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The Mara Salvatrucha - MS13 gang has presence at La Estacion community which was settled along an abandoned railroad which lacks access to potable water.

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A mother taking her son to school poses by the Salvadoran soldiers in the historic downtown, the military has been deployed all over the country to help the police to combat the gangs.

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Central America, El Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, Americas, Central America, Latin America, Salvadoran, politics, FMLN, Frente Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, reflection, Cindirella, peace march

Salvadorans wearing white shirts as a symbol of peace while taking part in the national march for Life, Peace and Justice organized by the government in power, of the left wing political party FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front). Thousands of Salvadorans participated in the march to show their support for a a better country.


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A human skull with a bullet holes is being examined at the forensic anthropology department to determine information about the victim, although they believe to be male and was in his mid 20's.

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Suspected gang members captured by the police during a night raid operation are presented to the national and international media, in the back ground a painting of the Salvadoran flag's slogans that read "UNION and LIBERTY". 


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Graffiti from the Barrio 18 gang at a kids playground inside the Santisima Trinidad neighborhood which is under control by the gang, the community that is located in the district of Soyapango, which is one of the dangerous and has a high level of gang activity and violence in the greater San Salvador area.

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Inmates entertain themselves by watching television at the Quezaltepeque prison located in the western part of the country, which only houses members of the Barrio 18 gang.

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Central AmericaEl Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, homicide, insecurity, security, violence, Central America, Latin America, police, investigation, PNC, forensics, murder, gangs, MS, Mara Salvatrucha, Barrio 18, mar

A boy plays with is car as police officers stand guard at a double homicide scene next door to the kid's house, where Elba Doris Barahona and her brother Job Navidad Barahona were gunned down by gang members early in the morning. Mr. Job Barahona was government employee working with the Ministry of Public Works and according to the police Mrs. Elba Barahona was being investigated for possible involvement with the gangs collecting extortion money in the gang's behalf.


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Central America, El Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, violence, gangs, maras, Latin America, Northern Triangle, mass graves, burried, homicide, murder, kidnapping, missing, dissapeared, Policia Nacional Civil, insecu

The body of a 17 year old teenager was found in a grave. The young man is believed to be the victim of gang violence, his father discovered the body after he starting looking for him a few days before when he never returned home.


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The Gerardo Barrios plaza in the historic downtown. El Salvador has thousands of missing persons, most of the victims are youth and your adults.

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\The daughter of the deceased looks at the crime scene where Edgar Giovanni Morales, 33, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha - MS gang was shot 3 times causing his instant death in front of the San Francisco parish. Giovanni has been helping father Antonio Rodríguez, known as "Padre Toño” to help gang members abandon the gang life at the San Francisco parish. In the corner of the building a mural with the image of martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero with the words "I WILL RESURRECT THROUGH THE VILLAGE"


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Suspected gang members captured by the police during a night raid operation are presented to the national and international media. El Salvador is ranked 4th most violent country by a recent report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Violence . The country is part of the Central American northern triangle formed by Honduras , Guatemala and El Salvador , combined they totaled approximately 15,000 homicides in 2013.

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Central America, El Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, violence, Latin America, gangs, maras, crime, homicide, Central America, wounded, gun violence
Rolando poses for a portrait to show his gun shot wounds, he was shot six time one day a few steps from his house around 6:30 in the morning. He just remembers seeing two guys walk by him and then he was shot.

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Central America, El Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, homicide, insecurity, security, violence, Central America, Latin America, police, investigation, PNC, forensics, murder, gangs, MS, Mara Salvatrucha, Barrio 18, m

Police investigators, a forensic doctor and the district attorney check the boy of a 14 years old boy who was shot in the head and body.


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Carmen Colorado, 63 yrs old, cries as she makes memory of her son room, Herbert Antonio Argueta, 32yrs old, who disappeared on August 2021 while going to the local convenience store at night. She has constantly try to get help from the police and government but has been unsuccessful.

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Central America, El Salvador, photo Juan Carlos, photographer, Central America, Latin America, insecurity, security, violence, gangs, forensics, DNA, lab, justice, impunity missing, disappear, Barrio 18, crime, homicide, Mara

A Dr. shows a liquidfied bone in order to obtain the person's DNA. The Forensic Genetics Lab of the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) has a team of latest technology to analyze DNA samples, to help authorities investigate murders and other crimes.


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A boy tries his luck at the rifle range in the country fair during the holiday season. El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world most homicides are committed with guns.


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Members of the Barrio 18 gang inside a solitary cell at the Izalco Prison, which houses members of the three major gang in El Salvador.

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The Libertad community is a stronghold of the Mara Salvatrucha - MS13 gang.

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A soldier patrolling the streets of downtown San Salvador, the military has been sent to the streets to join the police in combating the gangs.

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Maria, 51 yrs old, holds her phone with images of her missing son Nestor Alexander Lopez Rochac, 17yrs old, which his girlfriend, he disappeared on April 2018 while going to the local convenience store at night. She has constantly try to get help from the police and government but has been unsuccessful.

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The body of Carlos Rodrigo Mejía who was shot by gang members while riding the bus and died at lays a the morgue of the Mejicanos General hospital.

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An inmate and member of the Barrio 18 gang with a tattoo that reads "FORGIVE ME MOTHER FOR MY CRAZY LIFE"

YOUNG DAYS DANGEROUS TIMES


"In this country young people are like the dawn, they do not last long" -Roque Dalton


Nowadays is a menace to be young in El Salvador, the country is living dangerous times due to the gang violence which has had an impact on society for decades, specially in teenagers and young adults. The majority of gang members being their gang life at a very young ager some even before reaching their teens, other young Salvadorans decide to join the police force as a way to fight the unstable social situation caused by the gang war or simply because it becomes a good paying job and for that youth who is not part of a gang but are living in/or around neighborhoods overrun by the gangs, they are constantly hassled by gang members or the authorities, sometimes loosing their lives jut because thy come from a neighborhood controlled by the rival gang. The police force and military has a significant number of officers who are under 30, when patrolling the streets of the different neighborhood which are considered “red zones” have adopted the stop and frisk practice, they are accused of being involved in extrajudicial killings and sometimes being members of death squads targeting gang members or those who affiliate with the major gangs, creating an unsympathetic feeling in the communities. El Salvador is most dangerous for the young having one of the highest murder rate in the world for ages 15-24 years old including young adults. The three major gangs Mara Salvatrucha – MS13 and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios and Barrio 18 Sureños, cause most of the violence, with an estimated 55,000 gang members but when including everyone who is related or involve in the gang activities, these include family members, friends and helpers such as the ones nicknamed “postes” (lookouts), concluding that there is a bit more of half a million persons involved in gang activity. It is a chilling situation since the majority of persons being victims of the gang war, whether gang member or not are young and the prisons are filled with gang members who began their sentences either after turning 18yrs old or after officially becoming an adult (21yrs old). The youth of El Salvador is being lost to a wave of violence which has claimed the tens of thousands victims including the more than 11 thousands persons gone missing in the past decade, once again the young being a large percentage of those missing persons. The youth can’t roam around the neighborhoods, city streets freely and even thousands of students have dropped out school due to being in danger of being a victim and loosing their lives. The country is losing a young generation who can be the future of the country, the youth that can take turn the country around and lead its way to a fully developed and modernized country. The young are living dangerous times, constantly fearing being the next victim.


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© Juan Carlos - All Rights Reserved / Todos los Derechos Reservados

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