Salvadoran Street Gangs Announce Truce
By Dialogo February 23, 2010Very good, one less for society to pay... The Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara-18, two violent street gangs with operations that span from Central America into the United States, issued a statement here announcing an end to violence. The statement was delivered by relatives of gang members and announced at a press conference late Thursday held by a Salvadoran human rights group that works with gang members. The agreement, which the relatives say has been in place since February 8, includes an end to "criminal attacks on transportation, homicides and extortion," and acknowledges that "dialogue is the best option to solve conflict." The relatives said they were key in brokering the agreement, and mentioned they had earlier brokered a successful ceasefire between the rival gangs held between July 23 and August 4, 2009. On average there are 13 murders a week in El Salvador, a small country with a population of some seven million that according to police has some 13,000 gang members. Salvadoran gangs made headlines in 2009 following the murder of Franco-Spanish journalist Christian Poveda, 54, found dead near his car on a road north of San Salvador on September 2. He had been shot in the face four times. Poveda meticulously chronicled four M-18 members for his 2008 film "La Vida Loca," about the heavily-tattooed gangsters who engaged in drug trafficking and extortion.