El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street

KENGMar 04, 2023 at 15:45

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When you are living in a safe, peaceful place, it can be scary to suddenly have conflicts that affect each other. However, for the people of El Salvador, this happens "as usual" and people gradually get used to it and gradually learn to "live with the flood".

Since 1980, this Central American country has suffered from a brutal civil war that has lasted for decades. The brutal war exposes many El Salvadorans, especially children, to terrible v.iolence. At that time, many El Salvadorans had no other way, so they had to find a way to escape to America. In particular, the city of Los Angeles is considered a stopover for many El Salvadoran teenagers. Together they unite to protect themselves against the threat of gangs in this city.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 1

After the Civil War ended in 1992, US immigration policies tightened even more. Migrants convicted of crimes are deported to El Salvador. It was also when a gang culture "emerged" in this small country, undermining the country's fragile and struggling foundations. To the point where, blackmail and harming people became a daily thing.

Living in fear, on high alert

According to data from InSight Crime, El Salvador's homicide rate skyrocketed in 2015-2016, with more than 100 deaths per 100,000 residents, far higher than in volatile countries like Honduras and Venezuela. Both countries have a record of 59 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 2

According to data collected by The Guardian reporter: "There are at least 60,000 active gang members. Mainly belonging to the gangs of Mara Salvatrucha 13 (referred to as MS-13) and Barrio 18 (referred to as La for short) 18). That number exceeds the number of Salvadoran state officers, including police, paramilitary forces and army (only 52,000 people)."

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 3

As mentioned above, the origins of the gangs can be traced back to El Salvadorans who fled to the US, especially teenagers in the city of Los Angeles. MS-13's network of members are prisoners who have served prison time for violent crimes. Meanwhile, La 18 was founded as the first multiracial gang in the city and is now a predominantly Central American gang, with between 30,000 and 50,000 members in the US.

Through manipulation, extortion and coercion, the gangs continued to grow in number and influence, taking control of El Salvador.

For now, El Salvador is a "paralyzed" country. Territorial conflicts between gangs have divided families, making travel impossible.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 4

In this country, going missing is commonplace and reporting to the police is discouraged. If the b.ody is found, the burial will be held as quickly as possible and the funeral will be conducted quietly.

The police are always on high alert and they even have to wear face coverings to protect their identities. But attacks on police are still frequent.

This breakdown of trust has created confusion and also helps explain why for many El Salvadorans the only option is to migrate, often north to Mexico and the United States.

It's hard for foreigners who don't live in El Salvador to imagine how disintegrating social norms have been. In many residential areas, people can't even cross the street just because it's under the control of various gangs.

When entering a neighborhood, visitors often have to flash lights or pull down windows to show "loyalty" to the gang that controls that area or to signal fear of v.iolence.

The 2 biggest gangs in El Salvador, MS-13 and La-18, operate in a decentralized manner. They m.ake m.oney through custodial activities. Prices range from $2 to $3 for small businesses and $5 to $20 for mid-sized businesses and distributors.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 5

Through protection activities combined with extortion of all domestic businesses, the gangs collected a large amount of m.oney, estimated at 31.2 million USD with MS-13 alone.

According to a report from the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador (BCR), the amount of m.oney spent on gangs (through extortion or hiring private security services) amounts to 4 billion USD per year, accounting for about 15%. GDP of the whole El Salvador.

Hope to change

Hope came to the people of El Salvador when Nayib Bukele assumed the presidency in 2019. Mr. Nayib outlined a long-term plan to eliminate the gangs in El Salvador within three to four years.

In June 2019, Mr Nayib launched a $31m (£24m) territorial control plan to boost the police and military presence, drive out gangs and make weaken their control over territories across the country.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 6

Two months later, Salvadoran police reported more than 5,000 arrests nationwide. The plan also involves declaring a state of emergency in El Salvador's prison system, sealing off 28 prisons by banning visitors from outside, locking prisoners in cells, and blocking all communications. in prison with the outside world.

Mr. Nayib has also established a new anti-corruption agency, called the Cuscatlan Plan. He points out that economic growth is one solution to the rising poverty and unemployment that lead to migration. The president has been successful in securing committed development funds from both the United States and Mexico.

The first 7 months of 2019 were the least violent months in 15 years (excluding 2013 and the 2012 armistice).

Concerned about the organization of Miss Universe 2023

At the final night of Miss Universe 2022, the organizers played a video recording the speech of the President of El Salvador - Mr. Nayib Bukele when announcing that Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 7

President Nayib Bukele introduced the country: "I am honored to announce that El Salvador is the official host country of the next Miss Universe pageant later this year. El Salvador is a country filled with beauty. beautiful, we have the best surf beaches in the world, magnificent volcanoes, great coffee and now we are the safest country in Latin America."

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 8

Mr. Nayib Bukele also did not forget to thank the Miss Universe organization: "I am honored that El Salvador is the official host country of the Miss Universe 2023 contest. Thank you Miss Universe for joining us. In this historical process and El Salvador is changing, we want you to come and see for yourself. See you soon."

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 9

It is known that on February 24, the President of El Salvador ordered the transfer of about 2,000 gang inmates to the larger prison with the largest capacity in the Americas with a capacity of 40,000 people, to accommodate the number of prisoners. growing patient and prepare for treatment. Ensure safety for the preparation process for Miss Universe 2023 contest later this year.

El Salvador - The place to host Miss Universe 2023: The most dangerous in the world, people do not dare to cross the street - Photo 10

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