Photographer: JAVIER ARCENILLAS
Title: GangBorder
Location: El Salvador
Period: 07/2018 - 09/2018
Category: Spot News

Nestled between street borders and mired in permanent social oblivion, the Gangs impose their law on the streets of Central American cities with extreme violence.

The new programs such as "Yo Cambio" ( I Change) in the prisons of El Salvador intend to help many young people out of a complex and dangerous environment. This program of the Directorate of Criminal Centers of El Salvador offers since 2014 real opportunities for reintegration. El Salvador has the enormous problem of overcrowding and the bad conditions that prevail in prisons, being already denounced several times by the Human Rights Commission of the country.

In 2018, there were 38,724 inmates in Salvadoran prisons, whose capacity is 14,300, according to figures from the Directorate of Criminal Centers. The program began with the participation of 1,200 inmates considered to be of low danger. Through this work model, the Salvadoran government provides prisoners with teaching tools and knowledge to be able to reintegrate more easily through the granting of certain benefits covered by the law. It also contemplates the training of prisoners to be able to function in society by regaining their freedom, instructing them in how to prepare their curriculum or act in a job interview. Las Maras are created in the 80s in the US by Salvadoran immigrants escaping the war.

These young people form the groups of "Maras" with two main slopes the "Salvatrucha" MS 13 and 18. The word "Mara" comes from the marabuntas ants and the way they expand, invade and devour. The word Salvatrucha is formed by El Salvador and trout, which defines the subject who is cunning to escape from the police. Las Maras emerge as neighborhood protection organizations to prevent other gangs from taking over or controlling the area. The Mara is an identity reference for young people in neighborhoods whose future image is to live and die in defense of the territory.



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Gang members of the San Francisco Gotera jail received the program I change the Government of San Salvador to keep the most violent gang members occupied and without conflict

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Gang members in the streets drawing br of San Mart n The Savior

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Apanteos Penal Center in Santa Ana El Salvador br Inmates of the I change program in Sector 1 br Portrait of Gang members of the Mara MS

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Patrullaje y control policial antipandillas en San Mart n

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Prisoners playing a soccer game in the Chalatenango Jail within the Program Yo Cambio the place where they have prisoners of MS gang members

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Portrait of 31-year-old Oscar Enrique Gonzalez gang members of the Mara MS

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Soldier within the Santa Teresa Patrol Project in San Mart n El Salvador watching gang members and prepared for any action

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Gang members from the San Francisco Gotera jail received the program I change from the Government of San Salvador to keep the most violent gang members occupied and without conflict br From the cell a prisoner protests that he cannot receive food

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Assassination of a gang member of the Mara MS in the Tutunichapa neighborhood of the Guatemala neighborhood in San Salvador while working in a metal structures workshop The 27-year-old was shot in the back and chest from a moving car

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Portrait of an MS gang member Mara Salvatrucha who is waiting for a meal in a classroom Jail of Chalatenango place where gang members of the MS have prisoners

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Inmates of the MS gang practicing karate kata in one of the courtyards of the Chalatenango Jail

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Emilia Gonsalvez mourns the death of her daughter at the 16 year old Alicia Rivera Funeral in Usulutan Killed by gang members