Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Barely Legal System


There are a lot of really crazy things happening in El Salvador right now. One fairly majorish item is that there appear to be sweeping disagreements between the FMLN leadership, and the FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes. A number of times, Funes has appeared to be in conflict with the ideology of his own party; while Funes squarely disagrees with both of these plans, the FMLN has reiterated their support for war crimes trials, and changing from the dollar back to the Colon, the old Salvadoran currency. I leave the analysis of these utterly disasterous ideas to the pundits. This news is out in the open, for all to see and comment on. I like to focus on everyday life here, things that are not entirely obvious or available to the casual reader. Like the legal system.

Pic1: This group of youngsters, all MS18 gang members, murdered some people and did some other not really nice things. Here, one of the gangsters, who has misspelled "gangster" in the tattoo on his head, is getting ready to be set free because of a technicality in the trial proceedings. Something about a witness disappearing or some silly thing like that.


Pic2: This is the alleged leader of 28 gang cliques in San Salvador, captured in a night raid. He claimed to not be involved in gang life, and only a humble seller of frijoles and wheat. We all had a good laugh at that one. The scary thing is that he was very well spoken, and with his shirt on, like most gangsters here, looked exactly like everyone else, and not someone responsible for ordering scores of assassinations, mutilations, extortion, rapes, and kidnappings.

Pic3: Further along our trek today of the legal system, this is in the women's prison in Ilopango. Here we are in the maternity ward, where, right now, about 18 women with newborn babies live, like Kevin-Marjorie (that's her name) and her son Alfredo. There are a number of children living in the prison, and by "a number", I mean there are kids all over the place; in past visits, I thought they were only visiting, but I was wrong, they actually live there with their mothers. They have full access to the entire prison while with their mothers, and live there full time. This is a relatively new program for the prison system here. I'm not sure about the effects of growing up in a women's prison, or how it would compare to the children growing up in an orphanage under state care.

Pic4: this is a woman in the prison communicating down a hallway using a mirror.

1 comment:

Marcin luczkowski said...

Hi Jesus

I am more and more fascinated by hidden El Salvador. Excellent very important works.
I think I should visit San Salvador someday.
Best

Marcin