Marcelo Rivera: Mining, Water and Organized Crime in El Salvador

June 2020, available here. From the book, Faces of Assassination, published by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. When he was a teenager, Miguel Ángel Rivera joined his older brother, Marcelo, to do community work in their home town of San Isidro in the department of Cabañas, El Salvador. In the early 1990s, they would... Continue Reading →

Abusive policing from Chicago to El Salvador

The Chicago Reader, February 2020. With The Invisible Institute. Officer Salvador Enrique Chavez stood ready to apprehend a colleague accused of murder. It was December 29, 2017. The 40-year-old was two months from celebrating his 18th year on the Salvadoran police force. As a member of the SWAT-style unit called the Grupo de Reaccion Policial... Continue Reading →

Leaving the Battlefield

The Intercept, November 2018. There are an estimated 60,000 gang members in El Salvador. Benjamin knew many who wanted to leave the gangs. He wanted to show them it was possible. Benjamin suspected the Salvadoran gang Barrio 18 Revolucionarios would kill him when he asked permission to leave. He was 21 years old and had... Continue Reading →

Deported to El Salvador

The Intercept, May 2017.  See accompanying film by Leighton Akio Woodhouse and Pedro Armando Aparicio here. Thousands of miles from his home and family, Jose Escobar lives in a small rural community in La Unión, El Salvador, amid fields of sugar cane and corn, bordered by the Chaparrastique volcano and the Gulf of Fonseca. Escobar,... Continue Reading →

A Salvadoran writer goes into exile

The New Yorker, February 2016. Before it dawned on him that he would have to flee his country—a realization aided by a series of death threats in November of last year—the Salvadoran writer Jorge Galán had some questions for Father Jon Sobrino, an elderly Jesuit priest. Father Sobrino is from Spain, but he has spent... Continue Reading →

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