El Salvador: A murder every hour

The government insists most of the dead are gang members themselves

(CNN) – The rampant violence in El Salvador seems to have no end. According to statistics by the police, on average 23 people have died daily since the beginning of 2016.

Authorities say gangs, the principal suspects in these violent crimes, are looking to pressure the government into a new truce.

It seems El Salvador is headed to become the country of graves. According to police statistics during the months of January and February, one person has died of a violent crime almost every hour.

Many families mourn the death of a loved one, with some families being victims multiple times. This is the case of a man we’ll call Luis who at 20 years old came close to dying in an attack. He survived, but his father did not. He spoke to CNN on the condition that we change his name and hide his face.

“Suddenly a car stopped in front of me and started to shoot, my dad jumped on top of me, he hugged me and then we fell to the ground. He died saving my life,” said Luis.

That wasn’t the family’s only death. Years later they buried another loved one. One of his brothers was killed by gang members three months after saving a 10 year old boy from being attacked. They buried a third family member a few years later.

“My younger brother was killed in 2011. The gangs have caused us great suffering and we don’t belong to gangs, nothing like this, we don’t associate with them,” said Luis.

Besides his fear, Luis says his family must continue to move on.

“Well it’s normal we are scared. We are all scared, this is the reality of the country and we have to live. We have to go to work, we have to support our family. How can you stay at home all the time for fear that you will get killed?” said Luis.

The fear continues to grow among workers ever since the gangs massacred 10 factories employees and one farmer in late February not far from the capital of San Salvador.

The government insists most of the dead are gang members themselves and the rise in violence is a response to the security plans the country has put in place including doubling police presence in the streets.

“We are reorganizing the police force, reorganizing the operation groups, we are facing the mobility the criminal groups have in the country,” said Salvador Sánchez Cerén, President of El Salvador.

The government’s objective is to give more security to the people, but for now Luis and many others fear they too will become the next victims.

Comments are closed.