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LATIN AMERICA | 19-06-2024 16:59

El Salvador and Argentina to ‘strengthen’ war on organised crime

Governments ink agreement on security operation as Security Minister Patricia Bullrich meets with Nayib Bukele in El Salvador.

Argentina and El Salvador have signed an agreement to “strengthen” the war on organised crime, both governments have announced.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich inked an accord with her Salvadorean counterpart Gustavo Villatoro, during a visit to the Central American nation. 

“Following the guidelines of the heads of state of El Salvador and Argentina, our President @nayibbukele and President @JMilei, we have signed with minister @PatoBullrich a working agreement between our countries, with the firm commitment of strengthening the war on organised crime," said Villatoro in a post on the X social network.

A joint press release issued by the two governments said that “spaces will be created for the specialised assessment to design strategies and develop innovative tools which help effectively fight criminal groups.”

Bullrich began a four-day visit to El Salvador last Sunday, during which she studied the security policies applied by President Nayib Bukele to neutralise violent gangs and restore calm to the country.

“We have shared with the retinue of the Security Ministry in Argentina the tools and actions we have implemented while developing the Territorial Control Plan, the successful security strategy which has left unprecedented results in our country,” said Villatoro.

On Sunday, Bullrich toured a mega prison opened in 2022 with a capacity for 40,000 inmates, and on Tuesday, Bukele welcomed her at government house.

“We are very impressed with the whole process, we are taking very complete information,” Bullrich told the Salvadoran head of state.

“People used to hear nothing but death and destruction about El Salvador, the gang problem and their territorial dominion. Ever since Nayib Bukele became President, that has changed in a very impressive way,” said the minister.

“It went from being one of the most dangerous countries to one of the safest in the world,” she added.

In power since 2019, Bukele is waging a “war” against gangs under a state of emergency, effective since 2022, which has led to the arrest of over 80,000 alleged gang members.

The state of emergency, which allows arrests without a warrant, was decreed by Congress at Bukele’s request in response to an escalation of violence which claimed 87 lives over a three-day period in March 2022.

President Javier Milei has been a vocal supporter of Bukele’s clampdown and this week invited the El Salvador leader to visit Argentina.

“You’re invited to visit us whenever you like and we will welcome you with open arms! Long live liberty, damn it!” wrote the head of state in a post on X.

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA
 

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