President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador isn’t playing around when it comes to gang violence.
On Friday, Bukele showcased a new prison intended for hardened gang members in a video shared on his official Twitter account.
The video detailed a law enforcement operation in which 2,000 detainees were transferred from other jails and prisons to El Salvador’s Center for the Confinement of Terrorism, a new facility intended to house gang members.
The prisoners — many of them tattooed with gang imagery — were made to shuffle in an exposed state in handcuffs as they were led to their new residence in the video.
“Today at dawn, in a single operation, we transferred the first 2,000 gang members to the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism (CECOT),” began the tweet, according to a Google translation.
“This will be their new house, where they will live for decades, mixed up, unable to do any more harm to the population.”
Hoy en la madrugada, en un solo operativo, trasladamos a los primeros 2,000 pandilleros al Centro de Confinamiento del Terrorismo (CECOT).
Esta será su nueva casa, donde vivirán por décadas, mezclados, sin poder hacerle más daño a la población.
—Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) February 24, 2023
The prison is slated for an eventual capacity of 40,000 inmates, according to Insider.
If the prison proves capable of holding its intended capacity, it’d be the most populous penal facility in the world, dwarfing the current record-holder of Silivri Penitentiaries Campus in Turkey.
One image shared by Salvadorian politician Mauricio Ortiz showed the volume of detainees held in the country’s prisons, although it’s not clear if the image was taken at the new facility.
— Mauricio Ortiz
(@MauricioOrtizES) February 24, 2023
Some inmates in the video even bear tattoos advertising their affiliation with MS-13, one of the most bloodthirsty and dangerous drug smuggling organizations in the Americas.
More footage from El Salvador’s prison show conditions that would break the will of even the most savage organized criminal.
What prison is like for gang members in El Salvador pic.twitter.com/0VSEPSgOXr
(@JackPosobiec) February 25, 2023
The Central American nation has long struggled with the scurge of organized crime and gun violence.
Bukele’s tough-on-crime approach has caused the nation’s homicide rate drop considerably, however.
Homicides decreased by 56.8 percent in 2022, according to Reuters.
The Center for the Confinement of Terrorism opened earlier this year in connection with Bukele’s plans to crack down on the country’s crime epidemic, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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