El Salvador denies negotiation with Mara Salvatrucha gang

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The Government of El Salvador denied before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that it is holding negotiations with the Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS13), during a hearing in which social organizations denounced the militarization of public security and the lack of transparency in plans to combat criminal violence.

“Son journalistic information product of an information line from a couple of communication media that have no objective support, “said Elmer Castro, legal director of the Salvadoran Ministry of Security during the virtual hearing.

Informal pact

At the beginning of September, the Salvadoran media The lighthouse published a report in which it was pointed out, citing official documents of the prison system, that the government of President Nayib Bukele has been in negotiations with the MS13 gang since it came to power in June 2019.

For its part, InSight Crime published on October 2 that “there is an informal pact between some sectors of the Executive and the gangs” with which these gangs “are the first to receive government benefits.”

According to Castro, the publications do not prove the assumptions benefits granted to gang members prisoners in exchange for the reduction of homicidal violence and votes in favor of the New Ideas party, led by a relative of Bukele.

Fight crime

“They talk about many things and they even talk about a negotiation, a truce, but every truce has some level of benefits, of compensation between the parties that hold this negotiation, “said the official.

He added that “the Executive has shown that there is no preferential treatment for no one “in prisons, that the” blow to these criminal structures and the result thereof “has also been evidenced, which according to him has been a drop in homicides and disappearances.

“That is what the official figures say and although it is true there are opinions contrary to them, they are no more than opinions,” Castro stressed.

Lack of transparency

Verónica Reyna, from the organization Servicio Social Pasionista (SSPAS), pointed out during the hearing that with the lack of transparency in the so-called plan territorial control of the Government, “it seeks to prevent accountability” to “be able to effectively measure whether the actions that are being developed by the State are or are not linked to the decrease in crimes.”

“So far, we do not have objective and verifiable data that determine that the territorial control plan is related to the decrease in homicides“Reyna said.

Climate of violence

The year 2015 became the most violent in the recent history of The Savior with 103 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that the Sánchez Cerén Executive reduced to 50.5 in 2018.

In 2019, the year in which Sánchez Cerén ruled for six months, this index reached 36 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and the Government of Bukele expects that this 2020 will close in less than 20.

Social organizations expressed their concern about the militarization of public security with the use of some 9,000 soldiers and for the alleged human rights violations committed during mandatory confinement by COVID-19. The government representative indicated, without committing to any date, that when a police action verification table is reactivated, they will present the plan.

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