In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele declared this week during a speech for his third year as head of the Executive that he is “on the verge of winning the war against the gangs.”
However, an investigation by Amnesty International in El Salvador determined that the state authorities were perpetrating “serious violations” of human rights within the framework of an exceptional regime, in force since the end of March and that suspends constitutional guarantees.
Human rights organizations criticize the “war against gangs”
Prison overcrowding, torture, deaths in police custody and enforced disappearances have been documented. Under these conditions, this “war against the gangs” has been strongly criticized by human rights organizations, which denounce strong repression and arbitrary arrests.
In the past 10 weeks, El Salvador’s security forces have detained more than 36,000 people since Congress granted President Nayib Bukele the power to suspend some civil liberties to go after powerful street gangs.
Repression and arbitrary arrests
In El Limonar, west of San Salvador, Esmeralda, the daughter of María Dolores García, was arrested. Esmeralda was near her house on April 19 when the soldiers and the police took her away. Her mother has not heard from her since, denouncing her arbitrary detention, since her daughter was dedicated to farming and defending the rights of women. women.
The family of Esmeralda Domínguez and some 50 people from the same area have organized to free their relatives. The NGO Cristosal has been helping with many of these cases.
“At the beginning of the state of emergency, people thought that their relatives would be released and that they would be assigned a defense lawyer. But as they see that the system is co-opted against them, they feel more and more frustrated and afraid.”, says Noah Bullock, Director of the NGO Cristosal.
Fighting crime, Bukele’s greatest achievement in El Salvador, according to survey
According to an opinion poll published this Thursday in El Salvador, 74% of those interviewed consider that the state of emergency has helped control organized crime in the country and almost half affirm that crime is the country’s main problem.