Two days ago René Figueroa, the Minister of Justice and Public Security, announced that the National Civilian Police (PNC) is unable to cover many operational expenses due to lack of funds. This follows a rash of similar announcements in El Salavador’s public institutions and, more alarmingly, an increase in homicides. The 2008 average for daily homicides was 8.6, famously second only to Irak. In what goes of 2009, the average has grown to 11.6. January alone saw 372 murders; reaching 12 per day.This is grave news leading into Easter week vacations – a time when violence typically spikes. Last year’s Easter vacations totaled 83 homicides in 7 days (close the current 2009 daily average, 11.8). While the entire police force will be deployed for Easter week in what they have termed ‘Plan Protection’, there is little evidence that this will deter the tide of violence – especially if there’s no money to fill the tank.
photo by Ethan James