• El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele launched a massive police operation in the satellite city of Soyapango to arrest gang members.
• The area is home to 300,000 people, many of whom live in poverty in slums or “favelas.”
• Rikki, author and co-host of the “Bitcoin Italia,” and “Stupefatti” podcasts, visited two of the neighborhoods in the city and was only able to enter due to the government crackdown on the gangsters.
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele recently launched a massive police operation in the satellite city of Soyapango, aiming to arrest gang members still hiding in the area. With 300,000 inhabitants, the city is home to several slums or “favelas,” a reality that is difficult for the entire country. In response to the upsurge in clashes between rival gangs that had bloodied the country earlier this year, the government has been cracking down on the “pandilleros,” or gangsters.
This is what led Rikki, author and co-host of the “Bitcoin Italia,” and “Stupefatti” podcasts, to visit two of the neighborhoods in the city: Ciudad de Dios and Santa Lucia. Ciudad de Dios is an extremely poor neighborhood that stands on an old garbage dump, and Santa Lucia is known for being a historical lair for criminal gangs. Rikki was only able to enter these places due to the government crackdown and had a local driver and a person known in the neighborhood riding ahead of him on a motorcycle as a precaution.
Rikki was deeply impacted by the news of the police operation and the reality of the situation in Soyapango. He was thankful that he was able to visit the neighborhoods in a relatively safe way, but it also made him think of how dangerous it would have been to visit a year ago. This experience gave him a better understanding of the realities people living in such difficult conditions face every day, and the importance of the government’s efforts to create a safer environment.