The gangs that cost 16% of GDP


By Sarah Esther Maslin—The Economist—May 21, 2016—

On the 15th day of each month a bus driver in San Salvador tucks a small package wrapped in a black plastic bag under his seat and sets out on his route. At a predetermined spot between the hillside slum where the route begins and the bustling urban street where it ends, two teenaged boys in baggy clothes board the bus, retrieve the package and hop off. They will deliver the bag—which contains $550 in cash—to the Mara Salvatrucha, one of El Salvador’s main gangs. Similar exchanges take place on most bus routes throughout the country …