Defense Minister Declares Gangs’ Inability to Reorganize during President Bukele’s Four-Year Term.

In the four years of President Bukele’s government, the Minister of Defense, René Francis Merino Monroy, announced that the gangs have lost their ability to reorganize. He attributed this accomplishment to the gradual implementation of the Territorial Control Plan, which has allowed the government to gain full control. The exceptional measures imposed on March 27, 2023, have transformed the way gang activity is fought, according to Minister Merino Monroy.

The Security Cordons and the offensive to capture remaining gang members are key security strategies employed in the Territorial Control Plan. These tactics have weakened the terrorist structures and hindered their ability to reorganize, stated Defense Minister René Francis Merino Monroy.

The minister explained that the Security Cordons combine intelligence mechanisms from the National Civil Police (PNC) with prompt reactions from the Armed Forces.

As the gang members feel cornered, they are forced to relocate to other areas to evade law enforcement’s controls. It is precisely at this moment that the military takes action to apprehend them and hand them over to the police, initiating the respective criminal proceedings by the Attorney General’s Office.

Merino Monroy highlighted that the recent offensive against the gangs has successfully removed a significant number of remaining gang members from circulation. This offensive, according to him, is the primary objective of the ongoing operation.

Regarding the Security Cordons, which President Nayib Bukele ordered to be implemented since November 23 of last year, the security forces have achieved the established goals.

In Comasagua, the clicas (gang factions) of the Libertad Program, who were involved in various criminal activities ranging from extortion to homicide, were dismantled.

Subsequently, this measure was extended to Soyapango, where more than 3,000 active gang members causing harm to the population and posing a risk of reorganization were apprehended.

The Security Cordons carried out in December in the communities of Tutunichapa and La Granjita dealt a significant blow to the gangs’ finances. Narcotrafficking has been one of the key sources for these terrorist groups to operate and acquire weapons and engage in other illicit activities.

The most recent Security Cordon was implemented on May 17 in the municipality of Nueva Concepción, Chalatenango department, following the murder of a police officer.

The success of these security strategies reinforces the government’s commitment to combat gang-related criminal activities and protect the citizens. With the gradual implementation of the Territorial Control Plan, the government aims to further weaken the gangs and ensure a safer environment for the people of El Salvador.