|dc.contributor.advisor||Holmes, Jennifer S.||
|dc.creator||Pavon Tercero, Viveca Maria Leonela||
|dc.description.abstract||Central America is the deadliest region in the world. The UNODC reports that the level
of violence in this region is higher than in any single nation, including those at war. El
Salvador’s 2015 homicide rate was listed as the highest for any country in nearly 20 years.
This research seeks to better explain policies within El Salvador and how they continue to
affect gang activities and crime. The research also seeks to fill in the gap on gang network
dynamics and their level of power in affecting policies.
I begin by exploring the policies implemented in the early 2000s and explaining how they
have had a significant effect in gang development but also in political gain for acting parties.
In an attempt to maintain control over a territory state leaders may chose policies that
favor a public appearance of control. This study seeks to address if a country is willing to
implement ’punitive populism’ in exchange for votes by analyzing the case of El Salvador. I
argue that despite numerous failed attempts at controlling violence through punitive policies
the country continues to enforce these actions and use them as platforms for future elections.
Chapter three in this research uses social network analysis (SNA) to identify the temporal
relationship between paired municipalities according to homicide. This method looks at the
interconnectivity of homicide counts from one year and the next between municipalities,
meaning that it is evaluating how two seemingly distinct regions can be responding to each
other when it comes to homicide rates. The idea is to identify which municipalities are responding to crime in other municipalities around the country. This becomes a critical
aspect of violence in the country because gangs can react to a specific event by attacking
regions where rival gangs operate, not necessarily adjacent areas. In this study I conducted
a single datum correlation coefficient (SDCC) to create this network connection. Using SNA
we can better identify what regions of the country are of interest during a specific point
in time and can help policy makers establish areas needing additional backing. This novel
method introduces a new way of observing criminal behavior and helps identify hubs of
criminal activity as well as vulnerable relationships among municipalities which could be
indicative of gang retaliation areas.
The 2012 Peace agreement in El Salvador between Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio
18 was an unprecedented truce between two of the deadliest rival gangs in Latin America.
This agreement serves as an indication of cooperation with a greater purpose between groups
that had been deemed unorganized. This raises concerns of what circumstances will facilitate
cooperation between rival groups and what can be expected of this collaboration. Following
the truce there was a genuine fear that gangs in El Salvador could become political actors by
using Violent Lobbying and/or Violent Corruption. Even though the gangs have not proven
to have political power there is still a fear that they can continue to influence politicians
behind closed doors. This paper seeks to identify the tactics the gangs could use if they did
attempt to lobby the state. These specific violent acts help us understand what pressures
the government of El Salvador could have been facing that led to the truce being agreed
upon. It also distinguishes what changes in violence the country experienced during and
after the agreement. In order to identify these specific patterns I use event data analysis
on newspaper stories from El Diario de Hoy to help identify is any coercive methods where
used by las maras.
These three chapters evaluate different aspects of violence in El Salvador originating from
gang activity. I begin with a historical approach of policy implementation help introduce how the gangs developed and how they gained power to be able to influence violence beyond
the reach of direct contiguity. I conclude by presenting past uses of violence with a direct
purpose in order to understand the level of political power the gangs could obtain for future
|dc.rights||©2018 The Author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Eugene McDermott Library. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.||
|dc.subject||Criminal behavior, Prediction of—El Salvador||
|dc.subject||Power (Social sciences)—El Salvador||
|dc.title||Dynamics of Violence in El Salvador||
|thesis.degree.grantor||The University of Texas at Dallas||
|thesis.degree.department||Public Policy and Political Economy||