As gang violence hits El Salvador, a new wave of disappearances
El Salvador is experiencing disappearances linked to the gang violence hitting the country, mostly of young people and teens, with a frequency not seen since the country's civil war, which ended almost 20 years ago.
(Page 2 of 2)
El Faro has produced a photo essay which catalogues the spaces vacated by these missing people, many of them teenagers, and the stories told by their relatives point towards a gaping hole in knowledge about what happened to the victims. In some cases, relatives point to local branches of gangs like the Barrio 18 (M-18) and Marasalvatrucha 13 (MS-13), while in many they are at a loss to explain what happened to the victim, who simply left the house one day and did not return.Skip to next paragraph
In surprise landslide, Jamaican opposition wins back power
Parading back to Rio de Janeiro: the bookish and brainy
After dramatic 2011 in Cuba, will US-Cuban policy shift in 2012?
Boom goes the churro: Chilean court upholds damages for exploding sweets
Why did Hugo Chavez spam Venezuelans on Christmas?
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
El Salvador had one of the highest murder rates in the world, at 64 per 100,000 according to some measures, and much of this is driven by gang violence.
The following are InSight Crime’s translations of a selection of the texts accompanying El Faro’s photo essay, selected for their mention of criminal gangs.
David’s family saw him for the last time when he was leaving his house to go to study. This was part of the route he took each day to get to class [see photo, top of three below]. One hypothesis is that he was taken when leaving school by some classmates who were gang members, who thought that he was a member of a rival gang because he lived in a community dominated by it. He had already been threatened. The police say they do not know the cause of his disappearance.
This is the room where Carlos slept on a matress. Now it has been converted into a dining room. “The house is so small,” explain his relatives. There is nothing certain about his disappearance other than the date when it occured. The police think that the gang that dominates the Montreal community disappeared him because he had only lived a short while in that area and it could have generated mistrust. This year, in this area, by August five people had been murdered for alleged links with a rival gang.
Ernesto Mendez’s passion was playing football. He spent his afternoons in the community field, in Jardines de Lourdes, Colon. The day he disappeared he was going to a pitch in El Botocillal, also in Lourdes. According to the police, Ernesto lived in a neighborhood controlled by MS-13, and on July 1 he went into one controlled by Barrio 18, and this fact could be an explanation for his disappearance.
See photos corresponding to these stories in the original post.
--- Hannah Stone is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region. Find all of her research here.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.