Political Violence or Common Violence -- 2

As a follow-up on my post yesterday about political violence or common violence, two articles in Salvadoran papers today struck my interest. The first, in La Prensa, looks at the surging homicide statistics in the first month of the year. The statistics are depressing: 290 homicides in the month of January, an average of more than 9 per day and a 54% increase over January of the year before. According to the PNC, the majority of the victims were middle aged men in urban areas. La Prensa notes that El Salvador's murder rate is comparable to the rates in Guatemala and Honduras, but much higher than the rates in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Costa Rica's total number of murders for all of 2004 was less than the January 2005 numbers for El Salvador.

The second article, in Diario Co Latino, describes a press conference of representatives of 5 Salvadoran human rights organizations, including CRIPDES, COMADRES and others, expressing concern about murders of members of their organizations during recent months. These representatives did not claim that the murders were politically motivated, but spoke of a lack of thorough investigations of the murders and the motives behind them.