2013 Photo Contest, Daily Life, Stories, 3rd prize

El Salvador Gangs

Photographer

Tomás Munita

for The New York Times

14 August, 2012

Large-scale gang warfare has made El Salvador one of the most violent countries in the Americas. But on 9 March, leaders of the country’s two most powerful gangs agreed a truce, saying that the situation was getting out of hand, especially when it came to youth in their own communities.

About

Tomás Munita

He has won several awards, including 4 World Press Photo awards, Leica’s Oskar Barnack, Visa D’or Daily News, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, All Rodas, Henri Nannen, 2nd Photographer of...

Background story

San Salvador, El Salvador

Anti-gang police conduct a raid in San Salvador.

 

Large-scale gang warfare has made El Salvador one of the most violent countries in the Americas. But on 9 March, leaders of the country’s two most powerful gangs agreed a truce, saying that the situation was getting out of hand, especially when it came to youth in their own communities.

The leaders of Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha-13 pledged to put a brake on violence and to stop recruiting adolescent members. The government agreed to transfer 30 prisoners held in maximum-security jails to less restrictive institutions.

The truce appeared to have some success. Homicides in the first part of the year were down 32 percent, and kidnappings dropped by half. On 14 April, El Salvador recorded its first day in three years without a murder.

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/180 sec
Focal length
35 mm
F-Stop
4.5
ISO
800
Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

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