Insulza Visits El Salvador to Confirm Existence of Gang Truce

By Dialogo
July 12, 2012

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, will confirm the existence of a gang truce in El Salvador that has cut the number of homicides in the country from 14 per day to 5.6, an official source announced on July 10.

Insulza arrives on July 12 and also plans to meet with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, according to the secretary of communications in the Office of the President, David Rivas.

“Mr. Insulza arrives in the country on July 12, in response to a invitation issued to him to confirm the existence of the truce between the gangs,” AFP was told by former legislator and former guerrilla commander Raúl Mijango, who is working with military chaplain Fabio Colindres on the process.

Insulza will meet with representatives of the Mara Salvatrucha (M-13) and Mara-18 (M-18) gangs, at a location that has the “security conditions for everyone,” Mijango said.

Colindres, Mijango, and Insulza will host what is being called a “Humanitarian Event for Peace and a Halt to Violence in El Salvador” at noon on Friday, in the capital city’s Gerardo Barrios Plaza.

With the mediation of Colindres and Mijango, the gangs have maintained the truce in effect since March 9.

However, despite the fact that they decided in May to halt the forced recruitment of young people and also declared disputed schools “peace areas,” crimes and the disappearances of students continue in the country.

Extortion targeting private individuals, retailers, transportation workers, and other productive sectors has also not stopped.

On June 16, upon celebrating the first 100 days of the truce, Colindres stressed that the measure made it possible to save 850 lives.

In 6 of El Salvador’s 19 prisons, according to official data, slightly over 10,000 gang members are in custody for various offenses, while around 50,000 are at liberty.