12-03-2020 Latin American Weekly Report
Region reels as coronavirus spreads and oil plunges
El Salvador commemorated the 25th anniversary of the peace accord that ended the country’s bloody 12-year civil war (1980-1992) between the government and Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) guerrillas on 16 January in the midst of another ‘war’ with the country’s mara street gangs. It is a sign of just how consumed by violence El Salvador has become that days beforehand, on 11 January, the country went 24 hours without a murder for the first time in two years. The government, ironically now run by the FMLN and led by veteran guerrilla President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, has shown no appetite for peace with the gangs, denying any parallel with their struggle, which suggests this statistic could be an anomaly. The country’s largest gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), tabled an unprecedented proposal in late December, however, to hold discussions with the government with a view to disbandment.
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