HomeNewsBrief'Opponents of El Salvador Gang Truce Facing Payback Killings'
BRIEF

'Opponents of El Salvador Gang Truce Facing Payback Killings'

BARRIO 18 / 6 MAR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A prominent critic of the El Salvador gang truce has claimed the murder of his colleague was in retaliation for his opposition to the ceasefire, again raising the issue of whether the truce's opponents are being silenced with violence.

Social worker and former gang member Edgar Giovanni Morales was shot two times by youths believed to be linked to the Barrio 18 street gang, reported El Mundo.

The hit took place outside the San Francisco church in San Salvador, which is run by Spanish priest Antonio Rodriguez -- an outspoken critic of the government engineered truce between El Salvador's main gangs, Barrio 18 and MS-13, which has seen the number of murders more than halved in less than a year.

Morales worked in the Servicio Social Pasionista, a social program that rehabilitates ex-gang members, and was closely allied to Rodriguez, better known as "Father Toño," reported La Prensa Grafica.

The motive of the attack remains unknown but Rodriguez said he believed the attack was related to his vocal opposition of the nearly year-old gang truce. Rodriguez has said that he believes the truce benefits the gangs while they continue to be involved in criminal activities, and called it a "mafioso peace" in a public letter published last year.

Police described Morales as a high-ranking local gang member in charge of recruiting youth for gang membership, and indicated they believe the murder was the result of a conflict between gangs.

InSight Crime Analysis

If Rodriguez's claims are correct, then Morales may not be the first person murdered because of opposition to the truce. According to a recent report by the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC), gang members who opposed the truce are believed to be among those who rank among El Salvador's "disappeared" -- although no precise numbers are available.

However, given Morales' criminal past, it is also possible his murder was an act of revenge or even linked to his social work with former gang members. In such a case, his murder would come as another example of the recent rise in violence that has tested the durability of the truce. Morales' death comes on the heels of a number of recent revenge killings, including a gang shootout in San Miguel and three recent murders in Ilopango, one of the first areas to be designated a "peace zone as part of the second stage of the truce. An alleged former gang member was also murdered while fishing in late January, which police have linked to his gang ties.

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 / 12 JAN 2018

Authorities in the United States indicted several alleged members of the MS13 gang, offering a detailed look into how…

GUATEMALA / 1 APR 2013

An official investigation into the workings of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in Guatemala paints a picture of a highly organized,…

HONDURAS / 9 SEP 2010

Honduras is seeing the fallout from Tuesday’s grisly massacre inside a shoe factory, when three perpetrators used AK-47s to slaughter…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.