Drug cartels and El Salvador
A BBC News report yesterday discusses concerns that Mexican drug cartels, the source of so much violence in Mexico, might be considering greater operations in El Salvador:
From a giant billboard in the Salvadorean capital, a man with a defiant attitude shows off a slogan on his shirt: "No one can intimidate El Salvador," it reads.There is no doubt that drugs already pass through El Salvador on their way from South America to the US. If drug cartels were to establish greater operations in El Salvador, beyond the mere transportation of drugs, it would pose another serious threat to El Salvador's already overwhelmed police and security forces.
The ad - part of a government-funded anti violence campaign - holds a special significance at the time when many worry that an overflow of Mexico's drug violence could soon hit this small Central American nation.
The first one to raise the alert was President Mauricio Funes himself, last April.
"We have information that they [the cartels] have entered El Salvador with exploratory purposes," President Funes said.
Because of what he described as the "effectiveness" of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's policies, the cartels were looking at new bases for their operations, he added.
Since then, security forces have been watching closely to see if criminal organisations like the Zetas - one of Mexico's most violent cartels - are deploying in Salvadorean territory.
The cartels' possible collusion - or confrontation - with local gangs is also being monitored. (more).