HomeNewsBriefChurch Brokered El Salvador Gang Truce: Bishop
BRIEF

Church Brokered El Salvador Gang Truce: Bishop

BARRIO 18 / 21 MAR 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

An El Salvadoran bishop has claimed that a recent drop in homicides is due to the Church negotiating a truce between the country’s two main gangs, the MS-13 and Barrio 18, and that there was no government deal with these gangs.

Bishop Fabio Colindres announced in a press conference that the Church had brokered an agreement between the rivals, who agreed to cease “deadly attacks” on each other, though he said he could not guarantee how long it would last. He said that no concessions had been given by the authorities to bring about this truce, and that gang leaders had contacted him to ask him to mediate.

Last week, El Faro reported that the government had made a deal with the gangs, transferring 30 imprisoned gang leaders to lower-security prisons in exchange for a cut in violence. The transfers took place by March 11, and in the following week murders dropped by more than half, compared to the first 12 weeks of the year.

Security and Justice Minister David Munguia Payes denied this report, claiming that the drop in killings was a result of his tough security policies, and said the government was not negotiating with any gang. He did not mention any mediation being carried out by the church.

In his press conference to announce the truce, the bishop was accompanied by former congressman Raul Mijango, who says he helped mediate with the gangs. Both said that the government knew about the negotiations from the start.

InSight Crime Analysis

Something seems to have taken place to halt the violence in El Salvador — according to El Faro, there have been an average of five murders a day in the country over the last 10 days, down from 14 a day in January and February.

However, it remains unclear what has brought about this change. The bishop was unable to give details of the talks with gang members, or the names of those involved. He claimed that he could not remember the dates of the talks. El Faro points out that his description of meetings with 50 prisoners at a time clash with their experience of security policies in the maximum security facility of Zacatecoluca, where they could not meet with more than one inmate at a time.

El Faro’s editor Carlos Dada told the Committee to Protect Journalists that Munguia had held a news conference on Friday, without inviting representatives of the site, and announced that he had intelligence suggesting El Faro staff were in danger from gang reprisals following the story. Dado said that Munguia contacted the site the following day and warned them of the threat, but did not offer protection or more detailed information.

According to Dado, El Faro staff were followed and photographed by unknown individuals after publishing an investigation last year on a trafficking organization called the Texis Cartel. The editor said he suspected they might be police trying to identify the website’s sources for that story, some of whom were anonymous police officials. Munguia told the CPJ that no such trailing had been ordered by any government office.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 23 FEB 2012

Authorities in El Salvador say they arrested five people and seized "revolutionary propaganda" belonging to a guerrilla group, but government…

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 23 JUN 2017

Representatives of three US federal law enforcement agencies were unable to offer the Senate Judiciary Committee any conclusive evidence…

BARRIO 18 / 28 APR 2014

El Salvador's outgoing president has blamed a spike in homicides on a faction of the 18th Street gang, and the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…