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El Salvador Officials Hesitant about Peace Talk with Country’s Largest Criminal Band

By: Adriana Peralta - @AdriPeraltaM - Jan 18, 2017, 8:18 am
Sureños gang
The Sureños gang is the largest in El Salvador. (Economía Hoy)

EspañolOne of the largest gangs in El Salvador wants to hold talks about disbanding, but officials are skeptical that it’s the right path to peace.

The Sureños gang has reportedly discussed separating, ending extortion and locating the bodies of missing persons.

The international criminal group Mara Salvatrucha also made statement last week regarding their willingness to dismantle. But unlike the Sureños, they didn’t mention extortion or locating the bodies of missing persons. Both, however, did mention possible reintegration into normal society.

That reintegration, they said, could be mediated by the United Nations and the Catholic Church.

The local newspaper El Faro conducted an interview with one gang member who represented the Sureños nationally. The spokesperson said the group was interested in negotiating a solution to the widespread violence happening in El Salvador.

While the relinquishing of arms and gang territories is important, the spokesperson said, at some point a deeper discussion must be had between the gang and the government regarding extortion and missing persons.

“Because, of course, without a body, there is no crime,” he said. “But if we finally establish a dialogue, sooner or later the victims will want to know where their sons are, their relatives and we have to give that to them.”

 

The Sureños was one of two organizations created after an internal war within the Barrio 18 gang in 2005. The other side is called the Revolutionary faction. Barrio 18 as a whole is present through Mexico and into the United States, as well as Guatemala and Honduras. Only in El Salvador has there been a fracture in alliances, each of which now operate as separately.

Reactions from political parties and civil society

Presidential Spokesman Eugenio Chicas said they ruled out any possibility of meeting with gang members.

“We are clear and firm: there is no dialogue, there is no conversation, there is no possibility of any kind of agreement that leads to that route,” he said, and added that the offer was an act of opportunism.

Secretary General Medardo Gonzalez also disagreed with the approach, calling it “diversion-ism.”

“The Salvadoran state can not be in those games of dialogues and negotiations with criminals,” he said.

Opposition party official did not have a uniform opinion. President of the party Mauricio Interiano said he was against peace talks, while ex-candidate to the vice-presidency Portillo Cuadra expressed his support for it.

“If this gang organization decides to dismantle, it is the best news and what we must support,” he said.

But he said he supported a demobilization plan that involves resources for employment and access to decent housing.

“That is to say, a whole social plan that allows reintegrating them into productive life,” Cuadra said. “We don’t want to hear that they want to dismantle and not pay attention. (That) would be a great political mistake … We must sit down, we must have a dialogue with them within the framework of the law.”

The official website of the Central American University José Simeón Cañas (UCA) published an analysis signed by Priest Rodolfo Cardenal:

“The last proposal of the MS-13 has baffled a government committed to repression as the only option. The proposal should not be dismissed lightly, because it puts on the table the dismantling of the largest and most powerful gang. Not to explore that possibility, despite the disgust it may arouse in certain sectors, would show the triviality of the commemoration of the 25 years of the 1992 agreements. ”

Source: El Faro

Adriana Peralta Adriana Peralta

Adriana Peralta is a freedom advocate from El Salvador and a @CREO_org board member. She is a PanAm Post reporter and blogger, a 2005 Ruta Quetzal scholar, a trained engineer, and an SMC University masters student in political economy. She is also a Pink Floyd fan. Follow @AdriPeraltaM.

The Hypocrisy of Socialist Justice Warriors’ Trump Criticism

By: David Unsworth - @LatinAmerUpdate - Jan 17, 2017, 5:26 pm
Today's social justice warriors have taken to the streets to voice their displeasure with Trump's election (

