Sociales Violence and Citizen Security

Publicado en 20/05/2014 | por Equipo de Ciencias Sociales


Violence and Citizen Security

By: Roberto Carbajal Social Sciences Faculty.


Violence has negatively impacted the population’s quality of life, deteriorating the social fabric and incurring high human and economic costs.

Other inform published by Social Watch  Poverty, increasing inequality and a culture of violence are threatening the human security of the Salvadorean people. The acts and omissions of the Government, far from protecting people in the current critical situation, have deepened their insecurity. Actions taken by civil society are still fragmented, and have not managed to revert government inefficiency.

Obstacles to human security

Human security means respect for every human right, including access to food, health care, education and basic services, a healthy environment, and guarantees against violence and discrimination. However, there are a series of obstacles that prevent a large part of the population from enjoying this security. In fact , social human security implies this aspect but in our country the rate of violence , the social inequality cut off a better development.

Violence is a social phenomenon since the civil war . Implementation weaknesses, purposeful negligence and global economic phenomena all contribute to a very different picture than was envisioned in 1992. Presently, the level of violence in El Salvador surpasses civil war levels and is among the world’s highest. In 2010, 4000 homicides were counted. Violence ensues with an abundant supply of armaments left over from the war, many stolen from government caches and sold, plus the continuation of arms trafficking along the supply routes established during the war. The 2002 Small Arms Survey documented that in El Salvador there were an estimated 400,000 firearms in civilian hands, of which only 170,000, or 42.5 per cent were registered (Cruz and Beltrán, 2000). Ownership of grenades was already particularly high in El Salvador and military assault rifles spread throughout society. Grenades are now a multi-purpose armament used to hold up buses and commit robberies. “US sources indicate that commercial retail sales of firearms and illegal black-market sales have surpassed government-to-government deals in terms of quantity and value” (Small Arms Survey 2002).

Despite the creation of a national police force, part of the responsibility for continued state-sponsored violence lies with the post conflict government. Two tenants of the Peace Accords were severely undermined soon after the new administration took its seat. The Treasury Police and the National Guard were ordered to be abolished. However, they were “instead transformed by the government into Military Police and Frontier Guards, respectively” (Godnick, Laurance 2000).

After declaring gang membership illegal, San Salvador used military and police forces to round up thousands of youths based on their appearance, prominent tattoos, associations, or addresses. Although most of these arrests have not held up in the courts, the rough tactics have stigmatized many poor communities, increased resentment of the military and police, and may have accelerated gang recruitment, according to academic studies (Dudley, 2011) and eye witness reports available on the Internet”(Embracing Crisis, 2011). Although police training involves community policing techniques, during operations many of police seem to resort to military style and hierarchical attitudes about power. A corrupt promotion system has sabotaged the true transformation of military and police forces.

The disarmament program in 1992 was valiant and innovative, however, both sides dodged significant levels of disarmament, turning in their broken or less valuable arms and keeping the best. The police and military turned in their arms to the same institution that had armed them to begin with, not unexpectedly, these arms were returned to ‘their rightful owners.’ Depositories were not well secured. Paramilitaries did not disarm and maintained their secretive identities. Both the government soldiers and the opposition forces (FMLN) had been proficient in arms smuggling and that did not halt. The new government, that was essentially the same as the pre civil war government, continued to receive generous military assistance from the United States, flooding the country with new high military grade weapons.

Data on the availability of weapons shows that although the action of disarmament may have happened, the commitment to living in a disarmed society did not. After many collection efforts, including a “Goods for Guns” exchange, a large percentage of arms were collected, but more were bought through legal channels soon thereafter. (Godnik, Laurance 2000)

Nor are the arms concentrated in any particular city or region which makes the entire country somewhat of a no man’s land. Ironically, during the war it was easier to understand the violence since armed actions were connected to the goals of taking political and military control of particular regions. Agricultural, union and civic leaders were specifically targeted and their villages chosen for destruction. In general, one was an enemy or ally, and the attacks had defined reasons. Nonaligned citizens got caught in the crossfire, but by enlarge there was one side against another. In post war El Salvador, alliances are blurred and violence serves many purposes from retribution to obtaining food, so that delineating battle lines is a preposterous task. The unpredictability of violence increases the sense of insecurity and the desire to be armed. Gangs have arisen in the security space.

Violence and citizen security have been a social phenomenon that have influenced mostly in our society . The government and all the society have a challenge to change in order to get a new society with a better social development and provide security for everyone that can improve our advance to a country where can cover the basic demands like education, housing, food and some others necessities for surviving in a global crisis.

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