Posted by: missopinion | November 30, 2009

The new war – part 2

The new war that El Salvador faces is that of gang violence. The rising amount of youth that are joining up to these so called “families” is alarming. Most documentary makers that have had the guts to enter into that particular war zone in El Salvador have time and time again heard from the horse’s mouth the reason for why so many of the youth of El Salvador join these gangs. The primary reason is that they are looking for a family. They are looking to be accepted, loved and cared for.

Many of the kids who join these gangs have either lost a parent, in particular their father, or their parents are illegally living and working in the USA. Many of these kids for one reason or another run away from the family who were looking after them while their parents left to seek a better life in the US.

The irony is that the parents took risks to illegally enter the US to work and make money to better the life of their families back in El Salvador and their children are the ones who now are making hell on earth both in the US and in El Salvador.

The gang members are often far too uneducated, backward thinking and so entrenched in their erroneous belief that somehow gang violence and activities is going to better their life and El Salvador’s. These gangs do not realise that all their activity and action is doing is impeding economic growth and causing a brain drain on the country. Gang members often do not think of the cause and effect of their actions. The gang mentality is a mentality of cyclical revenge and it can only end in death.

Many gang members claim that they want respect, they do not want to be oppressed, they want to have money and power. They don’t realise that their way is the wrong way; their way will never bring them to a place of peace and prosperity. Most of these gang members are nothing but drug addicts, drug sellers and murderers. These gangs are large and well organised but they never reach the heights of life that they aspire to live, or if they do its short lived because they too are killed.  

How did MS13 and 18 Street get to El Salvador? The answer is easy: deportation from the US. In the video below “killing to belong” gang members cite “white oppression on Hispanics” as the reason why their gangs started. Entire families illegally entered the US over the past decades running away from poverty and desperation only to find life in the US worse as they were no longer in their homeland. Their children have little education; their children fall into the wrong company and adopt the bitterness and hatefulness of those that preceded them in the gangs. More often than not the gang members have no real idea why they truly feel all that hate and anger, its usually because they are just told “that’s how this gang works” and that’s it. When these young people and adults are caught committing crimes in the US the US government in the 90’s adopted the easy solution of getting rid of the problem by transfer it somewhere else… El Salvador. Now this problem has rapidly spread not only in the US but into other central American countries.

There have been many methods tried and tested in El Salvador to try and eliminate gang violence. None have yet to be proven as fruitful as what is known as ‘sombra negra’. The term ‘sombra negra’ translates to black shadow. The Sombra Negra were death squad groups  that emerged in the 1990’s who target criminals and gang members for vigilante justice. The gangs emerged in greater number after the US deported large numbers of criminals and gang members and upon arriving in El Salvador were deemed to be free men. At the risk of sounding like I am lowering myself to the gang member’s standard I will admit that this has been the only known effective method that has in the past controlled the aggravated violence perpetrated by these street gangs. Other anti-gang policies failed to even make a dent into the problem.

In the 90’s and early 00’s the governments of central America and El Salvador tried to introduced the unsubstantial plans of ‘Mano Dura’ and ‘Super Mano Dura’ or Iron Fist and Super Iron fist plans. These plans had all fairies and lights but not guts and did little to curb gang violence and activities. Perhaps sombra negra is the answer, for now.

A great article on El Salvador’s gangs is located here.



  1. […] The new war part 2 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Salvadorian Por Favor!El Salvador – Live it and Love it […]

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