The current get-tough policies of the Salvadoran government against youth gangs have been counter-productive according to a recent study:
SAN SALVADOR, Nov 1 (IPS) - Tough policies against youth gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have only contributed to increasing crime, and an integrated approach that tackles the causes of the problem is urgently needed, according to civil society groups in Central America.
Research by the Central American Coalition for the Prevention of Youth Violence (CCPVJ) showed that the heavy-handed measures adopted in those three countries have provoked 'an adverse effect,' with increased violence and more homicides, in contrast to developments in Nicaragua, Mexico and neighbourhoods in Washington, DC that were included in the comparative study.
The number of murders committed by young people in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras rose by about 40 percent after the implementation of tough new policies in the last three years, Jeannette Aguilar, one of the researchers and director of the University of Central America's Public Opinion Institute (IUDOP), told IPS. Further data are still awaiting detailed study.
This is 'extremely alarming,' the expert said.
Three years ago, the governments of the Northern Triangle of Central America began put into effect harsh policies named 'Mano Dura' (Firm Hand), 'Super Mano Dura', Zero Tolerance and 'Escoba' (Clean Sweep), which in practice declared open season on young people accused of belonging to 'maras', or street gangs.
But these programmes strengthened the gangs' organisations in jails, and now their acts of violence, such as burglary, kidnapping and, recently, massive extortion, are directed from within the prison walls, according to the CCPVJ report.(more)
I apologize for the recent lack of new posts on the blog. My job has been very hectic lately and I have not been able to keep up with the news from El Salvador. Hope to get back to more regular posts soon.