CRF Blog

A Respite in Central America

by David De La Torre

In A meeting of maras, The Economist reports on the truce between Central American gangs.

MEMBERS of El Salvador’s maras, or street gangs, make little effort to hide their affiliations: they can be spotted easily thanks to their head-to-toe tattoos. Formed in Californian jails and exported back to Central America by deported migrants, the mobs have made El Salvador one of the world’s most violent countries. Last year 4,374 murders were committed, as the gangs fought for territory — a rate per head 15 times higher than in the United States.

But now quiet reigns in the country’s roughest districts. In March the two main gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18, declared a truce, cutting the murder rate by two-thirds overnight. [more]