It was also true that gang leaders were enjoying plasma screens and conjugal visits in the prisons.
Some had access to cable and internet, water heaters, and cell phones, and were allowed to host prostitutes and to throw parties behind the prison walls. A video of a so-called pornofiesta that went viral several years later showed strippers dancing naked in front of gang members at the Izalco prison in In May , the court ruled that it was unconstitutional for a military officer, even a retired one, to direct the ministry of public security or the national civil police. Mijango called it an attempt to boycott the truce.
President Funes appointed Ricardo Perdomo as the new minister of public security. Journalists would be denied access as well. Before Perdomo took over, Nelson Rauda, the head of the National Prison Directorate, had arranged for two gang leaders to leave the prisons for a televised interview with the pastor of an evangelical church.
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At a press conference, Perdomo announced investigations of the officials who had enabled the interview. By January , the truce was dead. He sent the leaders back to Zacatecoluca. According to Mijango, the move was influenced by the Americans, who had just financed the construction of an even stricter new sector at Zacatraz, and wanted it put to use.
That August, homicides were committed, making it the most violent month of the century so far. The police intensified attacks on gang territory, forming special battalions, and were backed by more than seven thousand troops. Congress changed the legal code to make it harder to prosecute officers for killing in the line of duty. Reports surfaced of extrajudicial killings, and gangs responded by targeting police officers: in addition to the violence between the gangs themselves, a war between gangs and the state began. El Salvador became the murder capital of the world.
It was the brief but rainy winter season, and there was a pounding thunderstorm nearly every afternoon, but that morning it was sunny. The grounds of the base were a quiet green oasis from the traffic and noise of the capital. After being waved through one checkpoint and waiting in the car to pass through another, I watched soldiers stroll by, saluting their superiors, and it struck me how similar the experience was to entering a gang-controlled neighborhood—the checkpoints, the strict adherence to established codes, the chain of command.
In one office, an M16 commemorating the war was encased in glass. The official told me there was in fact a gang-controlled neighborhood about a mile away from the base. I considered these two worlds, tightly ordered spheres of masculinity, so close together.
Before his involvement in the truce, the official had been a firm believer in Mano Dura, but that changed as he learned more about gangs.
Meaning of "faro" in the Polish dictionary
Gangs had, in a way, replaced the guerrillas. My father, who had long hair and wore jeans, was arrested in the Seventies with a group of friends after someone falsely accused them of being guerrillas.
The police blindfolded them and took them to a holding cell in San Salvador, where they were kept and questioned for days. You know what my motivation was? When I was young, my dad came home beat up by the police. According to many people I spoke with, Salvadoran law enforcement tactics are now even more repressive than during the height of Mano Dura. In , a UN representative investigated both the police and the prison system, and found rampant human rights violations.
Police officers harass, and in some cases torture, civilians in gang-controlled areas, and they are feared just as much as gangs. He also echoed the sentiment that the United States still viewed gangs principally as a security issue rather than a social one, which was ironic, he said, since the truce had been partly modeled on peace negotiations with gangs in Los Angeles.
The current American ambassador, Jean Manes, has characterized the police repression as the actions of rogue officers and has voiced support for the same extraordinary prison measures that the UN representative had found to be in violation of human rights. Though the United States does fund some reinsertion programs, the bulk of recent US aid has gone to law enforcement and prison construction. For Salvadoran security officials, a different approach would carry the risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in support.
M ijango told me that the government has targeted him ever since the collapse of the truce. In , a new attorney general ordered Mijango arrested, along with Castillo and fourteen others involved in the truce, including psychologists, teachers, and prison wardens. The charges included organizing terrorists and introducing illicit objects into prisons. Mijango acknowledged that bringing food and cigarettes into Zacatecoluca was against the law, but, he pointed out, he was acting at the behest of the president and the minister of public security.
He and the other defendants argued that they were being scapegoated for their participation in what had been essentially government policy. The judge seemed to agree.
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He was recently charged with homicide. The gang member was later assassinated in prison. Alfredo Quijano, one of the prosecutors, told me that there are no legal protections for those who mediate negotiations with gangs in El Salvador. I think that later he did something braver. I think he continued with the process even while knowing that he was going to end up very screwed by this. O n October 12, , Mijango was convicted in the extortion case and sentenced to thirteen years and four months in prison. The Salvadoran Supreme Court announced that the truce case, in which Mijango and others had been acquitted in , would be retried.
The homicide case is pending. As masked guards hauled Mijango out of the courtroom after the extortion verdict and reporters with microphones swarmed him, his easy smile was gone. Nayib Bukele, who was elected president in February, was criticized for negotiating with gangs during his term as mayor of San Salvador and avoided the subject during his campaign. And when he does it again, he loses six. It simply delegates that responsibility to its lowest rung of civil servants. A public-school teacher who wants children from the other side of the community to attend school has to talk to the gangs.
Popular desire for dialogue would depend upon accepting that the roughly sixty thousand gang members in the country, as well as the family networks who rely on them, are part of society and cannot all be imprisoned or killed. But most Salvadorans are far from ready to endorse a softer approach.
For many, the idea of gangs as victims of repression is laughable. One of my drivers in San Salvador, a former lawyer, told me that she had once been stopped and threatened by gang members because of the color of her hair; she had dyed it a shade of red that was reserved for their girlfriends.
Her hair was darker now. When I asked her what should be done about gangs, her response was immediate. You are currently viewing this article as a guest. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. Sign in here. Subscribe here.
Murder by Appointment (Inspector Faro, #10) by Alanna Knight
By Wes Enzinna. By Alex Marzano-Lesnevich. By Lauren Elkin. By David Means.
https://climcapopprigglenmi.tk Article 8. Article 9. Article Voluntary physical offences. Filed for other reasons. Referred to military justice. Concluded before trial. Officers charged accusation.
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