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El Salvador Setting New Murder Record

A gang member showing off his tattoos
A gang member showing off his tattoos

SAN SALVADOR — Crime-ridden El Salvador is having a particularly bloody year. Facing the power of the "Mara" street gangs, the Central American country has already counted a "record" 4,427 homicides from January to Sept. 8, the country's Institute of Legal Medicine, or state coroners, has reported.

The figure was expected to top 5,000 by the end of 2015, though it already exceeded the total murders of each of the past six years, leading online newspaper elsalvador.com reports. Before 2015, the recent years with most murders were 2009, with a total of 4,382 criminal killings, and 2011, with 4,371.

The country saw its daily murder rate fall from double digits to below 10 a day for most of 2012-13, after public personalities helped negotiate a precarious truce between the two main gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and M-18.

Killings, whose victims are presumed to be mostly gang members, shot back up as the truce gradually broke down in 2013. In August, the average number of people killed every day nationwide was about 29, another local daily El Mundo reported, citing the Institute of Legal Medicine.

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Ideas

A Writer's Advice For How To Read The Words Of Politics

Colombia's reformist president has promised to tackle endemic violence, economic exclusion, pollution and corruption in the country. So what's new with a politician's promises?

Image of Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaking during a press conference in Buenos Aires on Jan 14, 2023

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, speaks during a press conference in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 24, 2023.

Manuel Cortina/ZUMA
Héctor Abad Faciolince

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — Don't concentrate on his words, I was once advised, but look at what he's doing. I heard the words so long ago I cannot recall who said them. The point is, what's the use of a husband who vows never to beat his wife in January and leaves her with a bruised face in February?

Words are a strange thing, and in literal terms, we must distrust their meaning. As I never hit anyone, I have never declared that I wouldn't. It never occurred to me to say it. Strangely, there is more power and truth in a simple declaration like "I love her" than in the more emphatic "I love her so much." A verbal addition here just shrinks the "sense" of love.

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