If you peruse the world of the so-called "millenial" generation today, be it social media, college campuses, popular culture, you will quickly discover a new phenomenon that has taken the 18 to 35 year old demographic by storm. I refer to the "social justice warrior"...or perhaps we should just call them "socialist justice warriors" as their economic outlook is largely defined by global Communism. They are the greatest result of the 2016 election. You've seen them on MTV, in YouTube clips, on your Facebook feed, and in your communities. Typically graduates of a $60,000 a year liberal arts college paid for by rich white Mommy and Daddy, where they got a 2.9 GPA while majoring in "Transgender Marxist Dance Theory" or "Contemporary Systems of Capitalist Oppression"...their life's mission is to check your privilege. They also are big on compassion and kindness...not with their own money, mind you (because few of them work...who could find the time with their busy protest schedule), but with OTHER peoples' money. They are happy to spout off the latest Bernie Sanders soundbite about how the real reason America sucks is because the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes. They, on the other hand, are collecting welfare and food stamps and living in Section 8 housing, while spending their free time finger painting and attending boycotts, protests, and rallies, and blaming people who actually work for a living, for all of their (and America's) problems. These are the people who were apoplectic at the prospect of a Trump presidency. The people who the night of November 8 were ready to stick a loaded shotgun in their mouth and pull the trigger. The people who filled the Javits Center in Brooklyn on election night, with tears in their eyes, despondent that Americans would dare to put Trump the hatemonger into the White House, reversing Obama's legacy, while depriving the US of its first female president in the process, and finally breaking that glass ceiling. Read More: How Donald Trump Could Force Mexico to Pay for the Wall Read More: Advocates of Democracy Must Accept Trump's Victory It is fashionable today, particularly on social media, for millennial socialist justice warriors to ascribe a litany of perceived grievances and offenses to the Trump campaign...ie. "Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, transgenderphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semite." Put that on your Facebook wall, and see how long it takes for your social media comrades to give you 100 likes. The problem is that there is little hard evidence indicating that Trump is any of these things. Trump did not say anything negative about the Asian community, or the black community, or the Jewish community, or transgender people, or gay people. I do agree that he made some ill-advised remarks about Muslims and Latinos. But the fundamental problem with the politically correct culture that has swept the 18-35 year old demographic in America today, is that they have a bigger problem with Donald Trump's alleged "hate speech", than they do with the underlying political issues that have brought the alleged "hate speech" into the discourse of Trump's campaign. Examples... With regard to Trump's remarks alleging that "rapists" were crossing the Mexican border, agreed, an entirely stupid comment. He should have been far more diplomatic. But it is no less true that illegal immigrants have committed hundreds of thousands of crimes on American soil in the past decade. In fact, a recent report revealed that just in Texas alone, illegal immigrants between 2008 and 2014 were responsible for an astounding 611,000 crimes. That is a serious problem. And it is outrageous that the social justice warriors are not out in the streets demanding that these people be deported from the United States. Instead, their hero Obama has strongly supported so-called "sanctuary cities" where people who entered this country illegally are REWARDED for doing so, and police (who are sworn to uphold the laws of this country) are actually PROHIBITED from turning illegal immigrants over to federal authorities. It sure doesn't seem fair to the millions of people who entered the country legally, waiting years or decades to do so. Obama has for years operated a "catch-and-release" program along our border where an estimated 80% of illegal immigrants who are caught are given court dates (that they will never show up for) and then told to be on their merry way. Obama has consistently refused to enforce our immigration law, and then used unconstitutional "executive actions" to flout the laws that he disagrees with. Yet, despite all of this...the social justice warriors actually believe that Trump's remarks regarding illegal immigrants were worse than the problems caused by illegal immigrants themselves. I would suggest they talk to Kate Steinle's family. Where is the empathy for the families of victims of the crimes committed by illegal immigrants? googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Trump has also come under fire for calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. Here I must agree, in a certain sense, with the social justice warriors...a blanket ban on Muslim immigration is both a bad idea and unconstitutional. I've said so publicly many times. On the other hand, as people like Rand Paul have said, there is nothing unconstitutional about protecting the American public by temporarily banning immigration from dangerous war zones with significant presence of armed jihadist groups (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen would top this list). The dangers posed by jihad and radical Islamists to the United States, its citizens, and its interests, are real. We have seen the results of unchecked Muslim immigration: from hundreds of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis returning to fight for al-Shabbab, spreading al-Shabbab propaganda, and starting financing networks, to the Tsarnaev family who exploited our outrageous "refugee" program while funding their terror attacks with Massachusetts welfare payments, to the San Bernardino shooters whose neighbors reported seeing much suspicious activity, but didn't want to report it for fear of being labeled Islamophobic. Then of course, we had the case of Omar Mateen, the gay, Muslim, Hillary Clinton supporter who killed 49 people at a gay Latino night club in Orlando. Police have just arrested his wife for helping him plan the attack.  It turns out that they used a delightful family outing to Disney World, to case the premises in order to plan a terrorist attack. Their actions were so obvious that concerned Disney employees called the police, who apparently did nothing, most likely out of fear of being labeled Islamophobic. To today's millennial socialist justice warriors, however, the real threat to America is not jihad or radical Islam. Those are barely concerns. The real threat is Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigration. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall during the course of the campaign, any Donald Trump supporters heading to a mosque to shoot 49 people. Perhaps if that had happened, I would agree that the offenses of Donald Trump and radical jihadists were equally grievous. This is also the generation that views use of the death penalty for violent sadistic murderers, the death of "Cecil the Lion" in Zimbabwe, and our use of Guantanamo Bay to hold and interrogate terrorists as the greatest moral travesties, but has nothing to say about the one million innocent lives that are lost to abortion each year. The abortion debate that is often hotly contested within the libertarian community. I'm not necessarily saying that abortion should be illegal, but I do think it raises significant moral questions. This is also the generation that believes Bernie Sanders when he says that the reason that the poor are poor is because the rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes. Right...if we just stole a bunch of money from the wealthy and gave it to the poor, everything would be fixed, right? Well, unfortunately it's just not true, which Bernie could discover by doing a little basic research. In 2014, for example, the top 1% of earners paid 45.7% of all taxes. Contrast that with the bottom 60% who paid 2% of all taxes. Sure doesn't seem to bolster Bernie's claims that all of our nation's ills are due to unjust tax policies. In what may be a bit of a shock to the snowflakes, Bernie has recently said that it would be unfair to ascribe Trump's victory to racism. I agree there. Are there some racists who voted for Trump? Probably. But issues of race were not pivotal in this campaign. At the end of the day millennials don't seem to understand that the vast majority of Americans are voting on one main issue: the economy and jobs. Millennial social justice warriors are also blissfully and gleefully ignorant of the economic consequences of their policy proposals, or how to pay for them: ($15 an hour minimum wage, making college and healthcare "free" for everyone, regulating Wall Street, making the rich pay their "fair" share)... With all due respect, I think people in the so-called "social justice" movement need to reexamine their priorities. No...Donald Trump's rhetoric on illegal immigration is not worse than the illegal acts committed by illegal immigrants themselves. No...Donald Trump's rhetoric on Muslim immigration is not more troubling than the threat posed by jihad to this country....No the death penalty and hunting a lion in Zimbabwe are not more serious moral dilemmas than abortion...And no...a secretive, greedy cabal of billionaires is not responsible for the economic status of working class Americans.

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