Authorities said there were two children among the seven dead. At least seven people have been killed in a landslide sparked by heavy rains in El Salvador, the government said on Friday, and more than 30 others are suspected missing under a deluge of mud. A civilian was instructed to get the woman drunk in her home, just up the road from the burial site. El Salvador imposes prisons lockdown after 22 murders in a day This article is more than 6 months old ‘Maximum emergency’ to allow police investigate highest single-day homicide tally His men dig down a layer around its perimeter, then level the ground flat. And again. Our destination is a site used by members of the local MS-13 gang to rape, torture and execute people. Its head is bent backward, as if in supplication. As soon as he arrived at his family’s house in El Salvador, members of MS-13 showed up at his doorstep. They decided to kill her as well. Of those affected, many will remain in the US, working and living in the shadows. It most likely belonged to a woman. A decades-long veteran of the security forces, Ticas’s first job was as an artist in the counter-terrorism unit, sketching suspected guerillas during the country’s 1979–1992 civil war. El Salvador taps new DC lobbyist in … All rights reserved. Many have come to believe that the US got rid of its problem at El Salvador’s expense. The latest breaking news, ... 2020 Election; Voices. The new entity, Invest El Salvador… Before long, Ticas spots a body by the roadside. • Adapted from State of War: MS-13 and El Salvador’s World of Violence by William Wheeler, published on 14 January by Columbia Global Reports. Neither will the consequences of their continuing evolution be walled off behind national boundaries, increasingly intertwined as they are with the currents of illicit supply and demand that tie producers to the US, the world’s largest market for illegal drugs. Since mid-June, the number of infections and deaths has increased to the point that President Nayib Bukele acknowledged last weekend that the Covid-19 infection curve “has become … Many more will return, both clients and cargo of the human-smuggling networks now controlled by organised crime. The reality is more complicated. Essential services such as medical assistance, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transportation, and gas … Still, Ticas has managed to find 11 of the 21 bodies his informant says are buried here. Armed Special Forces soldiers of the Salvadoran Army, following orders of President Nayib Bukele, enter congress upon the arrival of lawmakers, in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.) It is not difficult to understand why the authorities are eager to depict El Salvador’s violence as the original sin. The attorney general gave Ticas three months to work the location, and today is the deadline. “Talk to me,” he mutters to the bones. But one of the gang members rushed the job and struck her in the back of the head with a machete. To name just a few: the US has removed domestic violence or persecution by gangs – conjoined crises in the region – as grounds for asylum in the US. Most extraordinarily of all, the Trump administration signed agreements last year with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that require US-bound migrants who pass through these countries to apply for asylum there first (and allowing the US to send back anyone who failed to do so). A man from El Salvador was arrested after he was caught driving a truck near Brownwood. El Salvador: At least 7 dead, more than 30 missing in landslide. Today, the countries of the Northern Triangle, where the maras predominate, rank among the world’s highest murder rates and account for 75% of the migrants arriving at the southern US border. Ticas moves around the grave in a dizzying pattern, fishing out roots and rocks, working his way around the hole as if he is playing pool. He was sure they had buried her deeper. Successive Salvadoran governments, with US support, have done little, if anything, to address these issues – and have more often made these problems worse. According to Salvadoran government numbers, there are 60,000 gang members and some 10% of the population are dependent on or otherwise tied to the gangs – in a country of just over 6 million. On August 24, El Salvador reopened its economy. Last modified on Mon 27 Jan 2020 12.00 GMT. For both of these factors, the US indeed bore considerable responsibility. He started as a lookout, but before long they said he knew too much about them and would have to join the gang. A self-taught forensic criminologist, he locates and digs up the bodies of victims of gang killings, and in so doing, he documents the crimes of the country’s notorious maras, or gangs. In addition to revealing where the bodies are buried, the informant must name names and testify against his former associates. After an “investigation”, the gang “disappeared” her partner. As the river rises and falls in the jungle terrain, Ticas explains, the land swells and crumbles. In time, the gang expanded to include other nationalities, and it spread to other American cities. After a few minutes, the convoy stops at a parched basin beside the fields, a spot where a river runs during the wetter months. We managed to get out, but we couldn’t get to her,” she said. • Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the long read weekly email here. Everyone here must collaborate, they told him. Robert Fisk; Mary Dejevsky; Sport. Meanwhile, behind the noisy spectacle of family separations and the deployment of the US military to its southern border, the Trump administration has quietly enacted a wide range of calibrated policy changes to dramatically ramp up the deportation machinery it inherited, and to choke off immigration across the board. Israel Ticas is racing down the highway, drumming his hands on the wheel of “The Beast”, a tall, boxy police truck that he aims at the small, bustling town of San Luis Talpa, about 25 miles south of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador. Over several hours, he combs away the dirt, exposing a human skeleton. Displaced people in Iraq left with no refuge as police shut camps, EU criticises ‘hasty’ UK approval of COVID-19 vaccine, Afghan gov’t, Taliban announce breakthrough deal in peace talks, At 50, EPA pivots from Trump chopping block to Biden future, Jared Kushner takes on Qatar blockade in Middle East ‘swan song’, ‘Unwarranted’: India slams Canada PM’s remarks on farmer protests, UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in world first, S Korea passes law allowing BTS stars to defer military service, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. “She was in agony,” the informant says, but not dead. The cavity is roughly the shape of the African continent. “It’s fresh,” he observes. Ticas says the gangs appreciate his efforts: some day it could be their mothers to whom he gives closure. Today, at 24, he has already committed 31 murders, he claims. In the lower right corner, about where Tanzania might be, is a fist-sized hole. The story of El Salvador’s gang problem is a study in shortsighted thinking – from governments in Washington and San Salvador, on both sides of the political spectrum – that has backfired disastrously. El Salvador is a relatively small but growing player in the drug trafficking business. As they worked to cover up their crimes with increasing sophistication, they even joked that they were making it a challenge for Ticas, the informant tells him. Rather than a problem to be deported away, however, the reality of the gang is considerably more complex. El Salvador is one of the countries that is most dependent on remittances from abroad, and the fate of some 200,000 of its citizens now hangs before US courts as they decide whether Trump has the authority to revoke their legal status. The limbs seem largely intact, with bits of tattered clothing around them. They sift the dirt they extract, looking for any clues the perpetrators or the victim might have left behind. The state’s institutions had been gutted by conflict, poverty and corruption. Ticas calls himself a “lawyer for the dead”. “God will help me find your mother.” Each corpse that goes undiscovered is another family that will never get closure. The maras have since drawn three generations into an escalating cycle of conflict that offers no easy escape. The human toll of all these changes will be devastating. The informant had lived in the US for a decade when, in 2013, he was suddenly deported after missing a court appointment, he says. It was always determined by the legacy of El Salvador’s civil war and the underlying inequality that had precipitated it, but was never resolved by its outcome. But he is not the only one learning in the process. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. As always, he carries a pistol in a handbag at his side. His belt is adorned with a skull-and-crossbones pattern. The murders that occurred here happened in the middle of a truce that the government negotiated between the rival gangs, which was credited with halving the homicide rate. But we aren’t here for the body by the roadside. Gangs exercise territorial control over specific neighborhoods and extort residents throughout the country. He draws the outline again and they dig a layer deeper. El Salvador’s Civil Protection Agency said the landslide had carved a route approximately 4km (2.5 miles) in length through Los Angelitos, sweeping mud, rocks and tree trunks in its path. “It’s weird,” says the informant. Instead, the front of the skull shows signs of being hacked repeatedly. Then she would be brought to the informant. The woman and her partner had recently moved to town, and the gang suspected the couple had problems with MS-13 elsewhere. Heavily-armed police and soldiers in El Salvador have forced their way into parliament, demanding the approval of a $109m (£85m) loan to better equip them. In one scene in The Engineer, a documentary about Ticas, a gang member says that if they ever catch him offguard, they will bury him in one of the graves he has been excavating. Others will be forced back to the countries of their birth and will meet violent ends. Doing so has allowed the Salvadoran regime to blame the cause not only on a gang culture imported from the US, but on often simplified notions of crime that have little to do with difficult and costly political solutions. His job, the informant was told, would be to cut off her head – “to prove you have balls”. In most ways, the country has never quite recovered since. “It’s days like this that I know that God does miracles,” he says. The deportees came back from the