The Wall Street Journal
WHY ARE PEOPLE FLEEING CENTRAL AMERICA? A NEW BREED OF GANGS IS TAKING OVER
Text by Robbie Whelan
APOPA, El Salvador—The Congress of El Salvador agreed in April to extend the authority of jailers to keep gang leaders in solitary confinement. Over the next five days, the two reigning street gangs killed more than 100 people.
With the highest homicide rate of all countries in the world, El Salvador is a nation held hostage.
Law-enforcement officials estimate that one gang, MS-13, operates an extortion racket with little pressure from authorities in 248 of the 262 of the country’s municipalities. It battles for neighborhood control with another gang, Barrio 18, which runs its own protection scheme in nearly as many regions.
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