The latest conviction of a former local mayor in El Salvador serves as an example of how local authorities work with, not against, the local street gangs to serve shared interests.
Honduras is trying to get El Salvador and Guatemala on board the idea of a tri-national force to fight the gangs. The plan is inspired by the controversial crackdown currently underway in El Salvador.
The arrests, which targeted the alleged financial structure behind the Mara Salvatrucha gang, also highlighted the lavish lifestyle of the leadership.
The arrest of 18 people for allegedly committing crimes while they helped negotiate the last truce in 2012 appears to rule out any alternative to the government’s “iron fist” approach to the country’s brutal criminal gangs.
El Salvador Cops and Soldiers Are Executing Gang Members and Pretending They Didn't Do It, Official Says
An investigation by Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales found evidence of extrajudicial executions in two incidents last year, raising fears of a return to the civil war death squads of the 1980s.
The government is waging a war against the country's gangs. So far, in 2016, 2,230 people have been killed, an increase of 158 percent from the same period in 2015.
The government has declared a state of emergency in seven prisons and is expected to mobilize the army to fight the gangs in some areas.
The number of murders in the first two months of this year was more than double the number in the same period of 2015.
VICE News correspondent Danny Gold joined 'On The Line' to take your questions on the escalating violence between gangs and police in El Salvador.
VICE News correspondent Danny Gold speaks with students at the University of El Salvador about the country's gang problem and what they see as a potential solution.