The word “MARA” is synonymous with “GANG” in both Central America & Southern Mexico, but the origin of the word derives from the word “PLAGA” (plague or infestation), as in large numbers such as a swarm, a crowd, or a throng. It was taken from a 1960s film titled “MARABUNTA”, which was about “Killer Ants” from Brazil. And subsequently it became used for describing in a derogatory manner, the groups of youth (gangs), who perpetuated many of the street crimes in those days. By the 1970s, the name MARA was fully adopted by the street gangs in El Salvador. But these were cut short because of the civil turmoil which culminated in the Civil War of the late 70’s. The exodus of people from El Salvador to the U.S. finalized the adaptation of the name MARA for the Salvadoran youth gangsters in L.A. The rest you already know about.
La Mara Salvatrucha es la mayor pandilla de El Salvador, aglutina aproximadamente al 70% de todos los pandilleros del país. Tiene unas características propias muy determinadas. Fue creada en los años 80 en California por emigrantes salvadoreños, como respuesta a las pandillas ya existentes en area de McArthur Park y Pico Union de Los Angeles.
El significado del nombre “Mara Salvatrucha”
La palabra 'mara', se emplea en El Salvador con el significado de “gente alborotadora.”
'Salva',deriba de Salvadoreño. Y finalmente, 'trucha', viene a significar listo o despabilado.
En la zona de Los Angeles, la Mara Salvatrucha adoptó el número 13, ya que esta zona está controlada por la Mafia Mexicana, la cual se le associa el numero 13, el cual tiene el significado correspondiente con la letra M del alfabeto Americano y es synonima con M de Mafia Mexicana.
San Francisco es territorio de Nuestra Familia, la cual usa la letra numero 14, significativa y synonima con N de Norte y Nuestra Familia.
Por esta razon en el norte de California la MS se afilio a los rangos del Norte, y adopto el numero 14 as sus iniciales de barrio. ~ Ex: “MS14”
Tanto la Mafia Mexicana como Nuestra Familia, son organizaciones que ejercen control sobre casi todas las pandillas Latinas desde las cárceles en sus respectivos territorios de California.
Así es que la Mara Salvatrucha "está dividida en dos."
La MS 13 en el Sur de California, y la MS 14 en el Norte.
Al finalizar la guerra civil Salvadoreña, los jueces de la zona de “Los Angeles” comenzaron con una practica de deportacion a pandilleros de estado indocumentado en el pais y vueltos a El Salvador. Y es de esta forma en la cual la “MS 13 Sureña” se instala con fuerza en el país, mientras que la presencia de la “MS 14 Norteña es mínima e insignificante.
Junto con la MS13, también llega a El Salvador la Calle 18 (18ST), una mas entre las pandilla más poderosa de Los Angeles. Asi mismo la guerra que mantenían estas 2 pandillas en las calles de Los Angeles, se translada inmediatamente a El Salvador.
La Mara Salvatrucha se considera a si misma como la pandilla auténtica Salvadoreña, y piensa que tanto la 18 y las demas pandillas aliadas o enemigas, son de origen extranjero, “concretamente Mexicano.”
~" LA MARA SALVATRUCH STONERS 13 "~
Around the mid-80s, the Mara Stoners gang was not yet very large; however, with the influx of Salvadoran nationals who escaped to Los Angeles to avoid the Salvadoran civil war, the MARA grew rapidly, especially in the Hollywood and Pico Union areas.
The Mara Stoners during this period was formed mostly by homeless and unemployed Salvadorans on the streets, wearing long hair, listening to heavy-metal music; a cultural taste stimulated by the export of American culture into El Salvador during the military conflict than engulfed the small nation during the decade of the 1980s.
By 1985, the MARA STONERS aka MOB STONERS gang, had become well known as the MARA SALVATRUCHA STONERS. They devised a gang initiation ritual which consisted of a jump-in that lasted thirteen seconds, because thirteen was “an evil number,” and their logo became the heavy-metal sign of the devil, two fingers up.
