El Salvador's crime wave

The Economist magazine has published a very straightforward assessment of the fight against violent crime titled simply El Salvador's crime wave. From the article:
El Salvador’s president, Elias Antonio Saca, has launched new initiatives aimed at getting the country’s gang-fuelled crime epidemic under control, and says that additional measures are in the pipeline. The hope is that these efforts will fare better than the “mano dura” (hard fist) policies of the past, which are generally believed to have backfired by driving the gangs underground and closer together, and to commit increasingly more violent acts.

The Salvadoran public has greeted Mr Saca’s reforms with scepticism, and with good reason. At first glance, some of the measures appear cosmetic and lacking in strategic coherence, and are far short of the dramatic measures recommended by the US government and other concerned parties. Still, it is too soon to tell whether this is a turning of the corner, or just another instance of the government giving false hope of safer times ahead....

The Saca government was slow to acknowledge that the previous policies promoted by his party, Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena), in power since the end of El Salvador’s civil war in 1992, were not working and that a new approach was needed. Unfortunately, for much of 2006, San Salvador did not make much progress on a new course of action and instead was stuck in the blame game. The police blamed the judicial system for failing to successfully prosecute those arrested; the judiciary decried the overcrowding of the prisons; the leftist FMLN-opposition party blamed Arena, and so on. (more)

The article's bottom line is that ARENA has much at risk if it does not get the crime problem under control very soon.


El-Visitador said…
Yep, ARENA is trying hard to lose the 2009 elections.

Each new jail is a mere $10m.

Yet this administration will only build extra jails... if the FMLN agrees to additional loans.

This means that ARENA does not assign enough importance to the building of new jails to merit even the easy savings that could be achieved by shutting down ISTU, MiTur, MARN, Sup de Comp, ISTA, CONCULTURA, ISDEMU, and so many other utterly useless sinecures.

This ARENA government is so bad, so negligent, so clueless... thay they deserve to lose.

Yet I weep when I think of the alternative.
Anonymous said…
I have finally found two political parties (arena and the fmln) that actually accomplish LESS than the republicans and democrats in the U.S. Arena is spending money advertising tourism in a country with the highest murder rate in the western hemisphere-now that's a great idea-(our beaches are beautiful and our bodyguards are cheap - could be the new slogan )
The FMLN is not capable of coming up with ideas , only antagonizing the right.
Hey, what if we put a third of the 460 million into education ,a third into building prisons and fighting crime and a third into digging wells (without ANDA's help)and said FUCK the new road-we'll take the scenic route.
Anonymous said…
I believe that what El Salvador needs is a strong leader - its own iconic version of a Mandela, a Gandhi, a Lee Kuan Yew...
Anonymous said…
A strong leader indeed. Someone that fixes the oligarchy's legacy of having an uneducated, opportunist, exploitable population bent on migrating to the few cities were all the econimic movements are centered (main San Salvador), doesn't neglect agriculture, nationalizes the banks, invests $600 million from the Millenium account into education, security, health care, increasing the livelihood of the population. We need a mix between Fidel Castro and Jose Figueres Ferrer, a socialist bent on improving the nation for the benefit of the majority. I mean, could you imagine Cuba without the embargo? I imagine a huge port being developed, a fast railway system being developed, hundreds of ships dropping cargo there later on to be shipped to NA & SA. Intel, Microsoft, would have access to Latin America's most capacitated working force.

About the additional loans, one of the issues with FMLN, is that you ALWAYS ALWAYS find some ARENA-PCN guy overcharging, engaging in nepotism, racking in some of the profits, not quite investing cash where it was supposed to do, illegaly privatizing... that since long ago the left has mantained that they'll abstain from further accepting loans until the government doesn't present an audit of all past loans/projects. Which the government continues to refuse to do. Unfortunately people like former minister of MOP, David Gutierrez proves, ARENA functionaries keep engaging on corrupt actions adding a mark as to why YOU CANNOT TRUST ARENA WITH A BLANK CHECK FOR LOANS.
Hodad said…
no you cannot trust ARENAZI para nada
so, that is why I am sending all the democratic Congressmen/women and Senators and especially the Black Caucus headed by Congressman Clyburn from here in SC a long letter asking them to look closely at Bush's 460 million giveaway to ES for 'alleviating poverty'
and also some notes to the major newspapers here in the Carolinas, especially the Charlotte Observer, a newspaper very concerned and always reporting on Latinolandia issues
the staff memebers of some of the congressmen and the staff of the Congressmen/women on the Foreign relations Comittee have already indicated to me their strong interests in these funds and the fact they are destined for CORRUPT hands in ES, with the new ambassador, [probably another Bush flunky engaged in Narco Biz] and the fact that ES has troops in Iraq, against the wishes of what 80% of the populace?
we will see, the money is not totally spent yet or arrived as of yet
all those that read this por favor, also write your Conbgressmen/women, and the Fotreign relations Commiteee, headed now by Joe Biden

and Visitador, you are very mixed up
as i said probably a CIA Yalie
like all those CIA type, sheeple for the money and the boss, Bush Sr.