Internal security since the 1992 Peace Accords

In a recent report by the Rand Corporation titled Securing Tyrants or Fostering Reform?: U.S. Internal Security Assistance to Repressive and Transitioning Regimes, the research institution studied US support to El Salvador's internal security forces following the civil war. The following is the summary of their conclusions:
In El Salvador, U.S. assistance improved the accountability and human rights practices of the Salvadoran police but did not improve the effectiveness of Salvadoran security forces, as the rate of violent crimes soared. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. military played a critical role in helping dissolve the three military-controlled internal security forces that had reputations for human rights abuses: the National Guard, the Treasury Police, and the National Police. A single new police force, the National Civilian Police, was created, which established a doctrine that emphasized human rights and civilian leadership. U.S. success was possible because of some leadership buy-in on the part of Salvadoran political leaders, institutional development, and pressure from the United States, the United Nations (UN), and other governments. However, the significant decline in torture and extrajudicial assassinations was accompanied by a major increase in crime rates, including the rate of violent crime, which the local police were unable to stem. The failure to improve the effectiveness of the Salvadoran police demonstrates that human rights and effectiveness must go hand in hand. Both are critical in establishing a viable police and internal security force.


Anonymous said…
Tim, I´ve been reading about research by a German social scientist. The link is here His research showed that when the population segment aged 15-30 reached 30% or greater, crime went up, murders went up, and terrorism increased. In El Salvaodor that segment of the population is above 60%, if you believe the NGO numbers that are being used. That may account for a lot of the problems with internal security, that the government here faces a bigger problem than anyone imagines.
El-Visitador said…
Very interesting research, Wally.

Still, does not appear to explain the apparent disparity in crime rates between ES and NI, though their pop. pyramids seem to be analogous.

I read research on overcrowding (rats & monkeys), and that could be a factor.

ES: 329 persons/km2
NI: 42 persons/km2

I am loath, however, to say that ES is violent only because it is young and overcrowded. Man is not as deterministic as that.

There have to be moral failings all around. I am particularly distressed by the routine theatrics of weeping mothers of criminals killed in self defense by victims, and other miscreants: do these ladies really not understand that their children were murderous thugs?
Anonymous said…
Nicarauga is an interesting place. Their crime rate is a lot lower than El Salvador although their police coverage per thousand people is about half, according to one article. And a large part of those officers are unarmed. As usual, I agree with El Visitador. There seems to be a toxic cultural soup that young people grow up in, not just here but all over the world, that plays a huge part in how they chose to live in relation to the people around them. I´m ashamed to say that a lot of that toxicity is exported from the U.S. But at a couple of points in U.S. history great awakenings changed society for the good, although it´s politically incorrect to talk about them much anymore. What if there were a great awakening for the young people of El Salvador. I´d like to see that, as a matter of fact, that´s why I choose to live here. And such an event is beyond the pale of Arena, the FMLN or any government.
Anonymous said…
I watched a program the other night about the ultra-violent MS-13...and how they were started in Los Angeles by people who left ES to escape the civil war (fueled by USA) and now they are being deported back to ES in such large numbers that is having a devastating effect on ES society as a whole. It's truly a very sad and somewhat hopeless situation.