Despite Truce, Violence Plagues El Salvador

A year-long truce among El Salvador’s street gangs has resulted in a dramatic reduction in homicides, but it “has not produced the [other] benefits that the…population was expecting,” said Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, reading a statement on behalf of El Salvador’s bishops. “Robbery, extortion and other illegal activities carried out by gang members continue; for this reason, the population does not perceive the benefits of the truce,” said the bishops’ statement. At a press conference the next day, gang leaders countered that they were engaged in a process of peace, “not just a truce,” pointing out that the problem of social violence in El Salvador had deep structural roots after more than two decades of gang war. “We regret that the statement of the church does not speak of the positive results achieved so far, as well as more than 3,000 lives saved,” gang leaders added.

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