streets of LA with tattoos and baggy clothes and brought along with them gang culture, urban warfare tactics and criminal networks from prison. Published November 29, 2020 1:56 pm Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala stage mass raids on Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs El Salvador's president said on Saturday that the nation's economy could start to re-open on June 16, following weeks of a strict lockdown meant to … El Salvador's Govt. It is the third body they have found here that the informant knew nothing about. SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — At least six people were killed and 35 were missing after a landslide during torrential rains in El Salvador, civil defence officials said Friday. The slide hit the village of Los Angelitos on the slopes of the volcano, burying 60 homes and damaging 75. “Have faith,” he told her. He surveys the crust, looking for a patch of discoloured soil, a sign that something has been altered. She wandered around the house in a stupor, like a zombie, smearing her blood on the walls. But the reality, the informant says, is that it taught them to hide their victims in clandestine graves such as these. In his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump railed against “the savage gang MS-13”, and called on Congress “to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country.”. He, too, wears a mask, with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder, in case the gang’s spotters are watching. If anything, US assistance to Salvadoran regimes to help tackle root problems that had been exacerbated by the war and its aftermath were in order. MIAMI — El Salvador has awarded a $780,000 lobby contract to a three-week old Washington firm set up to promote investment as President Nayib Bukele, a staunch Trump ally, seeks to pivot toward Joe Biden’s $4 billion development plan to stop the flow of migration from Central America. So he went to the police and said he could give them information on 20 murders. So far, 105 arrests have been made because of his cooperation. The informant’s victim would have suffered machete wounds to the back of the head, but this cranium is intact. More than half the population of 6.5 million were born after the civil war. “We haven’t even found a quarter of the fucked-up things these assholes have done,” says a member of the police crew keeping watch over Ticas and his team. In El Salvador, Arrested Gang Members Paraded for the Cameras By Reuters , Wire Service Content Nov. 28, 2020 By Reuters , Wire Service Content Nov. 28, 2020, at 9:13 p.m. Today, in the US, it numbers no more than 10,000 members and functions mostly – its penchant for sensational violence aside – like an average American street gang, fighting to control neighborhood turf and local drug sales. With his fingers he traces the boundaries of what he sees in the dirt. “But (it) had already reached my daughter’s house. Jose Luis Menjivar Leon, 46, had been at the wheel of a white Nissan pickup at 6:01 a.m. Thursday on State Road 44 at Powell Road when he was pulled over by a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy. Ticas clears away dirt from the skull. He notes the slash marks on her breastbone. Ticas even thinks he knows the identity of the victim they have found. Read more Country: El Salvador Source: UN Children's Fund UNICEF estimates that US$2,2 million will be required to provide critical support in WASH, shelter and child protection sectors, targeting more than 35,000 … Ticas and his team shovel out the topsoil until they reach hard-packed earth, then sweep away the dust with brooms. El Salvador: At least 7 dead, more than 30 missing in landslide Emergency crews are working to rescue any survivors after heavy rains cause mudslide near the capital, San Salvador. Ticas asks him if the victim died in her house or whether they finished her off at the burial ground. “What do you want to tell me?” After reconstructing her neck, vertebra by vertebra, Ticas gathers her ribs into a pile by the spine. Reinado de El Salvador 2020 held its coronation night yesterday at the Auditorio Fepade in San Salvador where eleven stunning finalists competed for the crown and Tiffany Katota was crowned as the Reina Hispanoamericana El Salvador 2020. It serves as a drug recipient and storage point along the Pacific Coast, and a bridge via the Pan-American Highway, the Fonseca Gulf, and roads fro m Honduras that cu t through relatively unpopulated areas. Among them were members of MS-13 and their LA rivals, the Eighteenth Street gang, or Barrio 18. In a region reeling from endemic poverty, wars and political violence, the struggle for survival and dominance of these Americanised gangsters produced a sociological phenomenon. Interior Minister Mario Duran called the situation “difficult” and said about 35 people were buried in the mudslide. But for now, today was a good day. “We have a working relationship,” Ticas says. In the late 90s, the Latino gangs of LA found an export mechanism: in response to MS-13’s growing clout and amid Bill Clinton’s immigration crackdown, the US began deporting foreign-born residents convicted of wide-ranging crimes. US politics. In 2015, homicides in El Salvador rivalled the most violent peak of the civil war, and it ranks consistently among the world’s most violent