HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gangs Take Credit for Homicide Drop During Romero's Beatification
BRIEF

El Salvador Gangs Take Credit for Homicide Drop During Romero's Beatification

BARRIO 18 / 28 MAY 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

El Salvador's principal street gangs have taken responsibility for the sharp drop in homicides during the recent beatification ceremonies for Archbishop Oscar Romero, but authorities deny such claims. 

In an unconfirmed communiqué (pdf) dated May 25, spokespeople for the Barrio 18, MS13, and other Salvadoran gangs said they had agreed to a ceasefire that took effect last weekend, when an estimated 300,000 people gathered to celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Romero, who was assassinated in 1980. In the midst of an historic month for violence, El Salvador's police registered just seven murders on Saturday, May 23 and five on Sunday, May 24, reported ElSalvador.com.

"The weekend [homicide] statistics confirm our compliance [with the ceasefire]," the statement reads. 

The gang spokespeople stated that the drop in homicides "exposed" those who claimed the gangs were deliberately increasing violence in order to get the attention of "international delegations" attending the weekend's festivities. Homicides in El Salvador have since returned to levels seen prior to May 23, according to La Prensa Grafica

The spokespeople also rejected rumors that some gangs have prohibited women from having certain hair colors or wearing specific articles of clothing in capital city San Salvador. Similar rumors have created panic and alarm in neighboring Honduras. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The communiqué appears to be another attempt by El Salvador's street gangs to demonstrate that they -- and not the government -- are the ones who exert the most influence over the country's security situation. This is not purely for showmanship: the gangs have previously tried using violence as a means of establishing greater influence over politics in El Salvador, and to pressure the government into transferring gang leaders out of maximum-security prison. 

However, authorities rejected the idea that the gangs have this type of impact on violence in El Salvador. "The rises and falls [in homicides] are quite variable in our country and cannot be attributed to one particular factor," Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, Director of El Salvador's National Civil Police (PNC), said on May 26. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

To be sure, it is difficult to determine how many homicides are linked to possible orders from gang leaders to intensify violence, considering the country's low success rate at solving murder cases. Rumors of death squads operating in the country further complicate what is already a murky security situation. 

In any case, it is clear both gangs and security forces have become increasingly confrontational in recent months, which has helped put 2015 on track to be El Salvador's most violent year since the country's civil war, which ended in 1992. 

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

EL SALVADOR / 30 DEC 2021

The United States, under the Biden administration, was supposed to help curb corruption, but for corrupt officials in Central America,…

EL SALVADOR / 7 JAN 2019

As 2018 came to a close, two things became clear: the once impenetrable armor against corruption that the United States…

EL SALVADOR / 22 JUL 2015

Social workers and police officers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC) have detected at least nine…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…