Exclusive Interview With The Salvadoran Defense Minister Gen. David Munguía Payés

first_imgBy Dialogo July 28, 2010 For the first time in El Salvador, criminals burned a bus with passengers inside. The crime, which took place on 20 June and left seventeen people dead, including a baby girl a few months old, horrified the country and created political pressure for the implementation of new anti-gang measures in the Central American nation. Among these measures is the use of the armed forces in support of the fight against groups like the Mara 18 gang, accused of responsibility for the bus attack, and others. The Salvadoran Defense Minister granted Diálogo the following exclusive interview, minutes after addressing the Sub-Regional Conference for Mesoamerica, held 20-23 July in San Salvador and organized by the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS), in order to discuss this and other topics. Diálogo – What is the role of the armed forces today in El Salvador? Gen. Munguía – The tasks that we’re going to carry out in providing support to the National Civil Police (PNC) have been defined. There’s an executive order (No. 70) in which the president orders the armed forces to support the PNC, but limits our actions, that is to say, we don’t have all the functions of police. We have a mandate to set up checkpoints, search vehicles, search people, and arrest individuals caught red-handed. Diálogo – What happens when individuals are arrested by armed forces personnel? Gen. Munguía – If we arrest someone, we immediately turn that person over to the PNC. In addition to that, we’ve established a joint command with the PNC where all activities are coordinated, so that, if there’s a problem, it can be solved right there, at the joint command. Diálogo – How is the fulfillment of this task being approached? Gen. Munguía – We’ve formed eight task forces of 350 men each, with their respective officers. The mission we have is to occupy the twenty-nine areas with the highest crime rates in the country. We’re operating in these areas, and our presence is a permanent one. Diálogo – Is this a preventive measure? Gen. Munguía – Up to now, it’s all preventive. There’s a proposal to reform the law to criminalize being part of a gang, and that’s also going to give us the opportunity to arrest gang members. Diálogo – So, currently, being part of a gang is not considered a crime? Gen. Munguía – At the moment, the fact of belonging to a gang is not considered a crime. The principle of the presumption of innocence prevails, that is to say, although we know some of them are criminals, and people point them out to us as criminals, we can’t do anything. It’s very difficult to prove the crimes. We can only arrest them if we catch them red-handed. Right now, we can’t arrest them on allegations that they commit crimes. Diálogo – But isn’t it true that in order to be part of a gang, the future member is supposed to commit a crime? Gen. Munguía – It’s true. In reality, today, they demand that the person commit at least one homicide. There are cases of gangs that demand up to six homicides. Therefore, it can be presumed that if a person belongs to a gang, it’s because he’s already committed at least one homicide, but they can’t be arrested on the basis of this presumption, nor can you start an investigation or legal proceedings. It’s necessary to wait for them to commit other crimes and for us to catch them in the act. Nevertheless, there’s a new law proposed by the President of the Republic that will allow us to arrest them for belonging to a gang. Diálogo – What was the participation of the armed forces in the case of the bus that was burned? Gen. Munguía – Unfortunately, we didn’t participate directly in that investigation. Nevertheless, we already knew that this gang existed in the municipality where they committed the crime, but we couldn’t arrest them until they committed a crime. However, we helped the National Police to solve the problem, because we advised them that there was this gang in this area, and they focused their investigation in that direction. Diálogo – Do you consider gangs to be the main security problem in El Salvador at present? Gen. Munguía – Yes. We can’t overlook the fact that there are others, like organized crime, drug trafficking, and white-collar crime, which can also be behind these gangs. The chief problem arises from the combination of gangs with drug trafficking. This is what is causing the violence that we’re seeing in the streets and this large number of homicides that are being committed in the country. When the armed forces started to support the National Civil Police (PNC) more consistently – in November 2009 – the crime rate was between 14 and 15 homicides a day. With the work that we’ve been doing, we’ve succeeded first of all in containing the upward trend of this vicious cycle, and then with the most recent missions that the President of the Republic has assigned us, such as taking control of a significant portion of the prisons, we’ve succeeded, together with the police, in getting down to 9 homicides a day for the month of June 2010. Diálogo – Can you say a bit more about the intervention of the armed forces in the prisons? Gen. Munguía – The police had data indicating that more than 80 percent of extortions were ordered from inside the prisons. Today there’s been a significant drop in extortions in the country due to the action and support of the armed forces, just to cite one example. Diálogo – What is your opinion on putting prisons in isolated locations, like Alcatraz was in the United States? Gen. Munguía – It would be a good thing, but it’s necessary to distinguish between what we would like to do and reality. Building a normal prison costs the country around thirty million dollars. Building a high-security prison and putting it on an island might cost us three or four times more. The reality is that the country is not currently in a position to spend that much money on building those kinds of prisons. There are cheaper alternatives, like building prisons using modular containers and surrounding them with a security perimeter to hold trusted prisoners or those who are about to complete their sentences, older adults or individuals with very serious illnesses. I believe that this could be a temporary solution to the problem. Diálogo – Aren’t cell phone blockers in prisons another solution to be implemented? Gen. Munguía – Technology is one solution, but it can’t be the only solution, because no technological tool is 100 percent secure. First, because the technology isn’t finished yet, and second, because in the end, these technological devices have to be operated by human beings. This is another large problem that we have in the prisons, that is to say, there’s quite a bit of corruption there. For example, the United States gave us some scanning chairs that detect whether someone going into a prison is carrying something illicit. It’s a good technology, but it’s been observed that several times, the person who was administering these chairs disconnected them at the time they were being used. We know that it’s from inside the prisons and by means of cell phone calls that crimes are being ordered on the outside, and the government is making efforts to prevent this, even using cell phone blockers, but it’s something that’s complicated to fight. Diálogo – Is there an exchange of police and military intelligence across the whole region? Gen. Munguía – Yes, but it’s still very elementary and deficient. During the last meeting of the Central American Integration System (July 2010), this was one of topics discussed. Commitments have been made and coordination has been done precisely in order to handle the transfer of information and intelligence more effectively and more rapidly, so that we can be more effective in the fight against crime, with even the participation of Mexico and Colombia. Diálogo – How can problems related to human rights be avoided? Gen. Munguía – The first thing that we did was to train our personnel on the subject of human rights, before starting to carry out these missions. We set up teams with the organizations that defend human rights and with other specialized organizations in order for them to give classes in this area to our officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted personnel. We also have strict supervision in the fulfillment of our missions. Up to now, there have not been any serious accusations related to human-rights violations. Diálogo – And with regard to juvenile delinquents? What is the government doing to prevent them from joining gangs, and what should be done with those who are already part of gangs? Gen. Munguía – First, it’s necessary to control the areas in order to prevent the criminals from dominating an area, so that after that, the government can come into these locations with its social programs. The vast majority of these social programs are directed toward helping at-risk youth so that they don’t turn to gangs. There are also rehabilitation and reinsertion plans for those who want to leave a gang. Now, since the laws on juvenile crime are very protective of minors, the gangs use children to commit crimes. In the country currently, 90 percent of crimes are committed by gang members, and of these, around 60 percent are committed by children. Our society is even debating the possibility of lowering the minimum age for treating a child who has committed a crime as an adult.last_img read more

