San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gang Members Linked To Businessman’s Death.

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) – TheSalvadoran police this week arrested sixgang members – two of them minors – fortheir alleged participation in the murder ofGrupo TACA airlines’ former presidentFederico Bloch, who was shot to death inhis car outside the capital April 26.“We have detained those responsible forthe death of señor Federico Bloch,” informedpolice commissioner Ricardo Meneses,who added that the former TACA presidentapparently had some sort of friendship withthe two 16-year-old suspects.“In the process of the investigation,we discovered that there was a relationshipbetween the victim and the twominors, with whom [Bloch] had had apersonal quarrel knowing that they weremembers of a gang [Mara Salvatrucha],”Meneses said.According to the police investigation,local cell leader Juan Carlos Alfaroordered Bloch’s assassination.The 50-year-old ex-president ofTACA was found dead in his car on themain highway in the municipality ofNuevo Cuscatlán, 10 kilometers west ofSan Salvador, near the exclusive residentialneighborhood Quintas de Santa Elena(TT, April 30).Police are not discussing possiblemotives.Official statistics show that membersof Mara Salvatrucha and rival gang M18have committed 70% of the 1,040 homicidesin El Salvador during the first fivemonths of this year.El Salvador’s provisional anti-ganglaw expired last Sunday, before PresidentAntonio Saca was able to pass his controversialnew “super strong hand” anti-ganglegislation (TT, June 18). The Presidentassured Salvadorans this week that thegovernment would not leave them unprotectedfrom gang violence, despite theexpired law.

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