nations. And again. Ticas works the site laterally, instructing his men to dig a trench beside the cavity. Ticas’s informant is a lanky young man who wears a balaclava to hide his face. Gradually, an oval silhouette appears, the result of soil that has been dug up, oxygenated and repacked. El Salvador has among the world’s highest homicide rates. On this hot March morning in 2018, his finger is wrapped thick with gauze – a few days earlier, he pricked it on a thorn covered in fluids from decomposing bodies. Refuses to Give Data on El Mozote Massacre The Minister of Government Mario Durán declared a red alert in the area, and the first damage assessment shows that the landslide, which had a scope of 3km, affected more than 130 houses and over 100 families. So he struck her again. Unlike in the US, where he would probably be offered witness protection, in El Salvador he lives on his own, even though the gang would like nothing more than to find and kill him, which they will likely succeed in doing if he doesn’t leave the country when the case is finished. But, according to a popular view in El Salvador, these mass deportations changed everything in the country. The gang is the president’s favourite public menace to invoke in his bid to convince US voters that illegal immigration constitutes an urgent crisis and a threat to national security (second only, perhaps, to an “invasion” of migrants in caravans seeking asylum in the US – a great many of whom, ironically, are trying to flee the gang’s reach). She has succeeded Gabriela Acevedo who represented El Salvador at Reina … Lately, the gang has been disappearing off-duty members of the police and military and their families. “With clothes on.” It hasn’t been stripped or dismembered. In 2017, the UN called for a probe into unprecedented violence against trans women in El Salvador. The town is home to some 26,000 people, according to a 2013 survey. If history is a guide, the gangs will only emerge stronger as a result. The country’s violence is not only the result of American-imported crime. He reaches elbow-deep into it and feels what he knows by touch to be a human pelvic bone. “At about 11 o’clock at night there was thunder and suddenly, we felt like there was a quake, it was when (the landslide) was coming,” said Ricarda Sibrian, 43, who told the Reuters news agency she had lost her daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law. “El Salvador is a country where democracy has cost blood.” But appeals invoking the war may resonate less and less here. Coronavirus in El Salvador. As US-led interdiction efforts in Mexico, Colombia and the Caribbean have pushed trafficking routes into Central America – now the transit corridor for an estimated 88% of US-bound cocaine – the maras have come into closer contact with brutal Mexican trafficking organisations such as the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas, for whom they work as contractors and hired guns. At the start of this case, the daughter of a missing woman came to him asking for his help. Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei and El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele shake hands at a news conference in San Salvador, El Salvador January 27, 2020. El Salvador is officially planning to reopen its borders for international flights on September 19, 2020. His manner is earnest and agreeable. US sports; ... El Salvador. COVID-19 Information Last updated: November 23, 2020 Country-Specific Information: El Salvador has confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders. Available for everyone, funded by readers. Grief-stricken, the woman confronted them, screaming at them in the street, threatening to tell the police. El Salvador’s government and its law enforcement have been quick to support this view. El Salvador recently celebrated a historic feat: For two days in a row last month, the country recorded not a single homicide. “But he’s a psychopath.”. The maras, so goes the conventional wisdom, are a crime problem, best countered with severe police and even military force. But it’s not hard to imagine his work putting him in their crosshairs. He uses a turkey baster to clean the scalp, then fishes out broken shards from its face. In effect, this could make it virtually impossible for Central Americans to seek asylum in the US. Women take pictures of an area destroyed by a deadly landslide in Nejapa, El Salvador, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Los Angelitos is some 20 km (12 miles) north of the capital. He thinks he can find one more before his time is up and he has brought the informant here to help. Our security detail piles into a Toyota Hilux, and we follow them zig-zagging out of town and into the surrounding sugar cane fields, the convoy kicking up a bright cloud of swirling dust. Instead, we stop outside a two-storey concrete building where men in blue-and-white camouflage uniforms armed with assault rifles are milling about. His first offence was unauthorised drinking – members have to ask for permission before consuming alcohol, since intoxication renders them unreliable. US News is a recognized leader in college, grad ... El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele speaks at a promotion ceremony from policemen to corporals in San Salvador, El Salvador September 30, 2020. Then shortly after, he survived a police ambush. But Ticas tells me the informant would just as soon murder us all. