HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gang Truce Was ‘State Policy’: Trial Testimony
BRIEF

El Salvador Gang Truce Was ‘State Policy’: Trial Testimony

BARRIO 18 / 9 AUG 2017 BY ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO EN

A trial has begun in El Salvador against several officials for their alleged illegal activity related to a controversial gang truce between 2012 to 2014. The testimony and evidence presented is poised to shed new light on the links between politicians and gangs in the Central American country.

Early testimony and public statements by several officials during the early days of the trial suggested that the truce was a "state policy" endorsed by former President Mauricio Funes. Witnesses also said that the impetus for the gang truce did not come from the gangs or civil society, but from the government itself. 

Former truce mediator Bishop Fabio Colindres testified that he and Raúl Mijango, a former mediator and vocal proponent for the truce, were "invited" by Defense Minister David Munguía Payés to initiate a dialogue with imprisoned gang leaders near the end of 2011. This dialogue was an early phase of the talks that eventually led to the truce.

Colindres and former police chief Francisco Salinas both testified that they met directly with Funes on multiple separate occasions to discuss the truce. Salinas asserted that "former President Funes had full knowledge of the truce because it was a government policy."

SEE ALSO: Special Investigation of El Salvador's Gang Truce

Munguía Payés, who is expected to testify in the case on Friday, also made a public statement during the first day of the trial that tied Funes to the truce and reiterated that "the truce between gangs was a state policy."

Salinas' testimony also included new allegations of police involvement in the truce, including that the Presidential Intelligence Service (Organismo de Inteligencia del Estado - OIE) was responsible for paying the rental costs for the office where Mijango worked during the truce, and that the Police Intelligence Center (Centro de Inteligencia Policial - CIP) had delegated two police officers to carry out intelligence work during the truce period.

Further witnesses also testified that Nelson Rauda, the former head of the penitentiary system, erased the footage recorded by security cameras in the Izalco (Sonsonate) prison on at least two occasions during the truce, according to reporting by Factum.

InSight Crime Analysis

The trial over alleged illegal activity related to El Salvador's controversial gang truce has already begun to shed light on new details about the connections between the country's politicians and its gangs, and promises to reveal more in the coming days and weeks.

However, this is not the first time that evidence has pointed to the gangs' political clout. For example, InSight Crime accessed surreptitiously recorded videos last year that showed officials engaging in secret negotiations with the country's top gang leaders, promising them state funding in exchange for political support.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

The gang truce's temporary cessation of hostilities was associated with a reduction in homicides estimated to have saved as many as 5,500 lives. However, the process has been criticized for strengthening the gangs both militarily and politically.

The MS13 sought renewed negotiations with the government at the start of this year, but the government strongly dismissed these overtures in public. The gang truce was and is opposed by most Salvadorans, who tend to support heavy-handed approaches to dealing with gang-related security issues.

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

CONTRABAND / 24 OCT 2022

A new report by Paraguay’s Congress has connected former president, Horacio Cartes, to a raft of crimes.

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 NOV 2021

On November 5, 2019, threatening pamphlets appeared on the streets of El Callao, a mining town in Venezuela's eastern state…

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 APR 2021

Recent punitive action taken by the United States against Paraguayan officials has reinforced how far corruption underpins the South American…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…