InSight Crime’s Juan José Martínez d’Aubuisson and Carlos Martínez found Videos Show FMLN Leaders Offering El Salvador Gangs $10 Mn in Micro-credit, apparently violating an anti-gang law that the FMLN promoted and helped pass six years ago.
The two Barrio 18 factions involved are Barrio 18 Revolucionarios and Barrio 18 Sureños, (emphasis added)
The two videos — obtained by Factum, El Faro and InSight Crime — show members of the ruling Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional – FMLN) party — which has controlled El Salvador’s government since 2009 — meeting with leaders of the MS13 and the two factions of the Barrio 18 gang, and pledging to provide millions of dollars in aid to the gang members.
The videos, which were taken surreptitiously, clearly show the faces of current Interior Minister Aristides Valencia and former Congressman Benito Lara, who was later security minister between June 2014 and January 2016, and has since become a presidential adviser on security- and gang-related matters.
The emergence of the videos comes just months after El Faro revealed an audio recording in which Valencia discussed with gangs a secret electoral pact for the second round of the 2014 presidential elections. The former FMLN guerrilla commander turned politician Salvador Sánchez Cerén won that election by a narrow margin.
At one point in the video, a gang leader reads a document, which appears to be outlining the plan Valencia refers to. The document states that the micro-credit fund would be used by the gangs to create companies, and that the responsible body to decide who would lend money would be a “credit committee.”
Valencia then explains that the gang members would be the actual committee
Read the full report here.
Now that the FARC is seeking to position itself as a political institution, will other criminal groups use that as a template in their respective countries?