Title

The Politics of Negotiating with Gangs. The Case of El Salvador

Publication Date

2018

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

srhreports, transnationalorganizedcrime, country-elsalvador, crime, El Salvador, gangs, MS-13, truce, violence

Description

© 2018 The Author. Bulletin of Latin American Research © 2018 Society for Latin American Studies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd This paper explores the dynamics of negotiations between the Salvadoran government and the street gangs, called maras. The paper argues that state negotiations with criminal groups can occur when organized crime is a significant part of the social and political order. This tacit order allows a great deal of coordination between and within criminal organizations and the focus of negotiations from the state's point of view is limited to the management of violence, not the dismantling of gangs' territorial control. This article draws on seventeen in-depth interviews with middle-level gang leaders, government officials, and participants of the truce negotiations from 2012 to 2016; it also relies on public information published by Salvadoran journalists and government sources about the truce.

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The Politics of Negotiating with Gangs. The Case of El Salvador

© 2018 The Author. Bulletin of Latin American Research © 2018 Society for Latin American Studies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd This paper explores the dynamics of negotiations between the Salvadoran government and the street gangs, called maras. The paper argues that state negotiations with criminal groups can occur when organized crime is a significant part of the social and political order. This tacit order allows a great deal of coordination between and within criminal organizations and the focus of negotiations from the state's point of view is limited to the management of violence, not the dismantling of gangs' territorial control. This article draws on seventeen in-depth interviews with middle-level gang leaders, government officials, and participants of the truce negotiations from 2012 to 2016; it also relies on public information published by Salvadoran journalists and government sources about the truce.