Central America, El Salvador, Today in Latin America

Violence Against Women Is Widespread in El Salvador’s Gangs

November 7, 2014 By Staff

Top Story — The number of women and girls immigrating to the United States from Central America after being kidnapped or raped has risen sharply over the last year, The Associated Press reports. In El Salvador, most of the violence against women comes at the hands of rival gangs Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street.

Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street are the most largest and most predominant gangs in the capital city, San Salvador. The smallest country in Latin America, El Salvador has the second-highest rate of homicide per capita in the world, behind only its neighbor Honduras. Sexual violence is often deployed as a weapon, and has become endemic across generations, according to experts.

El Salvador has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world, according to a 2011 report by The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.

Because of fear and intimidation, many killings and rapes go unreported. Many victims are stalked by gang members before being assaulted, and some are approached at as young as 8 or 9 years old.

Sexual violence remains a pressing concern in Latin America. Most recently, the Bolivian ombudsman spoke out against the surge in sexual violence in the country, following the rape and murder of a four-year-old girl.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Mexican journalist Jesús Antonio Gamboa Urías was found dead in the northwest state of Sinaloa after he was abducted last week, the latest case in a country plagued by violence against journalists.
  • Mexico’s Defense Department announced on Thursday that it will follow the National Human Rights Commission’s recommendation to investigate the army’s involvement in the execution of 15 criminal suspects in late June.

Caribbean

  • Amnesty International condemned the Dominican Republic’s decision to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, arguing that it is evidence of the country’s political bias and raising concerns that it will deprive thousands of justice.
  • Puerto Rico’s largest media company, GFR Media, has given a multimillion-dollar grant to one of the country’s leading journalism schools, raising concerns about the conglomerate’s influence on journalistic independence.
  • The BBC explores the unexpected popularity of South Korean soap operas in Cuba.

Central America

  • InSight Crime analyzes the trial testimony of Franklin Ernesto Moza Larín — allegedly one of El Salvador’s top drug traffickers — shedding light on the workings of the shipment of drugs throughout Latin America.
  • The new national security council in El Salvador won’t reopen gang negotiations, raising doubts about the revival of a national gang truce that some said drastically lowered murder rates in the country.

Andes

  • Venezuelan official Elias Jaua drew complaints from the Brazilian government after meeting with Brazilian activists without advising anyone, a move that could be interpreted as an interference in foreign affairs.
  • InSight Crime analyzes shifting patterns in aerial drug trafficking in the Andes over the past decade: drug flights have increased in Peru and Boliva, while dropping precipitously in Colombia.
  • The Economist examines the lagging economy in Colombia’s Pacific region, home to a large portion of the country’s black and indigenous populations.
  • A senior Venezuelan judge, Benny Pallermi-Bacchi, was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for taking bribes to facilitate cocaine shipments, marking the first time an ally of Hugo Chavez has been directly connected to the Colombian drug trade.

Southern Cone

  • According to an aid to Uruguayan President José Mujica, the World Health Organization has expressed support for the country’s government in its legal battle against U.S. tobacco company Philip Morris, which has sued Uruguay over the strict regulations the country places on cigarette sales, public use and marketing.
  • The Miami Herald explores a Colombian practice of “adopting” unidentified corpses from the country’s civil conflict, which number more than 11,000.

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