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, for the third time in 10 days, on April 16, 2020, publicly dismissed Supreme Court rulings to respect fundamental rights while enforcing quarantine regulations. It has ended the “temporary protected status” that has allowed hundreds of thousands of Central Americans to remain in the US legally for years. NEJAPA, El Salvador -- A landslide left nine people dead, seven injured and one missing after torrential rains in El Salvador, civil defense officials said Friday. First, he noticed that the gangs had begun dismembering corpses so they would fit into smaller holes, making them tougher to spot. Later, they began stabbing the corpses in the stomach and throat before burying them in order to release gases trapped inside, so the decomposition process would leave an even smaller cavity. A large landslide triggered by heavy rains hit the northeastern flank of the San Salvador volcano in El Salvador late October 29 (LT), 2020. When he arrived, he was told to dig a hole: a woman would be killed. The victim, he says, was likely shot at that spot during the night. Politicians have, to much fanfare, introduced violent and repressive anti-gang measures, often prior to key elections. A few months earlier, the informant fell out of favour. But evidence suggests that the gangs’ power has only grown as a result. Born out of the ecology of Los Angeles’s fierce gang warfare, MS-13 was founded in the 1980s by Salvadoran refugees who had been hardened in a brutal civil war still raging at home. The hole was formed by the decomposition of the fleshy mass around her hips. 30 Oct 2020 September 18 update: Officials in El Salvador will reopen the country’s airports to all international travelers from Sept. 19. They removed her clothes and dragged her here, then began to chop her up. El Salvador Profile. The gang assumed he was a collaborator, and they tried to kill him, though he survived again. Tropic Air announced that it will add a new international service to San Salvador, El ... Tuesday, November 24, 2020. The slide occurred Thursday night when earth from the upper part of the San Salvador volcano was set in motion, sweeping up trees and homes … The maras will not simply be killed off or arrested away. NEJAPA, El Salvador - A landslide left nine people dead, seven injured and one missing after torrential rains in El Salvador, civil … The mudslide hit the village of Los Angelitos in the municipality of Nejapa, about 17 kilometres (11 miles) north of the capital, San Salvador, after overnight rains loosened the earth on the flanks of the San Salvador Volcano. Ticas was not formally trained in forensics, and many of the techniques he uses he discovered himself. But neither would be remedied alone by police killing of mareros or the mass imprisonment of gang members. So the topography has changed since the site was in use, several years ago, and his informant has struggled to remember where all the bodies are buried. The Salvadoran youths, a generation of jobless foot soldiers who made easy recruits, flocked to their banner. Something else is amiss. Thousands of convicts were sent back to the Northern Triangle each year – the neighboring Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Emergency crews are working to rescue any survivors after heavy rains cause mudslides near the capital, San Salvador. Ticas concludes that it belongs to a different woman altogether – a name that was not on the informant’s list. El Salvador's Civil Protection Directorate said it evacuated families in Tecoluca, in the department of San Vicente (84 kilometers east of the capital San Salvador), but did not say how many. The night of the murder was his initiation, when he received a call and was summoned to the site. The maras, in this analysis, are the primary and most urgent problem facing countries such as El Salvador. El Salvador has seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases of the novel coronavirus in recent weeks. The long read: The story of El Salvador’s gang problem is a study in shortsighted thinking – and Donald Trump’s policies threaten to make a … Appellant Mx M beaten up by police in El Salvador. Emergency crews are working to rescue any survivors after heavy rains cause mudslides near the capital, San Salvador. The victims include civilians, rivals from the Barrio 18 gang, and their own members who break internal codes of discipline. A man clears the mud at the site of the landslide sparked by heavy rains in Los Angelitos village on October 30 [Jose Cabezas/Reuters]Defense Minister Rene Francis Merino Monroy tweeted photographs from the site showing soldiers with a sniffer dog working alongside fire crews and civilians to try to unearth survivors in the early hours of the morning. Making the gangs the focus of the country’s troubles allows the government to put off engaging with more urgent and deep-seated problems such as corruption, lack of state institutions and inequality. El Salvador had small, disorganised neighbourhood gangs before. The experience left him equally as distrustful of the rightwing generals he had served as of the guerrilla commanders who would join them among the political elite at war’s end. Fri 10 Jan 2020 06.00 GMT