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. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BARRIO 18 / 19 JUL 2012

Honduras' street gangs have evolved over the last decade in response to tough anti-gang laws, focusing on building ties with…

EL SALVADOR / 18 JUL 2011

The governments of Central America and the Dominican Republic announced the creation of a commission to harmonize laws across the…

COCA / 22 DEC 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has a chance to reset the table on US-Latin American relations, but the Donald Trump administration’s schizophrenic,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…