Fear in San Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador – May 2011

A street in the city center seen from the Police patrol vehicle in San Salvador, El Salvador. During the last two decades, Central America has become the deadliest region in the world that is not at war. According to the UN statistics, more people per capita were killed in El Salvador than in Iraq, in recent years. Due to the criminal activities of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street Gang (M-18), the two major street gangs in El Salvador, the country has fallen into the spiral of fear, violence and death. Thousands of Mara gang members, both on the streets or in the overcrowded prisons, organize and run extortions, distribution of drugs and kidnappings. Tattooed armed young men, mainly from the poorest neighborhoods, fight unmerciful turf battles with their coevals from the rival gang, balancing between life and death every day. Twenty years after the devastating civil war, a social war has paralyzed the nation of El Salvador.

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