Mediating criminal violence: Lessons from the gang truce in El Salvador

In ‘Mediating criminal violence: Lessons from the gang truce in El Salvador’, CIC Senior Advisor and Fellow Teresa Whitfield, examines a controversial truce reached between rival gangs in El Salvador in March 2012 and its implications for mediation. The Salvadoran truce, and the arrival in Mexico of a government determined to address the country’s spiraling violence, have placed new emphasis on alternative methods of pacification across the region. Elsewhere, national and international actors are still struggling to come up with responses to post-conflict and criminal violence outside of, and mixed in with, ideologically driven conflicts. Whitfield highlights similarities but also differences in the challenges that criminal violence - as opposed to ideologically driven armed conflict – presents to mediators. Despite the complexity and moral hazard involved, she suggests that, in some circumstances, engagement may usefully complement law enforcement to reduce violence and suffering substantially. 

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Jul 09, 2013
Teresa Whitfield
Latin America