“The country quickly descended into a vicious civil war, which pitted a coalition of leftist guerrilla groups against a right-wing government backed by Washington. Right-wing leader Robert D’Aubuisson admitted, according to a declassified 1982 state department memo, that the death squads stalking the population were in fact comprised of official security forces whose “members use the guise of the death squad when a potentially embarrassing or odious task needs to be performed.” Members of the official U.S.-created battalion would go on to massacre whole villages.”
Oh my! One of the best analysis on the conflict I have read in sometime. well written, with a startlingly caliber of research on this harrowing crisis & blood-soaked tragedy. This is one of the worst conflicts on earth that takes extreme internecine nihilism into truly dystopic proportions. Where as many gangs or criminal entities will operate in communities, perhaps even affording them some advantages, the bleak & cannibalistic nature of El Salvador’s gang epidemic is much more predatory & poisonous. The biggest body to suffer is not the rival gangs, or the state, but the actual communities & population at large itself. Taxation, forced recruitment & deadly ills at the mercy & whims of the local hoods who exercise immense power. Noncompliance towards demands or invoking the wrath of gang members will more than likely result in your murder rather than a beating or lesser punishment to the relative disrespect. There is an acute grimness, nullness & indifference to the manner & scale of the disproportionate violence… extreme & casual & common. It is terrible. A young killer in his early twenties with more kills to his name than years of life is not uncommon in this insane landscape of blasé death. In communities under siege, conditions become unlivable, intolerable or just too dangerous due to some kind of singling out/event that simply puts your life & family in considerable & immediate jeopardy. This is a phenomenal – if not primary (the other being climate catastrophe which is propelling people out of the relative safety of the farms/countryside into the gang’s clutches) – driver for the massive emigration that is occurring. People are literally fleeing for their lives. It is just too insanely dangerous (not to mention stressful & insecure) to live at the mercy of the gangs, or an accidental incident, or inadvertent confrontation, or perceived slight or offense -which for civilians can result in severe & final consequences. Desperation.
The USA’s ardently deplorable open & covert interference & suppression in Latin America, which has been huge, has to be one of the most evil, malefic, devastating & destructive meddlings of the last century, with the atrocious ramifications & regional repercussions still wrecking immense harm & needless suffering. El Salvador is just another example, although certainly one of the worst.
The incubation of MS-13 was actually in the Salvadorian immigrant community in the US itself (Los Angeles). This venom was generated in America then exported with extras back to El Salvador (just the criminal one’s mind) by 1996’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act as a public ‘display of toughness’ from suave-shit-sack Bill Clinton. In this “massive deportation machinery”, transferred gangbangers were rapidly repatriated with fuck all thought, follow-up or consideration to what such a huge influx & offloading of concentrated criminality would do to the often impoverished & corrupt destinations. Forwarding information to relevant authorities, or the establishment & referral of a criminal database was apparently to big an ask. They were just dumped, in large numbers, without any assistance, or adequate warning. What do you think happened next?
“The effect of the deportations was like putting a bacterial culture in a petri dish.”
ISIS was formed in camp Bucca in Iraq, manned, operated & set-up by the US occupation. Another petri dish of sorts. The Taliban, the Sons of Iraq/Awakening Council, the Contras, the Kurds (Trump’s recent, abrupt & unexplained betrayal of the Kurds being a particularly graphic example), Pakistan’s ISI… collusion, abandonment, betrayal, discarding, exacerbation or unfulfilled assurances seem to be the mainstay of American actions towards their proxies.
“The narcos have been empowered by the sense that the Trump administration couldn’t care less about drug trafficking or corruption, which have become endemic.”
Fodder & fuel for political wrangling. Threat & distraction. We conceived, programmed & introduced the crisis & now we are the only ones that can save you from it. this fucking game is getting old.
“But the biggest criminals are the rich and powerful, he said, who remain free to hold office, exploiting the people while colluding with those who are the source of their misery.”
Notwithstanding specific interests in MS-13 or even El Salvador or Latin America, if you want to explore the “manufactured mayhem” & manipulation/management of turmoil, strife & disaster for political gains – this superb study & presentation of this horrendous fiasco is a vertex on one of the worst & most tragic examples current. Wheeler’s research is superb, one that locates the derivation, its mutation & also is honest & brave enough to call out the extent of US responsibility, or should that be culpability? & it’s dreadful hand in this monstrous emergency.
“Reagan brought into this domino effect that somehow El Salvador was going to become a Communist country. I remember, in 88, just being startled at how the embassy and government just routinely turned a blind eye to some of the most horrific atrocities imaginable. And confronted with overwhelming evidence, they still kind of went along to get along…and as a result we have a situation today where impunity is still a problem, where corruption is still a problem. Extrajudicial killings are still a problem. The human rights situation is horrible. Its maddening that my government, the United States government, continues to be clueless on how our policies have made things worse, not better.” – Jim McGovern (Congressman)
Yesterday, the Guardian reported that – “More than two-thirds of migrants fleeing the Central America’s countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have experienced the murder, disappearance or kidnapping of a relative before their departure.”
& as for the hardline “mow em’ all down” approach, that is exactly what El Salvador attempted in 2003 (the year the US & it’s “coalition of the willing” illegally invaded Iraq under entirely false pretenses) under Plan Mano Dura (iron fist/firm hand). It precipitated an absolute bloodbath, with a gigantic body count, & unleashed hyper violence to/on/by both sides (gangs against the state). It did not work – it just made things much worse. Mexico did the same in 2008. The “army” became involved. It’s worse now than any time in history, a full 12 years later! –more drugs, more deaths, more guns. Will anyone ever deal with the roots? The elephant in the burning, blood splashed room? Poverty & capitalism. Capitalism & poverty. & the War on Drugs – the stupidest most ineffective farcical monument to failure in the most abject of terms (there are more kinds of drugs, more quantities of drugs & more profits from drugs than ever before with greater equipped & ever more ferocious forces behind their cultivation, sale & distribution). These policies, approaches, strategies are simply apocalyptic & proof of their own herculean failure & utter inutility. The have to stop & stop now.
“- the gangs – they made an awfully good scapegoat. Who benefits? The drug dealer. The arms trafficker. The oligarch who cheats the tax system. In a society increasingly beset by secret iniquities, the gangs were the grimacing public face the rest could hide behind.”
An outstanding piece of work.
William Wheeler, 2020, Colombia Global Reports, 127 pages