MS was born on Westmoreland and Ninth, with a first clique known as the 7 11 Locos (for the 7-Eleven where they hung out). Then they expanded toward Leeward and Hollywood, forming the Normandy Locos, then the Berendo Locos, then down by Western, MLK and Vermont, the East Side and South Side cliques joined in. By 1988 the Normandie Locos had become one of the biggest MS cliques ever.
One of the Mara’s most hated enemies were the DRIFTERS. Whereas the first MS cadres were known as stoners, the DRIFTERS were known as disco freaks. (The DRIFTERS had a distinctive dress—Fila shoes, baggy khaki pants, white undershirt, and a baseball cap with the letter D on it.
While the Mara had many enemies—they also had uneasy alliances with other gangs.
One of their allies was the FEDORA STREET LOCOS. The Locos were not actually a youth gang but a lose collection of drug dealers who sold drugs on Fedora Street near Olympic Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. Many of the Locos were Salvadoran, and virtually all were older vatos (over 18 years of age). Members of MS, would help the FSLocos by hiding their stash for them and by investing some cash into the drug trade. The FSL and MS had a business relationship. Later, however, some members of the Mara began to steal drugs from the Locos. These MS were later found dead—each shot three times in the head—and the Mara retaliated by driving the Locos out of Fedora Street.
In a short time, only members of the Mara were selling on the street.
In 1985, MS went to war with the Crazy Riders-- whose turf was at Third and Normandy. They went to war not on account of drug spots or drug business as some versions claim; But because Rocky, an original MS founding member, was shot dead in a set up by some girls from Fourth and Normandy. It was never about “business,” it was about “vengeance for the dead homie. Soon the wars expanded into a bloodier conflict that involved 18TH Street.
At first, the 18TH Streeters, located from Venice up Hoover to Alvarado, originally were of a predominant Mexican membership; but they eventually opened their doors for Salvadorans to join their ranks. And these young Salvadoran who joined 18TH Street, added great numbers to their spreading cliques.
Until 1992, MS and 18TH Street had a lose alliance, Salvadorans were welcomed into 18TH Street, making it the first multi-cultural super gang. Many families even had members in both gangs. Nevertheless, by the early 1990S, MS had grown significantly in size and was ready to challenge 18TH Street for dominance. No one is sure where the spark was ignited. Perhaps both sides had gotten too big for comfort; but following an incident over a girl which claimed the life of Shaggy from MS, by a vato from 18TH Street, and soon after talks to prevent a war collapsed, the MARA SALVATRUCHA decided on “to hell with 18 Street,” and Shaggy’s clique retaliated. This set off a war and a battle for control of the Rampart area. The violence between these two gangs escalated and drew in several other gangs into the conflict, expanding the war into a bloodier conflict; one the worst gang wars in L.A. history. A street war in which the death toll surpassed the 100 count. By 1992, there was no clear winner; however, MS had gained control of some of the Rampart area.
Wars for drug trade or wars to avenge the fallen homies, the killing was happening because the killing was happening.
In 1993, MS becomes formally aligned with the Sureno camp and incorporates the number 13 into its gang initials to signify its alliance with the Mexican Mafia. By this time the mood on the streets had changed profoundly, mostly the result of incarcerations. MS vatos who went in Juvenile Hall with long hair came out bald and speaking Calo. The new look assimilated the Chicano prison dress style: clean creased shirts and creased up Dockers. There was even a different stroll, slouching back. They grew goatees, cut the hair short, slicked back with Tres Flores hair grease, no more petroleum jelly.
Tres Flores with a palm comb-that’s what they wanted. The system was shaping the MS membership, replacing the old stoner look with the Chicano Homie Style.
Indeed by the early 1990s, MS13 had attained a reputable notoriety in the local gang scene; but with that same notoriety, they found themselves in an urban world, in the most congested barrio west of the Mississippi, surrounded by new enemies and locked in battle after battle, day in and day out!