La Campanera, the former gang hotspot in El Salvador’s capital San Salvador has been brutally affected by gang violence in recent years.
Due to the incredibly high levels of violence and crime, most civilians were forced to abandon their homes to flee this danger. In the aftermath of this, these houses have been turned into effective trap houses, used for murders, rapes, drug production, materials, and housing for these gang members.
As part of a new social housing plan, El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele has begun reclaiming these gang houses and returning them back to civilians.
Since the government crackdown on gangs in the nation started happening about a year ago, over 65,000 arrests have been made, which has been crucial to the people of El Salvador returning to a life of safety and normality.
The positive effects of this crackdown have already begun to show in the nation as well. Children are returning to school and are playing in parks again, fast food delivery drivers have been delivering in areas that they previously would never be able to, and over all the people of El Salvador are getting back to regular life.
Though working, these intense anti-gang policies have not gone without their own controversy. Due to the level of intensity, the government is going after these gang members, often times people who have no connection to these gangs have been detained and held in poor conditions, even though they’ve done nothing wrong. Some say this is a necessary evil that unfortunately must occur due to how bad the situation has become in El Salvador, while others say the government should not be going so hard, or at least take the time to ensure the people being persecuted are actually guilty of a crime.
No matter which way people feel about this, numbers do not lie, and El Salvador’s murder rate has plummeted since Bukele took office when it was previously the nation with the highest murder rate in the world. How do you feel about this? Is the Bukele administration going too far to take down the gangs? Or is this hard-fisted approach exactly what El Salvador has been missing to return it to the nation it once was?