Governing El Salvador is no easy task. It is made more difficult by endemic corruption which can extend to the highest levels within the National Civilian Police (PNC).
Insight Crime recently published a series of five detailed articles on police corruption in El Salvador by journalist Hector Silva, formerly of La Prensa Grafica, and now at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University in Washington, D..C. The series is taken from an upcoming book by Silva, and everyone should read it to understand the threat which corruption stemming from organized crime poses in the country.
Silva concludes the series:
Awaiting the new El Salvador government, which will take office in June this year, after the second voting round which will take place on March 9, discreet voices among US and El Salvador officials are starting to sound alarm bells: "At this stage it could be that the only solution is to get rid of those promoted early on [after the 1992 Peace Accords] and look for new leaders," said a US federal agent in mid-2013.
Those first promotions, those which have dominated the PNC since the days of the first transgressions -- which allowed officials, values and a culture of impunity to flow unchecked -- have retained power for 20 years. Those first promotions have ruled over two decades marked in general by investigative failures, the absence of internal controls and the consolidation of organized crime.
Yes, there were exceptional periods marked by the bravery of officials and agents who took advantage of the few loopholes that existed to try to stop the institutional inaction, complicity and neglect. It was during these exceptions that there were various attempts at purging, behind closed doors or openly. It was then when some officials, during the years of Armando Calderon Sol's presidency (1994-1999), dared to accuse political elites of involvement in organized crime. But all these gestures of integrity and ethics were, however, isolated acts and exceptions -- not a sustained trend capable of stopping the infiltration of organized crime which today still infects the PNC.Read the whole series here.