HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gang Truce 'Technically' Finished: Police
BRIEF

El Salvador Gang Truce 'Technically' Finished: Police

BARRIO 18 / 4 MAR 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

El Salvador police have said rising homicides indicate the country's gang truce effectively no longer exists, raising questions as to whether the violence is because gang leaders have abandoned the pact, or have lost control of the ranks.

Rigoberto Pleites, director of El Salvador's National Police (PNC), told media police believe the two-year-old truce between the rival MS13 and Barrio 18 street gangs "technically no longer exists, given the increase in homicides in the past months," reported El Diario de Hoy.

However, Pleites added it was not for the police to pronounce the death of the truce, and whether it has a future depends on decisions made by the gang leaders.

In El Salvador, 484 homicides were reported between January 1 and March 1 this year, an average of eight per day. According to Pleites, street gangs were responsible for between 60 to 70 percent of the murders, and most of those were disputes between the groups.

InSight Crime Analysis

The gang truce in El Salvador has been slowly disintegrating for some time. Ricardo Perdomo, El Salvador's Security and Justice Minister, said this past November the truce was all but dead due to a rising murder rate, speculation that was fueled by the unearthing of mass graves linked to the gangs.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

However, for the police to unofficially pronounce the truce dead is a watermark in proceedings, especially since the truce has already been all but abandoned by political leaders ahead of elections. It is likely that all that now remains is for the truce's supporters and the gang leadership to admit the pact's failure, and for the post-mortem into its death to begin.

In the initial period of the truce, imprisoned leaders demonstrated a surprising ability to control mid-level commanders of semi-independent local units, or "clicas," and lower overall violence. The steadily rising homicides, therefore, raise questions as to whether these leaders no longer retain the obedience of the clicas and whether the individual factions have broken ranks and are acting independently.

If this is the case then it may represent a breakdown of the command hierarchy. Alternatively, it could be that the initial obedience was artificial and only in response to gang leaders' selling the benefits of the truce to clica heads. If the leaders of the clicas no longer see these benefits, this may explain their return to violence.

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

HOMICIDES / 19 JAN 2011

Graphics published by Nexos magazine argue that Mexico's homicide rate spiked in places where President Felipe Calderon deployed the military.

BARRIO 18 / 20 JAN 2021

Though he did not have any apparent health problems, a top MS13 leader was transferred from a prison to…

BARRIO 18 / 21 JUN 2021

A massacre between the Barrio 18 and MS13 gangs in Honduras’ most notorious prison raises questions on whether the military…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.