HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Investigates both Sets of Gang Truce Negotiators
BRIEF

El Salvador Investigates both Sets of Gang Truce Negotiators

BARRIO 18 / 26 AUG 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

El Salvador's attorney general has confirmed that his office is investigating the actions of both sets of negotiators in the country's gang truce, suggesting there will be no more semi-official attempts at mediation with gangs under the new administration.

Speaking in an interview with La Prensa Grafica, Luis Martinez said he believed the recent arrest of gang mediator Father Antonio Rodriguez would mark the beginning of revelations of illegality in the truce process set up by the priest and then-Security Minister Ricardo Perdomo, and that the investigation could extend to the role of Perdomo himself.

Martinez added that his office is also looking into the initial negotiations between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 gangs initiated by Perdomo's predecessor David Mungia Payes, along with former congressman Raul Mijango and Bishop Fabio Colindres, but that the investigation is taking longer as the case is "much more complicated and runs much deeper."

Labeling the rival processes "Hypocritical Truce 1" and "Hypocritical Truce 2," Martinez told La Prensa Grafica that both sets of negotiations were facilitated by "people who are not transparent and sincere."

The new attorney general also condemned the results of the truce process.

"The famous truce was never in favor of the people, it was against the people," he said. "[The gangs] never stopped extorting, they never ceased bringing pain and grief to our country -- and so there was a mistake there."

InSight Crime Analysis

One of the main reasons for the breakdown of El Salvador's gang truce -- which led to a huge drop in murders after it came into force in March 2012 -- was the arrival of Ricardo Perdomo to the Security Ministry. Perdomo moved quickly to shut down channels of communication for imprisoned gang leaders and sidelined the initial negotiating team, while allowing Rodriguez, known locally as Padre Toño, to begin his own mediation process.

With the incoming Salvadoran government so far publicly ambivalent on gang negotiations, the arrest of Rodriguez raised suspicions that the new administration might favor the initial negotiators in any future mediations.

However, Martinez's comments suggest that the Attorney General's Office is going after all groups involved in the controversial truce process. These investigations likely spell the end of any semi-official attempts to broker agreements between the gangs.

By giving unofficial backing to the initial process, the previous government was able to maintain a politically expedient distance, but left the truce in a legal gray area. Negotiators will be unlikely to get involved if they feel that they risk prosecution, leaving the government with two options; a fully official mediation process, which would be a hard sell given the unpopularity of the idea with the electorate, or abandoning all attempts to negotiate with gangs.

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

BRAZIL / 24 MAR 2022

The 2021 ranking of the world's most violent cities predictably features a heavy presence by Latin American and Caribbean population…

BARRIO 18 / 14 SEP 2022

In the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, Carlos was trained to become a ruthless soldier for the Cárteles Unidos.

CHEPE DIABLO / 9 DEC 2020

Hotels seized from accused Salvadoran drug kingpin Chepe Diablo were awarded lucrative government contracts to serve as quarantine centers, according to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…