U.S. Ambassador in El Salvador Discusses Gangs
By Dialogo September 17, 2013
U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, said that her country respects the opinion of Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes, who stated that the U.S. Treasury Department “inflated” the economic power of Mara Salvatrucha MS-13 when it was classified at the same level of major drug trafficking cartels, such as Los Zetas, from Mexico.
The official explained that the classification was the result of an “interagency” process.
“The President is entitled to have an opinion, and we respect it; I can tell you that the designation process against the gang [involved] at least three departments: the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury, with all its agencies.”
The diplomat explained that the process allows the United States to conduct actions to ensure public security. “Due to its transnational character and transnational operations, these measures go under this statute, and we as the government can [enforce] the law to preserve public security.”
The U.S. government’s decision diverges from the actions conducted by the Salvadoran government, which has granted benefits to gangs imprisoned in the country, in exchange for keeping a truce in order to reduce murders.