AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Dialogue between the government and gangs for peace and genuine reconciliation is still necessary

Monday, 16 January 2017 politics   violence  

San Salvador (Agenzia Fides) - "The country needs political consensus, this means dialogue", said yesterday the Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. Gregorio Rosa Chavez, in the usual Sunday press. "The spirit of peace must be retrieved tomorrow, because we signed the peace, but we do not live in peace, and even less reconciled" said the Bishop remembering the date of 16 January 1992, when at the presence of the UN Representative, the government and the FMLN guerrilla group signed a peace agreement to end the civil war which in 12 years caused more than 75,000 dead.
This anniversary, according to the Bishop, comes at "a time of deep crisis and great despair", in part due to the lack of political agreements: "We are without a State budget for this year, and there is great social violence".
Mgr. Gregorio Rosa Chavez informed that the Catholic Church is ready to support dialogue between the authorities and gangs, only if its participation is required and if there are favorable conditions of mutual trust and always in the context of established norms. During the press conference, he stressed the importance of genuine dialogue: "I believe that dialogue is necessary, it all depends on how it is done. Many times we have seen that there was an attempt of dialogue, but it was behind a position of force, claimed to see who was the strongest, the police or gangs. This scheme was also used during the war".
He then recalled that in an attempt to negotiations in 2012, His Exc. Mgr. Fabio Colindres had participated personally: "They asked him and he accepted". As reported then by Fides (see Fides 28/03/2012), Mgr. Colindres who was in touch with the leaders in prison of the two main armed gangs in the country, and had managed to reach a truce. The same Mgr. Colindres had nevertheless recognized even then that the pact was not a permanent solution to the problem of extreme violence that was bloodying El Salvador, a country of just over 6 million people, where in 2011 there were 4,354 murders, according to official data.
The hard work to support the ceasefire and create sincere dialogue lasted more than a year, even with the contribution of the Organization of American States (OAS) which in April 2013 signed a cooperation agreement with the government of El Salvador which was proposed to set up a mission of security assistance to support the social peace process, which he considered positive, the first achievement of the truce among the gangs (see Fides 10/04/2013). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 16/01/2017)