This article focuses on a turning point in the history of Salvadorian maras. Since their foundation in Los Angeles and their subsequent forced relocation to Central America, two of El Salvador’s most powerful pandillas — the Mara Salvatrucha 13 and the Barrio 18 — developed a system of reciprocal violence that has strongly shaped their identities. This system allowed each group to establish a value system as well as notions of status and prestige, both internally and externally. As of 2012, however, with the arrival of the first leftist government in the history of El Salvador, the state began negotiating with maras, partly to reduce gang-related homicides. This process lasted roughly two years and marked the entry of gangs into the Salvadorian political field.
- El Salvador