The main gangs in El Salvador forced the population of the areas they control to respect the quarantine imposed by the Government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, under death threats, local media reported.
It’s about the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and of the Southern and Revolutionary factions of the Barrio 18, which have some 60,000 people among their ranks, according to official estimates. According to the digital newspaper El Faro, “the main Salvadoran gangs have reacted to the national coronavirus emergency with a threat” and “have decided to forcefully impose a” curfew, “as they themselves have called it.”
Threats of death
El Faro pointed out that a national leader of the MS13 declared that “his organization decided on Monday, March 30, to impose the prohibition on staying in public spaces, under the threatened to be beaten or killed by gang members. “
This also implies set schedules so that the stores of the communities can sell and that only one member of each family will be allowed to make purchases, a measure also adopted by Barrio 18 in the areas it controls. These actions, assures the aforementioned newspaper, implies “a coordination between the three criminal structures and that their application will be at the national level.”
“It is a decision of Barrio, that is, of the whole gang, it is general. All runners and palabreros (local leaders) already know this. In some places measures are already being applied, some cuckoos (fools) have already had to be hit by a manger, “an MS13 leader told the media.
Support the Government
The media added that “the members of the three criminal structuress assured El Faro that the decision is in favor of supporting the measures taken by the Government. “One of the alleged reasons for adopting these measures is the possibility that” no hospital will allocate a respirator for a gang member “if the virus spreads. It spreads without control in the country and another is that they seek to avoid an increase in the police presence in their neighborhoods.
For its part, the Diario de Hoy (EDH) published on its page elsalvador.com that since Monday afternoon they have been in circulation recordings and messages on WhatsApp that echo the measures. “The truth is that we are seeing that this matter has already gotten out of hand to the president,” says one of the recordings that was circulating among inhabitants of the central towns of Soyapango and Ilopango.
According to EDH, the threats were launched hours after thousands of Salvadorans break the quarantine to find information and collect a $ 300 food voucher promised by the Government in various cities.
The Press Secretary of the Presidency, Ernesto Sanabria, criticized the media from his Twitter account and assured that these “chambres” (hoaxes) are to “attack” the Government. He added that they also give “legitimacy to gangs” and that it is “something very dangerous”.
Several journalists have asked the Government and the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) for an official position on these claims, without having responded so far. The Savior In March, there was a noticeable reduction in homicides in the midst of the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation classified as “historical” by the authorities.