Weekly Report - 02 September 2021 (WR-21-35)

EL SALVADOR: Bukele faces fresh allegations of gang talks

Last year the local online investigative publication El Faro made headlines over claims that the government led by President Nayib Bukele had held negotiations with one of El Salvador’s main street gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), in the country’s maximum security prisons [WR-20-36]. These claims were recently broadened by El Faro to include El Salvador’s two other principal street gangs, Barrio 18 Revolucionarios and Barrio 18 Sureños. While Bukele continues to deny the allegations, they raise further doubts over the success of his security plan, which he has hailed as the reason behind a fall in homicides. The claims are also threatening to strain relations with the US amid reports that El Salvador is foot-dragging on US requests to extradite gang members.

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