U.S. Accuses El Salvador’s Government of Cutting a Deal With Gangs

The administration of El Salvador’s President

Nayib Bukele

secretly negotiated a truce with the imprisoned leaders of the country’s best felony gangs in exchange for economic and prison advantages, including sexual intercourse employees and cellphones, the U.S. Treasury stated on Wednesday.

The accusation by the U.S. govt is the most current indicator of rising tension with the impoverished Central American country, exactly where rampant violence and endemic poverty have led to mass migration to the U.S.

Border cities like Brownsville, Texas, are looking at their means stretched as they get the job done to control the expanding quantity of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. WSJ’s Michelle Hackman stories. Photograph: Verónica G. Cárdenas

Salvadoran gangs also have an considerable existence in U.S. communities, in accordance to the U.S. govt, which has criticized Mr. Bukele’s measures to cement electrical power by weakening institutions and the rule of law.

The U.S. Treasury stated it was imposing sanctions on Osiris Luna, El Salvador’s deputy justice minister and prisons director, and Carlos Marroquín, head of a welfare agency, for their participation in the magic formula negotiations.

The govt “provided economic incentives to Salvadoran gangs MS-thirteen and 18th Road Gang (Barrio 18) to ensure that incidents of gang violence and the quantity of confirmed homicides remained small,” the U.S. Treasury stated in a assertion.

As component of the magic formula offer, the gangs “received privileges for gang management incarcerated in Salvadoran prisons, these types of as the provision of cellular telephones and prostitutes,” the Treasury stated.

The offer also secured the gang’s political assist for Mr. Bukele’s ruling occasion in midterm elections earlier this yr, the Treasury added.

Mr. Bukele denied the accusations on Twitter. “How can they place out these types of an evident lie without having anybody questioning them?” he stated in a put up.

A spokesman for Mr. Bukele did not react to a ask for for comment. Messrs. Luna and Marroquín couldn’t be attained for comment.

The U.S. sanctions block all home and economic passions that Messrs. Luna and Marroquin have in the U.S. and U.S. citizens are prohibited from any transactions with them.

The forty-yr-outdated Mr. Bukele, who enjoys substantial acceptance rankings, has denied stories by the regional news publication El Faro that his administration negotiated with gangs to lower down on homicides, which have fallen sharply all through his time in place of work.

Create to Santiago Pérez at [email protected]

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