HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Gangs Want a Peace Process
BRIEF

El Salvador Gangs Want a Peace Process

BARRIO 18 / 24 APR 2015 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

El Salvador’s gangs have released a new statement promising to reduce violence, but with their top leaders back in a maximum security prison, it is worth asking whether they really have the ability to keep their rank-and-file in line.

The announcement -- supposedly signed by spokesmen for the MS13, Barrio 18, Mao-Mao, and Mirada Locos 13 gangs -- asserts that they will cease attacks as a “gesture of goodwill," reported La Pagina.

“We are giving instructions for our units to stand down,” the statement reads, adding that gang members will work towards “satisfactorily responding to what society hopes of us: less murders, less extortion; and definitely: less violence.” Attacks of all types have apparently been ordered to stop immediately.

The first lines of the statement declare that the commitment to cease killings was “a gift to Monseigneur Romero” -- the Salvadoran Archbishop assassinated in 1980 during the country’s civil war -- and is a sign of “repentance and a request for society’s forgiveness."

The statement also said that Raul Mijango, a mediator for El Salvador's 2012 gang truce, had given the government a 26-point "peace agenda" on behalf of the gangs. Half of these points consist of actions the gangs said they were committed to following, despite not seeing “the same intentions on the part of the government."

The "private" talks between the government and the gangs should be monitored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the statement said.

InSight Crime Analysis

Given the recent transfers of gang leaders to a maximum-security prison, it is unclear how they coordinated the release of this joint statement. This should raise suspicions over who actually produced the document, and if they actually have the clout to compel their fellow gangs members to cooperate. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of El Salvador Gang Truce

Indeed, in January the MS13 and Barrio 18 attempted to resurrect the failed gang truce by signing an agreement to halt violence. This failed to materialize: March was the most violent month El Salvador had seen in a decade. President Salvador Sanchez Ceren has said that 30 percent of those murders involved police clashes with gangs.

The government has previously said that restarting dialogue with the gangs is not on their security agenda, and instead has favored a more hardline approach. One top security official even suggested that if more police acted in “legitimate self-defense” and gunned down gang members, it could help pacify the country.

It may be that, in response to this heavy-handed rhetoric and aggressive response, the gangs are seeking respite in a new peace deal. It may also be that amid the skyrocketing violence, the gangs see a new opportunity to pressure the government into talks.  Still, especially compared with past press releases credited to the gangs, this most recent one comes off as less assertive -- in a previous statement, the gangs implied they have enough political influence to influence the outcome of the next presidential elections. 

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 / 3 MAY 2017

Legislators in Guatemala have proposed a new bill aimed at attacking the country's gangs by increasing fines and prison…

EL SALVADOR / 7 JUN 2021

The announcement of the end of El Salvador’s anti-graft commission, which had been backed by the Organization of American States,…

EL SALVADOR / 9 MAR 2016

An El Salvador official has suggested criminalizing the payment of extortion fees by businesses, touching off a debate that cuts…

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…