Street Gangs Attack Two Buses in El Salvador; At Least 16 People Dead
June 22, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Street gangs in El Salvador attacked two passenger buses, killing at least 16 people in an attack that Salvadoran Security Minister Manuel Melgar called “an act of terrorism”.
The gangs sprayed the side of one bus and doused the other in gasoline before igniting it in a crowded San Salvador neighborhood.
The attacks are seen as part of a rise in street violence in El Salvador, attributed to street gangs but also the presence of drug traffickers in the country. Street gangs have been demanding protection money from bus companies and drug traffickers allegedly hire gang members for criminal acts, according to Salvadoran police.
“This is an act that seeks to generate terror among the population,” said El Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes, according to the Associated Press. “The police are on top of this. We have made seven arrests, and among those captured are the perpetrators and perhaps the masterminds.”
According to the BBC, a Salvadoran police investigator said that two rival gangs were fighting for control of the San Salvador neighborhood. “The Mara Salvatrucha gang wanted to extort money from this bus company, but the company was already being extorted by the 18th Street Gang and told them they couldn’t pay off two gangs, and that’s how this butchery started,” he said.
El Salvador has the highest murder rate in Central America and one of the highest throughout Latin America, according to the United Nation.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Documented immigrants should not be deported for minor drug infractions, the Supreme Court says. Read more at Alison Bowen’s “Beyond Borders” blog.
- Displacement of peasants by armed actors continues to plague Colombia, according to Marco Romero of the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Mike Samras reports on Romero’s talk in Washington.
- Also, WOLA announced a second death threat from a Colombian paramilitary group for its work with displaced people.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Mexican man accused the leader of the Roman Catholic religious order known as the Legionaires of Christ of sexual abuse.
- Mexican stocks rose Monday after China promised to let its currency appreciate against the U.S. dollar.
- A conflict over federal rum taxes has pitted the U.S. Caribbean territories of Puerto Rico and St. Croix against each other, with the debate spilling into the U.S. Congress.
- The Dominican Republic hosted a “Fuerza Comando” competition, in which elite military units from across the Americas tested their skills.
- Students ratified an agreement ending a two-month strike at the University of Puerto Rico against budget cuts and tuition increases, allowing the university to reopen.
- Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club will play in the United States for the first time since 2003, a spokesman for the group announced on Monday.
- Honduras lost to Spain, 2-0, Monday in an opening round World Cup match in South Africa.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants to expand ties and cooperation with Nicaragua during a meeting with Tehran’s new envoy to Nicaragua.
- The bodies of 34 miners killed during last week’s coal mine explosion in Colombia have been recovered by rescue workers.
- The Venezuelan government published a press release congratulating Juan Manuel Santos on his win in Sunday’s Colombian presidential election.
- The operator of helicopter trips to Machu Picchu has called for a ban on flights to the Inca ruins due environmental reasons.
- U.N. goodwill ambassador and actress Angelina Jolie visited a village along the Ecuadoran border with Colombia to meet with Colombian refugees.
- Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, plans to invest $224 billion through 2014 to develop off-shore oil findings.
- The Chilean government has destroyed the 23,000 landmines planted along the Bolivian border during the 1970s, the new Chilean consul in La Paz said over the weekend.
- Argentina’s new Foreign Minister, Héctor Timmerman, will travel to New York this week for a debate on the Falkland Islands before the U.N. Decolonization Committee.
Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.