Religious Leaders Support Gang Truce in El Salvador

By Dialogo
November 23, 2012

Anglican and Lutheran leaders and other religious groups supported the truce between Salvadoran gangs on November 17, which has contributed to diminishing murder rates in the country, from a daily average to less than half than before, a journalist reported to AFP.

“It is time to join in support of this truce, the benefits of which concern us, and we must all contribute to seeking a lasting peace without violence,” said the Salvadoran Anglican bishop, Martín Barahona.

Religious leaders, together with Military priest Fabio Colindres, one of the mediators in the gang truce, participated in a ceremony that took place in a San Salvador square on November 17, where they committed to supporting initiatives that will achieve “social peace,” from the gang truce, Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gómez explained.

During a brief speech between attendees, among which there were gang members with their families, the Military priest assured that “2,300 people have been saved” from death since the truce started.

On March 9, under the mediation of former guerrilla commander Raún Mijango and Colindres, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs agreed on a truce to cease hostilities, which placed the country among the most violent in the world.

After the agreement, homicides in El Salvador dropped from a daily average of 14 to 5.5, according to government figures.

On October 3, another five minor Salvadoran gangs announced their alignment to the process.

Ten thousand gang members are held in Salvadoran prisons, while another 50,000 run free in neighborhoods and streets, according to official data.