{"code":"26100","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"1633","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26100","link_edit":"","name":"Is Bukele's Gang Truce Unraveling?","slug":"is-bukeles-gang-truce-unraveling-","info":"El Salvador, in Brief: Communications privacy and the right to legal counsel in case of detention, among other civil liberties, will be suspended for 30 days in El Salvador as a government response to the alarming spike of 62 gang-attributed homicides on Saturday. The surge in violence casts further doubt on the efficiency of President Bukele\u2019s security policy, known as \u201cPlan Territorial Control,\u201d already under scrutiny because of revelations of secret gang negotiations. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"1633","pict":{"cms-image-000037346-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"37346","name":"cms-image-000037346.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037346.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037346.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037346-jpg","text":"<p>Salvadoran soldiers detain a man in San Jos\u00e9 El Pino, Santa Tecla, an MS-13 stronghold, on Sunday, Mar. 27. Security forces did not permit residents to leave the community after returning home for the day. They detained any residents with tattoos apparently alluding to gangs. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ESalvadoran soldiers detain a man in San Jos\u00e9 El Pino, Santa Tecla, an MS-13 stronghold, on Sunday, Mar. 27. Security forces did not permit residents to leave the community after returning home for the day. They detained any residents with tattoos apparently alluding to gangs. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000036907-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"36907","name":"cms-image-000036907.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036907.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000036907.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000036907-jpg","text":"<p>Prison Bureau director Osiris Luna enters Zacatecoluca Prison in July 2020 to meet with incarcerated gang leaders. In August 2021, El Faro published evidence from the Attorney General's Office that senior prison officials in the Bukele administration removed logbooks and hard drives documenting their negotiations with El Salvador's three gangs amid a criminal probe. In December 2021, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted Luna and a top lieutenant, Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, for leading the talks on behalf of the Bukele administration.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EPrison Bureau director Osiris Luna enters Zacatecoluca Prison in July 2020 to meet with incarcerated gang leaders. In August 2021, El Faro published evidence from the Attorney General's Office that senior prison officials in the Bukele administration removed logbooks and hard drives documenting their negotiations with El Salvador's three gangs amid a criminal probe. In December 2021, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted Luna and a top lieutenant, Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, for leading the talks on behalf of the Bukele administration.\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":37346,"date":{"live":"2022\/03\/28"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"03","data_post_dateLive_DD":"28","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESaturday, March 26, was the most violent day of the last 20 years in El Salvador. Authorities registered 62 murders in just 24 hours, far more than the average \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/cguanacas\/status\/1508101752675082241?s=20&t=0XXgcZb0uk5am-eP7IR5YA\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003E3.4 murders per day\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E throughout 2020 and 2021. The day before, Friday, there were 14, and on Sunday 11.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ECiting the violence, the Bukele-controlled Legislative Assembly convened a late-night emergency session. At 2 a.m. on Sunday, the legislature enacted a 30-day \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202203\/el_salvador\/26096\/El-Salvador-en-R%C3%A9gimen-de-Excepci%C3%B3n-tras-jornada-de-m%C3%A1s-de-70-homicidios.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Estate of exception\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that suspends the right to association and legal defense, increases the period of detention without cause from 72 hours to 15 days, and allows the government to intercept communications without a warrant.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe legislature did not restrain freedom of movement, but \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202203\/ef_foto\/26097\/Si-entra-ya-no-va-a-poder-salir.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esecurity forces clamped down on movement\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in communities like San Jos\u00e9 El Pino, Santa Tecla, a bastion of MS-13 in La Libertad, the department with the most homicides this weekend. The \u003Cstrong\u003Epolice and military prevented residents from leaving the community\u003C\/strong\u003E after returning home.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBy Sunday night, Bukele claimed that police had made almost 600 arrests of alleged gang members over the weekend. \u201cIf the 'international community' is worried about their little angels, come and give them food,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1508278475026845696?s=20&t=kcxnziTfdZ_pIRbncdenpA\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ehe tweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, \u201cbecause I won\u2019t take money from the schools to feed these terrorists.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EHuman rights groups criticized the state of exception, saying that the measures should \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/JuanPappierHRW\/status\/1507984857271525378\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Emaintain respect\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E for human rights and that the restrictions do not enhance police capacity to rein in the violence. Constitutional experts warn that the restrictions infringe on critical due process rights such as habeas corpus that, according to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, cannot be suspended even during a state of exception.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37346\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Salvadoran soldiers detain a man in San Jos\u00e9 El Pino, Santa Tecla, an MS-13 stronghold, on Sunday, Mar. 27. Security forces did not permit residents to leave the community after returning home for the day. They detained any residents with tattoos apparently alluding to gangs. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ESalvadoran soldiers detain a man in San Jos\u00e9 El Pino, Santa Tecla, an MS-13 stronghold, on Sunday, Mar. 27. Security forces did not permit residents to leave the community after returning home for the day. They detained any residents with tattoos apparently alluding to gangs. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele has repeatedly pointed to his security plan known as Plan Territorial Control as the reason for a consistent decrease in homicides under his administration. However, security analysts note that details of the plan have never been shared publicly and that data \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202007\/el_salvador\/24664\/Crisis-Group-Dissects-El-Salvador%E2%80%99s-Historic-Dip-in-Homicides.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Edoes not support the connection\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E. El Faro revealed in September 2020 that Bukele\u2019s government \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202009\/el_salvador\/24785\/Bukele-Spent-A-Year-Negotiating-with-MS-13-for-a-Reduction-in-Homicides-and-Electoral-Support.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Enegotiated with MS-13 for a reduction in homicides\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, further casting doubt on the government narrative.