Has Bukele succeeded in dismantling the gangs in El Salvador?

Has Bukele succeeded in dismantling the gangs in El Salvador?

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Nayib Bukele has detained more than 60,000 gang members under the state of emergency, which allows arrests without a warrant and has been denounced by human rights organizations. Has Bukele managed to end crime in El Salvador? We asked the question to the Salvadoran journalist, expert in organized crime, Héctor Silva Ávalos.

Almost 63,000 suspected gang members have been detained in El Salvador as part of the “war” against these gangs launched 10 months ago by President Nayib Bukele, according to the Minister of Justice and Security, Gustavo Villatoro. This month, the Salvadoran president inaugurated a new prison, considered the largest in the Americas, in which he plans to imprison a large part of the arrested gang members.

The massive arrests, criticized by human rights organizations, are protected by an emergency regime that allows arrests without a warrant, approved by Congress at the request of Bukele in response to a homicidal escalation that claimed the lives of 87 people from 25 to 27 last March.

According to the digital media “El Faro”, neither the Mara Salvatrucha-13, nor the two factions of Barrio 18 -Sureños and Revolucionarios-, nor other minor gangs, such as Mao-Mao, La Mirada Locos or CODEMAR, operate more in the streets of El Salvador the way they have for decades.

After ten months of emergency regime, in which constitutional guarantees have been suppressed, the government of President Nayib Bukele has destructured the gangs in El Salvador, undermining their territorial control, their main source of financing, and their hierarchical structure.

“Bukele made a governance pact with the gangs, there are MS 13 leaders who have been protected… the gangs have been replaced, now they are uniformed. There are news that they extort and also traffic drugs, they also have the power of the legal use of force… there is no way to determine how much crime has dropped because there is no data. The president’s narrative generates a perception of security that gives him overwhelming popularity that has already secured him re-election.” He details Salvadoran journalist, organized crime expert, Héctor Silva Ávalos at the RFI microphone.

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