Monday, April 25, 2005

Violence and rehabilitation

Since February, when US and Central American law enforcement held a high profile anti-gang conference, there have been many stories about Mara Salvatrucha and gangs in the US press. I have not been writing about all of those stories, because many cover the same ground, but this week the Houston Chronicle is running a series this week on the gangs with some extended coverage. Today's story features a profile of Quezaltepeque, described by the paper as the second most violent community in the country after San Salvador.

Meanwhile, El Mundo and other Salvadoran press carried stories about the public presentation of approximately 200 ex-gang members who have been rehabilitated. The presentation was designed to show an initial success of what the Saca administration calls Operation Extended Hand, to go along with its anti-gang policy, Super Firm Hand.


Curt Hopkins said...

What do you know about the "mano negro" who, allegedly, have been killing gang members?

Tim said...

The rumored vigilante groups are know as "sombra negra" or "black shadow" which was also a name used to refer to death squads during the civil war. The most commonly mentioned suspects are rogue cops and powerful forces in the society who want to see the gang problem cleaned up and don't care about legal niceties.

I mentioned a couple investigations in El Salvador into the issue in this post. There was an article about the problem of viglante killings of gang members in Honduras a few years ago at this link.