries, including El Salvador with 200,000 beneficiaries. U.S. President Trump 16 and 22 Oct threatened to suspend funding to region if migrant caravan from Honduras is not stopped (see Honduras).
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.
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].
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 sociólogo Robert King Merton calificó de "profecía autocumplida" una predicción que, una vez hecha, es en sí misma la causa de que se haga realidad.
Originally published in EFE
Originally published in The Washington Post
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.