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cThe gangs are sending a forceful message: They are in charge,\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E Marvin Reyes, spokesperson for the patrolmen's union of the National Civil Police, told El Faro English about the weekend violence. \u201cThey are saying that they can increase or decrease homicides when they see fit.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EWhat\u2019s Behind the Spike in Homicides?\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele\u2019s government has attributed most of the murders to MS-13. Reyes says police data backs this up, because most of the murders were carried out in territory controlled by MS-13. The murders were carried out in a \u201crandom manner,\u201d said Reyes, and many of the 80 victims were defenseless citizens going about their day-to-day tasks \u2014 street and \u003Cstrong\u003Estall vendors, taxi drivers, and construction workers\u003C\/strong\u003E.\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EReyes said the weekend was proof the government\u2019s security plan is not having the intended effect. \u201cPlan Control Territorial has remained a name, nothing more,\u201d said Reyes. \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cThe authorities don\u2019t have control of the territories.\u003C\/strong\u003E This remains in the hands of gangs, who implement laws, rules, or directives for the population.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe homicides are also a message to Salvadorans, said Luis Enrique Amaya, public security researcher and consultant. \u201cThe phenomenon of the gangs is not over,\u201d he said.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJust what the gangs want from the government is unclear without transparency from the government and first-hand knowledge of any ongoing conversations, explained Amaya.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=36907\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Prison Bureau director Osiris Luna enters Zacatecoluca Prison in July 2020 to meet with incarcerated gang leaders. In August 2021, El Faro published evidence from the Attorney General's Office that senior prison officials in the Bukele administration removed logbooks and hard drives documenting their negotiations with El Salvador's three gangs amid a criminal probe. In December 2021, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted Luna and a top lieutenant, Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, for leading the talks on behalf of the Bukele administration.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EPrison Bureau director Osiris Luna enters Zacatecoluca Prison in July 2020 to meet with incarcerated gang leaders. In August 2021, El Faro published evidence from the Attorney General's Office that senior prison officials in the Bukele administration removed logbooks and hard drives documenting their negotiations with El Salvador's three gangs amid a criminal probe. In December 2021, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted Luna and a top lieutenant, Carlos Marroqu\u00edn, for leading the talks on behalf of the Bukele administration.\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA controversy around extradition requests has recently sparked questions of whether the surge in homicides could be a symptom of tensions in the government\u2019s negotiations with gangs. Salvadoran courts have caused a diplomatic rift with the U.S. by \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26078\/Is-El-Salvador-Protecting-MS-13-from-Extradition.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Erefusing to extradite high-ranking MS-13 members\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIf the government wants to signal strength and harshness with the gangs, then it would have to extradite all the members of the leadership of all the gangs that are being requested in the U.S.,\u201d Amaya told El Faro English. \u201cIf it doesn\u2019t do it, all it does is fuel the thesis that what is happening is a negotiation with the gangs.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ERecycled Tactics\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele has \u003Cstrong\u003Eused the increase in violence to promote \u003C\/strong\u003E\u003Cem\u003Emano dura \u003C\/em\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003Epolicies\u003C\/strong\u003E similar to his predecessors, even though this approach has fueled successive cycles of gang-police violence and retaliation that contributed to El Salvador\u2019s distinction as the most murderous country on Earth in 2015. Bukele \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1507890917138653188\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E Saturday that the police and military should be \u201callowed to do their job,\u201d suggesting a return to an institutional culture under the \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/201908\/el_salvador\/23592\/PDDH-La-Polic%C3%ADa-ejecut%C3%B3-a-116-personas-entre-2014-y-2018.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epast government\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E that encouraged security forces to shoot without consequence.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis led to \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/www.salanegra.elfaro.net\/es\/201507\/cronicas\/17205\/La-Polic%C3%ADa-masacr%C3%B3-en-la-finca-San-Blas.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eextrajudicial killings\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, as El Faro has documented over the years. \u201cWe have the green light, men,\u201d one anonymous account, called Comandante Jaguar, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/_ComandoJaguar\/status\/1507895399004127233\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E. Bukele retweeted the post.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn Sunday night, Bukele allies circulated a video of soldiers beating alleged gang members. The president then sent a tweet apparently \u003Cstrong\u003Ecomparing the brutality to Will Smith\u2019s violent outburst at the Oscars\u003C\/strong\u003E: \u201cSalvadoran soldier \u003E Will Smith.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThis type of message is dangerous,\u201d said Reyes. \u201cPNC agents are not outlaws. There is a legal framework for when they can use lethal force of their weapons to defend themselves or another as part of their duty.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EUrsula Indocochea of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) said that all government discourse at this moment should be seriously questioned. \u201cWe\u2019ve seen many times that it\u2019s a strategy of the government to create a problem and later appear as the solution,\u201d Indocochea said.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThis time, the strategy is a state of exception. Indocochea called this policy \u201cworrying,\u201d particularly given Bukele\u2019s history of \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202004\/el_salvador\/24324\/Ruling-by-Tweet-Bukele-Places-La-Libertad-under-Military-Lockdown.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ecurbing civil liberties amid crises like the Covid-19 pandemic\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E. \u201cThis state of exception eliminates many basic guarantees that don\u2019t have a reason to be eliminated,\u201d she said, \u201cand it could even be used to detain people that have nothing to do with the homicides.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EReyes said he hopes the state of exception is used to \u201ccounteract those causing so much mourning and pain for the Salvadoran people,\u201d and not for \u201cpolitical persecution, to silence voices that are uncomfortable.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThanks for your time. If you\u2019ve gained from getting our work in your inbox, please consider \u003Cstrong\u003Efunding independent journalism in Central America\u003C\/strong\u003E, in its most critical hour, at \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esupport.elfaro.net\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E"}