THE Mara Salvatrucha, popularly known as MS-13, is a gang formed mainly by Salvadorans spread across the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and several other countries across America, with an average of 70,000 men. There are even indications that there are branches in Canada and Spain as well.
The "mara" - meaning "gang" - began in Los Angeles, the initial destination of most immigrants who left El Salvador in the early 1980s, being fugitives from the Civil War in the country between the leftist guerrilla and the government. military. These “salvatruchas” - nicknames for Salvadorans - were harassed by groups already established in the region. These young people decided to form their own pack. After a while the MS-13 launched itself against rival “maras” - mainly Mexicana Mara 18 - and automatically to crime, which caused the US government to deport the most dangerous members. But such effort was not helpful to them, as the deported members formed a sort of El Salvador-US air bridge - just the loophole the organization needed to branch out and extend its tentacles across Central America.
Since then, members of the “mara” have lived inside this mafia without the slightest worry. That is, they do not care if they are helping to dissolve it or if they are adding more wood to the fire. There are stories that report burning deserters on file, cruel rites of admission, and of course the somewhat clear condition of their initialization with tattoos and symbols - usually the "horn" with their hands and hands. tattoos - only reinforce the image of the ultra-closed tribe. Within these "symbols" there are some that have emphasis. For example, the tear tattooed under the eye is related to the limb's behavior in prison. It is said to be tattooed to indicate that that "salvatrucha" killed an enemy or lost a loved one. The letter "M" and "S" printed on the skin, usually in gothic characters, leaves no doubt: the prisoner who carries it is part of Mara Salvatrucha, popularly known as MS-13, one of the most violent and deadly gangs on the planet. . Remembering that to possess such tattoo, the pack member must kill the member of a rival Mara. It is common to see gang members with tattoos on their face, neck and hands. Hard places to wear. Usually tattoos from criminal organizations tend to be more discreet or concealable, aiming at the possibility of the individual not being easily recognized and going unnoticed. Thus facilitating their criminal activities.
As is the case with Yakuza, which tattoo the whole body, but traditionally these tattoos cannot go beyond the mobster's wrist, ankle and neck. Face tattooing was common among the tribe Maori as a proof of courage, a source of pride and proof of their position in the social hierarchy, and these corporeal inscriptions were allowed only to free and noble men. In the Maras, these characteristics of courage and pride are also noted, as well as a sense of personal / collective identity. By tattooing his own face with the symbols of his gangs, the young man demonstrates his bravery and his desire to belong to the “family” (as they call themselves) by permanently assuming the identity of the group. Giving up the most remarkable physical characteristics of individuality and identity to carry the marks of your pack in the most visible place of the “los maras” body demonstrate conviction and a strong commitment to the group, and the significance of bravery for having undergone a ritual. painful and with consequences for the rest of his life.
THE number 13 it also carries a meaning, only closer to the gang violence. The number is related both to how old the young person can become a member of Mara and to the 13 seconds of beating to start MS-13. Similar to the procedure also adopted by the 18th Street gang.
In 2005, some rumors emerged, where they pointed out that al-Qaeda was meeting with MS-13 and other Central American groups to help infiltrate the United States. FBI Agent Robert Clifford informed the intelligence community and the governments of several Central American countries that there was no concrete basis for believing that the MS-13 was connected to al Qaeda or other radical Islamists. However, until then, nothing confirmed. We can only wait for the next chapters of the “Salvadorans.”