Opposing views on what the gang truce means for El Salvador

Americas Quarterly has produced an article with two diametrically opposed views of the gang truce in El Salvador.    David Brotherton, a sociologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice takes a very optimistic view and concludes:

The truce has effectively produced a new political and cultural moment. It is not business as usual. The gang bangers have rejected their stereotypical image and opted for peace. It is the perfect time for those with the power and resources at both the local and international levels to follow suit.
The opposite view is expressed by Carlos Ponce, a columnist at El Diario de Hoy and crime consultant.   He sees the truce as simply part of the evolution of the gangs into more sophisticated and more dangerous criminal organizations:
El Salvador should learn from the experience of its northern neighbor, and be smarter about how much it invests in the current truce—and, by extension, how much it concedes to MS-13 and Barrio 18. Negotiations between the government and gangs should cease immediately. Instead, a comprehensive approach to fight these criminal organizations must be designed and executed.
You can read their respective arguments here.


Carlos X. said…
The conservative arguments sound good, but IMHO they depart from the premise of wanting to criticize the gang truce to reflect badly on the Funes government. Not to say there's nothing to legitimately criticize, as the Funes government has been all over the place in trying to explain what their policy is, what their role in the truce has been, and where we go from here. But, given the depth of the gang problem, I think it's irresponsible to promote any view that threatens the gang truce or does not ask, how can we take it to the next level, instead of saying we should not support it. The Ponce argument strikes me as particularly ludicrous: for decades, Latin American governments have struggled to come up with a coherent solution to this problem and no one has gotten it right. In El Salvador, the policies of successive conservative governments were completely ineffectual. To suggest that we should scrap the first approach to provide any glimmer of hope and go back to the drawing board of failure is unconscionable.