Costa Rica and El Salvador Fight against Organized Crime in Central America

By Dialogo
August 19, 2011

At a meeting in the Costa Rican capital, the Costa Rican and Salvadoran security ministers committed to coordinating their actions against criminal gangs operating in Central America.

Hato Hasbún, the secretary for strategic affairs of the Salvadoran president’s office, also attended the event, hosted by the Inter-American Human Rights Institute (IIDH).

During the meeting, Salvadoran Justice and Defense Minister Manuel Melgar and Costa Rican Interior, Police, and Public Safety Minister Mario Zamora declared the importance of international cooperation in the fight against crime.

Both Zamora and Melgar agreed that the two countries should work together to prevent criminals from continuing to operate in Central America. An example of this activity is believed to be the murder of Argentine singer-songwriter Facundo Cabral, alleged to have been planned by Costa Rican Alejandro Jiménez González.

Jiménez González is not only alleged to be responsible for the murder, but is also alleged to lead an organized-crime syndicate that coordinates a money-laundering operation in Central America.

Three people linked to the murder have been arrested in Guatemala, but the authorities are seeking Jiménez González in Panama, where he is believed to be hiding.

“This is a problem that we should address in a comprehensive way, and we should do so as a region,” Melgar said. “We know that this problem affects all our countries one way or another, some more and others less.”

Governance institutions in Central America should be reinforced, if the aim is to win the fight against crime, Melgar added.

“The experience obtained in the fight against crime in El Salvador tells us that if we have prosecutors and judges who are not susceptible to corruption, we’ll have won a good part of the battle,” Melgar maintained.