State of Exception extended -- what it has meant so far

Tonight, with little discussion of whether conditions still merited an emergency decree and whether mistakes or abuses had taken place, El Salvador's Legislative Assembly passed an extension of the "State of Exception" for another period of thirty days.   According to the PNC, more than 16,000 persons alleged to be gang members have been detained during the first four weeks of the State of Exception.

Here is a set of articles in the English language press about the past four weeks in El Salvador under the State of Exception. 

 As El Salvador arrests thousands, families search for the missing -- Washington Post -- "The other women in line at El Penalito told stories of how their sons were arrested — in raids on their homes, while selling fruit in downtown San Salvador or working on construction sites, while walking home from the bus.  In a country where thousands disappeared during the civil war of the 1980s, and thousands more vanished during a surge in gang violence that began in 2014, the arrests have prompted the kind of frantic search that for some Salvadorans feels familiar."

‘All Salvadorans at risk’: Inside El Salvador’s gang crackdown - Al Jazeera -- "Human rights groups have raised alarm at the intensity of President Nayib Bukele’s mass arrests and intensifying criminalization of critics, including journalists, saying it is the latest example of his push to rapidly consolidate power since he took office in 2019."

El Salvador president’s mass arrests ‘punitive populism’ - AP -- "President Nayib Bukele has responded to the surge in gang killings with mass arrests in poor neighborhoods like San Jose El Pino, each day posting the growing arrest total and photos of tattooed men. The highly publicized roundups are not the result of police investigations into the murders in late March, but propel a tough-on-crime narrative that critics are calling 'punitive populism'."

El Salvador NGOs challenge criminalisation of gang reporting -- Al Jazeera -- "A group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in El Salvador has asked the country’s judiciary to declare as unconstitutional recent law reform that journalists have warned could criminalize reporting on gangs.  The reform, pushed by President Nayib Bukele, was passed by the country’s legislature on April 6 and allows prison sentences of up to 15 years for reproducing or transmitting information related to criminal gangs 'that could generate anxiety and panic among the general population'."

Rights Commission urges El Salvador to respect rights -- AP -- "The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the government of El Salvador Thursday to respect human rights, after authorities declared a state of emergency and rounded up 14,000 suspected gang members."

Imprisoning children: How El Salvador’s adults fail young people involved in gangs -- Global Voices -- "[C]hildren from 12 to 16 years old may now receive a 10-year sentence and serve in adult prisons as part of recent legislative changes to curb crime in the country. ... [T]ough-on-crime policies, especially those aimed at children, do not work — especially in a country with generations of torn community and family relationships."

When will the Violence end? -- Connectas -- "The wave of murders in El Salvador highlights the fact that Latin America has the worst violence indexes of urban violence in the world. After many years of failures, how can governments overturn this phenomenon?"

Random detentions cast pall on high holy days in El Salvador -- Catholic News Service -- "The statue of Jesus, blindfolded and cuffed, ubiquitous during Holy Week processions here, hit close to home for Gabriela Rivas. Like many women in El Salvador, Rivas spent Holy Week looking for help for her husband, detained without cause by government authorities April 10, Palm Sunday, she said."

El Salvador to Speed Up Construction of Prisons -- TeleSur English -- "On Tuesday, the Salvadoran Congress approved a law to speed up the construction of new prisons and thus be able to solve the problem of overcrowding in the country's prison system....The "Special Law for the Construction of Penitentiaries" enables the Public Works Ministry to associate with private companies, make purchases without bidding, and expropriate real estate to plan, design, and build prisons."

Gang Expert Flees El Salvador after Intimidation from Bukele -- El Faro English -- "Juan Martínez is a long-time contributor to U.S. outlet Insight Crime, and has also collaborated with El Faro and Factum, among others. He is one of the leading academics who has studied and explained gangs as a social phenomenon in El Salvador.  “The president put me, my family, and my sources at risk, but the gravest of all this is that there is a state propaganda apparatus committed to intimidating the journalistic profession,” Martínez told El Faro English. He underscored that his departure is temporary."

Opinión: Bukele me convirtió en un pandillero por mi trabajo como investigador -- Juan Martinez D'Aubuisson in the Washington Post -- "En 11 líneas el presidente y sus seguidores condenaron mi trabajo, pusieron en riesgo a mis fuentes y colocaron una diana peligrosa sobre mi cabeza al meterme en esa categoría —que tan bien han construido— de “enemigo del pueblo”. Bukele me convirtió en un pandillero."


Charly Boqueron said…
the president of el salvador and his government are so corrupt and so deceitful that it is very difficult to believe anything they say anymore and take them seriously. behind the extended state of exceptions we can already see some of the basic motives to continue it.

1.) continue controling the narrative surrounding the "war on gangs" as the background cover to suppress basic human rights of the civilian population such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly.

2.) drive public attention and opinion away from more pressing issues such as high cost of living, the bitcoin fiasco and failure of the bitcoin bonds; government negotiations with gang leaders and their refusal to extradite some of those leaders to the u.s.; the pensions system reform that may kill it altogether and the brink of the financial collapse as the country nears default on its debt.

3.) use the fear and intimidation inflicted upon the civilian population to skip legal procedures to award government contracts for goods and services to allies, accomplices, family members and even political adversaries to strengthen support toward the government and its corrupt officials, especially the president.

4.) to suppress and later repress the labor day national march on may 1st in protest of the government corruption and poor performance.

5.) to reduce the impact of the imminent actualization of the engel list where the president's brothers and other close collaborators will very likely be included.

6.) just to keep the civil population on its toes and weary so they do not think about the other pressing issues and do not opt to rebel and protest against the government and its corrupt officials, especially the president. the obsession to control everything is a vicious cycle that will only be broken until the salvadoran people decide to put an end to it, meanwhile the goverment will continue making the most of it in terms of publicity, propaganda and straight up lies.