El Salvador: President Funes (FMLN) declares war on The Maras, with support of opposition party ARENA.
El Salvador at war with gang The Maras.
Mauricio Funes, president of El Salvador, declared war on the gang “los Maras”. This week the Maras showed its most savage face, while they put in fire a city bus killing 16 passengers (burnt).
Given the endemic violence plaguing the central american country, the government has decided to deploy 1,500 troops to monitor the most dangerous prisons and President Funes submitted to Parliament a law that criminalizes people who belong to violent gangs that terrorize the smallest nation in Central America, like The Maras.
The salvadoran President has said that the law is needed to curb violence in the country with the highest homicide rates in the region. Year 2009 was especially violent, with the 4367 murder record, in an average of 12 assasinations every day. To reduce these levels of violence, Funes proposes a bill that fights the members of criminal gangs. “This law should complement the work of police in the fight against gangs,” the president said when presenting the draft in a press conference.
Funes has fended off criticism by arguing that the law does not violate constitutional requirements: we are within a Constitutional framework, he said. And he has the support of his party, plus the opposition party Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) and the powerful Salvadoran business sector, who always preferred to use the zero tolerance policy against gangs. The initiative Funes has the support of the United States Government, whose charge d’affaires of the Embassy in San Salvador, Robert Blau, said his country welcomed the president’s move. With this support, Funes has ordered his security minister, Manuel Melgar, to prepare the law and submit it to Parliament at the earliest.
The president has also ordered the army to take control of most dangerous prisons, which suffer frequent riots and fights between rival gang members. The military also ensure safety in the neighborhoods surrounding the prison, and step checking points at the borders, where gang members often come and go at will to commit their crimes and escape justice.