Sunday, April 07, 2013

More positive signs from the truce

It's important to be realistic about the truce declared by El Salvador's gangs.   Violent crime and extortion continue to be a plague on many communities throughout the country.   Yet, you also have to see some signs for a little optimism in these three stories from this week.

San Vicente becomes sixth "city free from violence."    In a public ceremony attended by more than a thousand people, including around a hundred gang members, the municipality of San Vicente was named the next "city free from violence."   Gang members signed a pact to leave violence behind in the municipality.   The designation of San Vicente and other cities is part of the second phase of the truce.

Gang members pledge to clean up gang graffiti.  Leaders of five gangs in the country pledged to erase gang symbols from walls and buildings throughout the country  Top gang leaders from Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13); Barrio 18; Mirada Locos; Mao-Mao and Mara Máquina made the commitment from the San Vicente penal center.   The gang symbols frequently designate the territories claimed by the different gangs and create fear in neighborhoods when they start to appear.

Gang members join march for faith through streets of San Salvador.  A group of ten thousand Catholics marched on Friday in San Salvador.   They welcomed into this "March for the Faith" a sizable group of gang members who also attended the mass which followed.

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