El Salvador

Sessions pledges crackdown on Latin gangs

Posted on April 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchAttorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking to the Justice Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) on April 18, pledged that the Trump administration will have "zero tolerance for gang violence" from "transnational criminal organizations"—particularly singling out MS-13, the Central American narco-network that has its roots on the streets of Los Angeles.

Central America: tri-national task force against gangs

Posted on November 16th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaA joint security force bringing together the three nations of Central America's Northern Triangle officially began operations to fight narco-gangs and organized crime on Nov. 15. The force is made up of military, police, intelligence and border officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—which all face growing internal violence from criminal networks. The force was officially inaugurated at a ceremony in the Honduran border town of Ocotepeque, near the point where the three countries meet. The presidents of all three nations were in attendance.

El Salvador deploys new military unit against gangs

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaEl Salvador has deployed a new special unit to fight criminal gangs that are now said to be operating not only in the cities but in rural areas throughout the country. The 1000-strong Specialized Reaction Force is equipped with helicopters, armored cars and assault weapons. A mixed unit of 600 military troops and 400 National Police agents, it is charged with "pursuing and neutralizing" the gangs, which are said to have 70,000 members in the country. At an April 20 ceremony to unveil the new force, Vice President Oscar Ortiz said:"The moment has come to stop the scale of violence which has imposed itself in the last few years on our country and which has created so much blood and sacrifice... We are going to go after them in the countryside and in the city." He added that human rights will be respected. (BBC News, Reuters)

El Salvador: high court rules street gangs are 'terrorist groups'

Posted on August 25th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Central AmericaThe constitutional chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court of Justice on Aug. 24 ruled that the country's notoriously violent street gangs and those who support them financially will now be classified as "terrorist groups." The ruling came in a decision rejecting four challenges to the constitutionality of the country's Special Law Against Terrorist Acts  (LECAT). The ruling defines terrorism as the "organized and systematic exercise of violence," placing the label on any group that attempts to usurp the state's monopoly on the use of force. The ruling upholds the freezing of funds for any persons believed linked to the named groups, and a ban on any negotiation with the groups. At issue are the Mara Salvatrucha network and their deadly rivals the Barrio 18 gang.  

El Salvador terror: gang warfare or death-squad provocation?

Posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaEl Salvador's Feb. 2 presidential election was overshadowed by a dramatic spike in the country's homicide rate—less than a year after a truce between warring criminal gangs had led many Salvadorans to hope that their country was back from the brink. Most alarming was the December discovery of 44 bodies in 14 mass graves in a wooded area of Villa Lourdes barrio in Colón, a suburb of the capital San Salvador and a notorious gang stronghold. Many of the bullet-ridden bodies were mutilated and half-naked. Authorities accuse the Barrio 18 gang of depositing their victims in the clandestine graves. A March 2012 truce between Barrio 18 and its deadly rivals, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), was credited with slashing El Salvador’s homicides from more than 4,000 in 2011 to just 2,500 over the past two years. For at least 15 months after the truce, the number of killings per day averaged 5.5, up from 14 before. But January 2014 saw a daily average of 7.7. This made easy propaganda for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) to bait the ruling left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) as soft on crime.

White House expands drug watch list to include all Central America

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

President Barack Obama has included El Salvador and Belize on the list of 22 countries ranked as "Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2012"—for the first time placing all seven Central American nations on the annual list that identifies countries that "significantly affect the United States" through their role in the drug trade.

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