by Sarah Kinosian, Angelika Albaladejo and Lisa Haugaard on September 15, 2016
The Center for International Policy (CIP) and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) traveled to El Salvador in late 2015 to report on the state of security and human rights in what has become the most violent country in the world outside of a war zone.
We documented our findings and published them in a series, El Salvador’s Violence: No Easy Way Out in February 2016. The aim was to offer a nuanced explanation of the factors driving Salvadorans to flee their country by the thousands, and offer insights into how U.S. policy could help.
What we found was a bleak and very bloody situation. Gangs, government forces, and other actors were locked in a violent conflict. Although the Salvadoran government developed a plan, El Salvador Seguro, to address the violence in a balanced manner, only the hardline “mano dura” measures were rolled out, and some government forces were carrying out extrajudicial executions and abuse with impunity. Politics were extremely polarized.
Seven months later, much of this is still true…