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HomeLatin AmericaArgentinaFrom Argentina to El Salvador: The Dramatic Hunt for a Gang-Free Future

From Argentina to El Salvador: The Dramatic Hunt for a Gang-Free Future

The Minister of Security of Argentina, Patricia Bullrich, began a four-day visit to El Salvador this Sunday to learn about the “method” applied by President Nayib Bukele to combat gangs.

“Together against the criminals who mass-murder and believed they owned our countries and societies,” Bullrich stated on the social network X after visiting the Terrorism Confinement Center (Cecot), the mega-prison symbolizing the fight against gangs in El Salvador.

Bullrich toured the mega-prison, inaugurated in 2022 with a capacity for 40,000 inmates, along with El Salvador’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Gustavo Villatoro, who “welcomed” her to the “safest country in Latin America.”

“It is a real pleasure to welcome you to El Salvador. I am sure that this visit from Argentina will be enriching, and you and your team will be able to learn firsthand about the ‘Bukele Model’,” the minister said on X.

The Argentine government, in a statement about the tour, noted that Bullrich is “interested in the entire structure that drastically reduced crime in El Salvador,” which “until not long ago was a country dominated by gang violence.”

During her stay in the Central American nation, President Javier Milei’s minister will meet with Bukele and other high-ranking security, defense, and intelligence officials.

Bukele, in power since 2019, has been waging a “war” against gangs under a state of emergency in place since 2022 that allows for arrests without a court order.

According to official figures, as of February this year, 12,500 gang members from the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 were imprisoned in the mega-prison under this regime, which has been criticized by human rights organizations for the detention of “innocents who suffer” in prison.

The state of emergency, under which more than 80,000 alleged gang members have been detained, was decreed by Congress at Bukele’s request in response to a surge of violence that claimed the lives of 87 people between March 25 and 27, 2022.

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