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OAS Secretary General Highlights Results from the First Year of Gang Truce in El Salvador

  March 11, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, reiterated the commitment of the hemispheric organization to continue efforts to promote peace and security in El Salvador, in the first anniversary of the truce agreed to between gangs that has seen the homicide rate drop by 54 percent, equivalent to more than 2,000 lives saved.

In a message read at a ceremony that declared Apopa as the sixth municipality free of violence in El Salvador, Secretary General Insulza wrote that "last July 13, I committed myself to be an observer and guarantor of the truce, and witnessed the symbolic hand-over of 78 guns and 259 small-caliber weapons by gangs. Now several months later, the process presents itself as an opportunity that must be taken advantage of for the development and implementation of initiatives that seek to solve the problem of insecurity in the country.”

Insulza added in his letter, that "El Salvador in 2011 was listed as one of the most violent countries in the world, recording 66 homicides for each one hundred thousand inhabitants. Since the beginning of this process, the homicide rate has dropped to less than 30 per one hundred thousand inhabitants."

The leader of the OAS said the peace agreement between the two main Salvadoran gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, has led to a process that presents opportunities to reduce crime and violence in the country. "I want to urge gangs, particularly those who have committed crimes or are committing crimes, to find in this process a chance to vindicate themselves through the fulfillment of commitments and to join their purposes to the legitimate aims, common good and welfare of Salvadorian society," he said.

In addition, he expressed appreciation to all the people and institutions that have been involved and who have believed in some form or other in the effort of the truce. In particular, he highlighted the work of the government of El Salvador, which has facilitated the development of the process, and expressed his desire to "encourage all those public and private institutions, international and non-governmental organizations to continue to promote the social and economic reintegration of young people at risk.” He also paid tribute "to the victims of crime, the dead and those who continue to struggle on a daily basis in the pursuit of their happiness and that of their families."

The Secretary General also praised the role of other institutions and individuals in the process, among which he mentioned the Comité Técnico de Coordinación para la Reducción del Crimen y la Violencia en El Salvador; la Fundación Humanitaria; the Facilitators Monsignor Fabio Colindres and Raul Mijango; the Minister of Justice and Security, General David Munguia Payes; the municipal authorities and residents of those municipalities that have decided to be part of this great effort: Santa Tecla, Ilopango, Quetzaltepeque, Sonsonate, Puerto la Libertad and Apopa. “And to all those who will join the list of municipalities that want to give a new opportunity for peace and reconciliation by promoting the reduction of crime and violence through dialogue, awareness and creating economic and social opportunities for the members of their communities, especially young people, to improve their own personality through legitimately earning a living," he added.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-084/13