Nuno proud of ‘special’ Wolves squad ahead of UEL quarter-final

first_img Read Also: Abramovich to boost Chelsea’s transfer plans with £200m funds But the determined boss added on his group ahead of the big game in Duisburg: “We’ve been able to take care of each other really well, with the help of all the medical staff. “The respect we have for each other is huge. It can never stop.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Nuno Espirito Santo has applauded his ‘special’ Wolves squad members as they look to pick up a monumental victory over Sevilla on Tuesday night. Having started out in the Europa League more than a year ago, they are aiming to beat the decorated Spanish outfit in the quarter-finals in Germany. And Nuno said on his players’ efforts to get to this point: “They’re resilient, strong characters. “They know that football has both good moments and bad moments, and it is about how you react to them. “It’s about how you deal with your daily tasks, and there hasn’t been a day where our players haven’t been committed to improving and becoming better. “This is the special factor about this group. It is a special group of players, no doubt about it.”Advertisement Nuno will be without Jonny Castro Otto because of injury and Daniel Podence due to suspension. Promoted ContentBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way6 Most Breathtaking Bridges In The WorldBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Non-Obvious Things That Damage Your PhoneWhat Are The Most Delicious Foods Out There?The 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The World2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This YearTop 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All Time7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterPlaying Games For Hours Can Do This To Your Body7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The Universe Loading… last_img read more

Notice any student artwork around town?

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisMore than a thousand student artwork pieces will be featured in 50 Alpena and Ossineke businesses for Art Around Town between now and Sunday, May 20th.Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/WBKBTV/ Twitter | https://twitter.com/WBKB11 Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/wbkbtv/AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious ‘Flights of Imagination’ gets vandalized, againNext Besser Elementary Students Release Salmon into the Wildlast_img read more

Gregg Popovich ’embarrassed as a white person’ to watch ‘lynching’ of George Floyd

first_imgMORE: Popovich rips ‘deranged idiot’ Donald Trump, other politiciansFloyd, a 46-year-old black man, died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired.”In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this recent tragedy, I think, was the look on (Chauvin’s) face,” Popovich said. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday-going-about-his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson — and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.” “It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoices pic.twitter.com/uTyOIzGnTg— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2020Popovich said it’s time for white people to help lead a change after “black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years.” “The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience and effort of black people,” he said. “The history of our nation from the very beginning in many ways was a lie, and we continue to this day, mostly black and brown people, to try to make that lie a truth so that it is no longer a lie. And those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color, just like we enjoy them.”So it’s got to be us, in my opinion, that speak truth to power, and call it out, no matter what the consequences. We have to speak. We have to not let anything go.” When Spurs coach Gregg Popovich watched George Floyd’s death on video, it reminded him of what he’d seen in history books. He didn’t expect to see it in 2020.”I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen,” Popovich said in a video on the Spurs’ Twitter account. “To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees, and you are amazed. But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.”last_img read more