HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gangs 'At War' as Truce Hits the Rocks
BRIEF

El Salvador Gangs 'At War' as Truce Hits the Rocks

EL SALVADOR / 21 NOV 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The El Salvador Security and Justice Minister has said the country's gangs are once again at war as rising murder rates suggest the truce between the gangs is all but dead.

Speaking at a press conference to announce cross-party political support for measures to reinforce the security forces, Ricardo Perdomo said, "They (the gangs) are at war, in a process of vengeance and territorial control."

The minister also distanced the government from the deal agreed between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 gangs in March 2012, saying "I have never mentioned a truce. [The gangs] decide the details of the truce, only they know how things are. We, the authorities, do not get involved in this; we restrict ourselves to enforcing the law and stopping violence."

Perdomo's comments followed a statement from gang leaders read by truce mediator Raul Mijango the day before, in which they denied being behind the recent rise in homicides.

The gangs also denied Perdomo's previous statement that police intelligence indicated they were planning an increase in murders for December to pressure the government, and criticized what they consider to be the authorities return to a hardline "mano dura" (iron fist) approach to security.

InSight Crime Analysis

The war of words between the gangs and the authorities comes on the back of news that murder rates continue to rise and are rapidly approaching the levels seen before the gang truce.

Between November 1 and 17, there were 176 murders, an average of close to 10.4 a day, reported El Mundo. In contrast, over the same period of 2012, when the truce was stilling receiving widespread plaudits for drastically cutting the country's murder rate, there were 91 murders, at an average of nearly 5.4 a day.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

The latest figures fit a pattern seen for some months, with murders steadily approaching the pre-truce average of around 12 murders a day.

Against the backdrop of growing violence, support for the truce seems to be slipping away. Perdomo in particular has been a fierce critic of the agreement since he replaced David Munguia, who played an instrumental role in brokering the truce, as security minister in May 2013.

With elections now approaching, supporting the truce is increasingly looking like a politically toxic policy, meaning even if the gangs are genuine in their stated desire to continue with the agreement, they will likely not be supported in the initiative.

With little popular support to fall back on, this leaves El Salvador's bold anti-violence experiment all but finished.

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

BARRIO 18 / 7 JUN 2013

Barrio 18 leader Carlos Lechuga Mojica, alias "El Viejo Lin," is one of the most prominent spokesmen for El Salvador's…

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

In terms of total monetary loss due to extortion, El Salvador tops all Northern Triangle countries. The country pays out…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 4 AUG 2011

Police findings point to a link between a local Salvadoran gang, based in the center of the country east of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…