El Salvador. The criminal leagues ("maras") continued
during the year to be the country's biggest domestic
political problems. Admittedly, the number of homicides fell
by 60% in the first quarter compared to the previous year,
but especially after September, the violence increased
significantly again in the whole country. On average, 28
people were murdered per day, and September 23 and 27 were
the worst days of the year so far, with 40 and 34 murders,
respectively. Particularly affected were the police forces;
not in conjunction with concerted actions against the gang
but in individual assaults, especially in the provinces of
San Salvador, where the capital is located, and La Libertad.
President Salvador Sánchez Cerén explained the increase
because the gang was so pressured by the government's
countermeasures that desperation increased. However, the
allegation has been repeatedly repeated by sitting
presidents and was met with skepticism this time too.
National Police Chief Howard Cotto pointed out that the main
reason for the increase in homicides was probably that
several marauders had made peace among themselves and
instead began to cooperate in their actions against the
police, politicians, prosecutors and mayors. This was
especially true of the Revolucionarios and Sureńos factions
in the largest mara gangs Barrio 18 and MS 13. Another
reason was obviously that President Donald Trump, through a
presidential decree, increased the deportation of Salvadoran
mara members from the United States to El Salvador by 13%
during the first year of the year. four months.
Historically, similar measures by the US President have
always resulted in increased crime in El Salvador.
Ironically, the 25th anniversary of the end of the civil war
was celebrated in January and many talked about the fight
against crime as a second civil war.
Countryaah.com, violent crime also penetrated into the political and
administrative sphere. For example, José Elías Hernández, a
former mayor and member of the right-wing Alliance Arena
(Republican National Alliance), was brought to trial for
conspiracy with Barrio 18 and for having ordered murder from
them. Another mayor was arrested June 20 for having paid MS
13 to influence election results in his favor. Death
squadrons with members of the police force and the army were
also targets for the police department. In June, for
example, four police officers and ten soldiers were arrested
in eastern El Salvador, accused of a total of 36 murders
between 2014 and 2016.
Among the few good news for many Salvadorans was Pope
Francis's appointment of Gregorio Rosa Chávez as the
country's first cardinal in the Vatican. It seemed as if the
appointment came on the same day that Archbishop Oscar
Arnulfo Romero, close friend of Cardinal Rosa Chávez, was
assassinated by a right-wing death squadron in 1980.