HomeNewsBriefBarrio 18 Wants to Join Possible Talks With El Salvador Govt: Report
BRIEF

Barrio 18 Wants to Join Possible Talks With El Salvador Govt: Report

BARRIO 18 / 17 JAN 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

A second major gang in El Salvador said it hopes to join possible negotiations between the government and the MS13, but its entry into the process may only complicate efforts.

The Sureños faction of the Barrio 18 gang told news outlet El Faro that it would show signs of goodwill to demonstrate that it was open to joining the process. A gang representative speaking on behalf of the Barrio 18 said these signs could include giving up territory, ending recruitment, stopping extortion and helping to locate disappeared bodies.

The gang's spokesperson added that a United Nations commission or the Catholic Church could potentially serve as facilitators for the discussion between the gangs and the state.

The report comes less than a week after the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) said it was also willing to enter negotiations with authorities. The MS13's overture included the unprecedented offer of dismantling the criminal structure in exchange for the promise of jobs and social programs.

So far, the gangs' initiative has been met with resistance from the ruling Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional - FMLN).

But other political actors, including several opposition parties, have showed more openness to the proposition at hand, and the Catholic Church appears to be willing to take up an important mediation role.

"Until now it's been about who is the strongest," Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez told El Faro. "Who kills more people? Who captures more gang members? And this leads nowhere." 

InSight Crime Analysis

While the Sureños' announcement may provide further incentive for El Salvador's government to change its official stance, it could also makes negotiations more difficult.

The Barrio 18 has a vertical structure, but its cells are semi-autonomous. This independence has already led to trouble in the organization, including the fracturing of the gang itself into the Sureños and Revolucionarios factions.

The gang's leadership is also mostly incarcerated. As such, it remains to be seen whether talks led by these leaders would be respected to the letter by the cliques operating on the street.

Furthermore, the Revolucionarios have yet to take a public position on the issue.

SEE ALSO: Barrio 18 News and Profile

Notwithstanding these uncertainties, the Sureños' announcement is another surprising step towards dialogue. Given the support of other influential political and social actors, coupled with intensified fighting between the gangs and the police, El Salvador's government may well face increasing pressure to discard its current impervious hardline stance against talks.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HONDURAS / 9 SEP 2010

Honduras is seeing the fallout from Tuesday’s grisly massacre inside a shoe factory, when three perpetrators used AK-47s to slaughter…

EL SALVADOR / 3 MAR 2018

Mexico authorities have arrested an MS13 leader in Tijuana, disrupting another attempt by the gang to create a small international…

EL SALVADOR / 11 AUG 2015

El Salvador is considering allowing greater leeway for wiretaps, as the country’s worsening security situation continues to evoke concerns --…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…