Saturday, September 01, 2012

Attempts for Peace between Two El Salvador Gangs

A global social problem I will be addressing is gang activity. According to the “New York Times” article, “Gangs’ Truce Buys El Salvador a Tenuous Peace”, some massive attempts are being made to gain peace between two of the most violent street gangs in the world. The gangs evolved out of Los Angeles. Top leaders of the Mara Salvtrucha and Barrio 18 met to discuss a calling of truce between their gangs. The gangs even had a moment of silence at the prison to honor the thousands of people that had lost their lives due to their actions.  The prison agency made an agreement with the gangs to move 30 of their leaders to a less constrained environment to support the gang’s choice to call it truce. The leaders made a pact to put an end to the killings with a handshake. Carlos Tiberio Valladares, one of the leaders says, “No one is going to tell you they want their kids to continue on this path.” El Salvador’s army of gangs consist of 30,000 to 50,000 members and are powerfully armed which creates tremendous security issues. The article insinuates that some people say that the deal with the gangs was a pact with the devil for the public good.  Out of six million people, homicides  are down by 32% in the 1st half of 2012, kidnappings decreased 50%, and extortion 10%, as stated by the Salvadoran security ministry. One gang member stated that now the government needs to incorporate affirmative action laws to support gang members that want to quit and need jobs. The article stressed that some gang members that are trying to get out have been killed. Ludwig Rivera,  a leader of Barrio 18 gang stated that without government support to provide rehabilitation programs and a different view from the public of their gangs members then this will make the truce weak.
This plan to restore peace between these two gangs does not seem like a very well thought out plan. They have members that want to get a legal job and haven’t thought in advance of how they can meet those needs in order to deter these gang members from going back to the gang life. A plan to providing job training, education, and willing employers to give these gang members a second chance at living an ethical life should have been implemented before the attempt.  
The gang member that stated, “No one is going to tell you they want their kids to continue on this path.”, is a very powerful statement. The influence these gangs have on children now and for future generations have a influential impact on global peace.
Youth seem to associate their actions as “Gangsta” through hand signals, the clothes they wear, and use of the word “gangsta” as if acting and dressing in a gangsta fashion makes them cool. Some kids look up to gangster images as if it is a role model look and way to act. Our kids are now being subjected to  wearing uniforms at a lot of schools due to certain colors of clothes that are believed to being affiliated with a gang. Such as the colors red for the Bloods and blue for the Crips, as well as yellow and black for the Latin Kings. There are even TV shows about Gangs and rap songs that throw in rhymes about violence and gang affiliation. Glorifying street knowledge and thug life. Gang members even get tear drop tattoos by their eye which is supposed to mean that the person has killed someone. Violent acts by gangs are having to be endured by our societies.  Gangsters are not the kind of role models we want our children.
The gangs discussed in this article will not be able to change the values they believe in without the support of society. Government support rehabilitation, education, and vocational programs could show these members that there is another way of life without violence and show youth other alternatives than joining gangs.

Archibold, Randall C. "Gangs' Truce Buys El Salvador a Tenuous Peace." The New York Times 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 1 Sept. 2012. <>.

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