El Salvador: The failure of the Territorial Control Plan and increased repression


 Days after his inauguration in June 2019, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele launched his “Territorial Control Plan,” with the stated objective of combating gang violence and strengthening state security. The plan increased the repressive capacity of the military and police in towns and cities that were designated to have the biggest criminal problems, while modernizing their armaments and surveillance equipment. Also, a lock-down and other restrictive measures were imposed on prison inmates.

Nevertheless, El Salvador is still going through a violent process in which gang groups are terrorizing the population. Despite the “security plans” with millions in investments, violence in the country continues as before. Truces between the government and these groups have not prevented the continued deaths of workers. —Editors

With more than 60 murders recorded in the month of March, the administration of Nayib Bukele is choosing to increase repression with reforms to the penal code and a state of exception that involves unjust detentions of workers who have no links to the gangs, despite the fact that his past plans have failed.

As PCT we want to analyze the situation and the need to take a stand against the measures imposed, which is why our following articles not only present a study of the situation but also the need to raise our voices against violence and repressive policies of the Salvadoran state.

We first analyze the character of the gangs and their social origin, the authoritarian legal measures imposed, the failure of the Territorial Control Plan, and the hypocrisy of the government that promotes a discourse of peace and happiness while making a truce with the gangs.

The gangs in El Salvador are the lumpenproletariat of the country in Marxist analysis, and specifically in our case they are a group of mostly young people without class consciousness, coming from poor families, easily manipulated and led by elites of economic or political power that use them when it suits them, deploying methods of extreme violence to keep the population terrorized.

Since the betrayal of the Salvadoran revolution, these groups have been a key pawn used to contain the freedom of movement and expression in the country. The atrocious acts they perpetuate are not something new, nor are they the result of the current government, but the Bukele regime promotes the idea that increasing repression can get rid of these gangs. However, the security plans they impose have not served any purpose, because they exist not to end the violence, but rather to sustain a repressive state and prepare against any rebellion of the people.

Another one of the plans used (under the table) is the truce that the previous and current governments have maintained, giving privileges and benefits to the ringleaders for as long as they need them, a truce whose cost ends up being paid by the working class with their very lives, suffering murders, disappearances, robberies and extortions on a daily basis.

Violence increases, and it is the perfect excuse for a Salvadoran capitalist state that has always tortured, captured, and repressed the working people without measure. An example of this ongoing repression is that now the towns of El Salvador are beset by military patrols, in tanks purchased from an Israeli company, with drones and weapons that can be used by remote control.

Taking advantage of the recent and unpleasant incidents, which the working class has paid for in blood, the government of Nayib Bukele together with his servile parliament have approved a 30-day decree suspending the freedoms of demonstration, expression, and due process at the time of an arrest, as well as allowing for wiretapping of phones, beyond existing laws approving legal espionage. These stipulations are included in Articles 7, 12, 13, and 24.

This suspension of rights is possible thanks to Article 29 of the constitution, where it stipulates that a state of emergency can be imposed in cases of war, rebellion, or public disorder.

Now the working class is not only in fear of being the victim of gang violence but also of being repressed by the state, denying them the most basic rights.

Photos: (Top) President Nayib Bukele. (Insert) Prisoners are stripped and lined up on the floor in an act of humiliation.

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