El Salvador – The growing flow of migrants coming here illegally has prompted the president to recently threaten to cut off aid to three Central American countries.
NBC’s Kerry Sanders went to El Salvador for an exclusive look at just how that American aid is used.
In one of the most dangerous countries in the world, IED’s are becoming a new threat.
We’re with American ATF agents in El Salvador training police on how to respond. The U.S. has built a sprawling campus here to teach officers, all part of the $450 million the U.S. spent last year in a country where 18 people are murdered every day. This is one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
The goal is to make life a little better, so people stay here instead of joining caravans headed to the U.S. fleeing vicious gangs like the MS 13.
We went to an area that has a heavy concentration of gang members ms-13, where residents have been told “get out of your house, or we’re gonna kill ya”.
The problem is so pervasive that even current gang members say there’s no way to control it.
Former MS-13 member Edwin Fuentes tells us where he’s headed once released.
“I will look for a country that I would feel safe” Said Edwin Fuentes. He was asked if that country would be the United States, and he responded in the positive.
Police officers and their families are also in danger. When asked what happens when officers are out of uniform and their faces are not covered, one officer responded that it is worse than when they are in uniform.
But tonight, U.S. officials say it has been money well spent.
“There’s no doubt that that support that we are giving has had a direct impact on the drop in the homicide rate, and not only in the homicide rate but all major violent crime.” Says Ambassador Jean Manes.