Thursday, December 27, 2012

More on plan for safe cities under gang truce

2012 is coming to a close with the gang truce still in effect in El Salvador, and murder rates still diminished.   IPS has a new article about the proposal for a next phase to the truce where the gangs would agree to respect "safe cities."  As described, the plan would eliminate all forms of gang crime, not just murders, in the ten safe cities:

Under the new peace initiative, the members of the maras promised not to commit crimes in 10 violence-ridden municipalities, and to hand their guns over to the authorities to prove that their intentions are sincere. Once crime rates go down in the 10 districts in question, the idea would be to expand the plan to other cities, and eventually, nationwide. 
Neither the mediators in the talks nor the gang leaders have revealed to the press the names of the 10 municipalities, apparently to avoid putting media pressure on the local authorities in those districts. 
“We want to gradually put an end to some things, but it can’t be done on a large scale, because others parts of society aren’t ready to do it yet,” Borromeo Henríquez, alias “El Diablito de Hollywood”, one of the heads of the Mara Salvatrucha, told IPS. 
Under the plan, the gangs would work with non-governmental organisations, churches, the centre-left government of Mauricio Funes, and local mayors, to create the conditions necessary for the social reinsertion of gang members. 
The truce declared by the gangs in March has reduced the number of murders in El Salvador, one of the world’s most violent countries. Official statistics indicate that homicides have gone down from an average of 12 a day to five or six a day. But extortion, one of the maras’ main sources of income, continues. 
The creation of violence-free municipalities would mean an end to the extortion rackets and other criminal activity.  The plan would include labour reinsertion projects to make it possible for young gang members to earn an income without committing crimes.
Read the rest of the article here.  

Hat tip to Sonja Wolf, who is also quoted in the article.

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