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

Joseph B. Hash

The administration of El Salvador’s President

Nayib Bukele

secretly negotiated a truce with the imprisoned leaders of the country’s major prison gangs in exchange for fiscal and jail gains, such as sexual intercourse employees and cellphones, the U.S. Treasury said on Wednesday.

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

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Salvadoran gangs also have an in depth existence in U.S. communities, according to the U.S. authorities, which has criticized Mr. Bukele’s steps to cement energy by weakening establishments and the rule of legislation.

The U.S. Treasury said 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 authorities “provided fiscal incentives to Salvadoran gangs MS-13 and 18th Road Gang (Barrio 18) to guarantee that incidents of gang violence and the quantity of confirmed homicides remained reduced,” the U.S. Treasury said in a assertion.

As component of the magic formula offer, the gangs “received privileges for gang leadership incarcerated in Salvadoran prisons, this sort of as the provision of cellular phones and prostitutes,” the Treasury said.

The offer also secured the gang’s political assist for Mr. Bukele’s ruling occasion in midterm elections previously this 12 months, the Treasury added.

Mr. Bukele denied the accusations on Twitter. “How can they set out this sort of an apparent lie without any person questioning them?” he said in a write-up.

A spokesman for Mr. Bukele didn’t answer to a ask for for comment. Messrs. Luna and Marroquín could not be arrived at for comment.

The U.S. sanctions block all house and fiscal interests that Messrs. Luna and Marroquin have in the U.S. and U.S. citizens are prohibited from any transactions with them.

The forty-12 months-old Mr. Bukele, who enjoys higher approval rankings, has denied reviews by the area information publication El Faro that his administration negotiated with gangs to slash down on homicides, which have fallen sharply through his time in office environment.

Publish to Santiago Pérez at [email protected]

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