The activity, aimed at rolling back the gang's visible presence in the town, added to a raft of government measures taken in recent weeks to hem in MS-13 and Calle 18, the two main rival gangs, and various smaller organizations.
El Salvador is facing a record wave of murders. With 22 killings a day on average, the country has become one of the deadliest on the planet. El Salvador's economy isn't great either. But in the little town of Jucuapa, the coffin-making business is booming.
Stepsisters Monica and Nataly didn't know each other when living with separate families in from El Salvador. But when both teens started receiving threats, their relatives sent for them in California and they trekked north together — and bonded.
El Salvador has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the hemisphere. And advocates hope that El Salvador's recommendation that women hold off getting pregnant until 2018 will spur a conversation about the country's laws around reproduction in general.
This year, an increasing number of Central American attempted to enter the US illegally. Now, as many are deported back home, there are concerns that due process was not served while they were held in detention facilities in the United States.
José has already tried to escape from El Salvador to the US this summer — twice. But he's failed each time, and now he's dodging gang violence at home while trying to make yet another attempt to leave.
There was another exodus from Central America. It happened in the 1980s, when almost one million Guatemalans and Salvadorans fled to the US to escape civil war. And a group of American activists and religious leaders took big risks to help them stay.