“This is barrio politics”: Cholo gangs declare peace during quarantine
Through a video that has gone viral, Southern California gangs announced a "“mandatory peace treaty for all barrios”.
The hard historical moment that the United States is going through, with the spread of COVID-19, is not just an incessant count of deaths and infections. Even in such dark times, there is space for solidarity and necessary truces.
Police reports across the country already show that violence on the streets has been reduced since the beginning of the quarantine in many cities, and Los Angeles is no exception.
But there was still a call for order in the midst of the chaos, and a historic Southern California gang member has done just that. Through an Instagram video posted on the @communityfooc profile, he has announced a " mandatory peace treaty" for all California gangs, which includes a complete cessation of shootings under very serious threat.
“If you are caught doing a drive-by shooting, you will be dealt with," he said in the video, which already has over 66,000 views. "Don’t worry about the police… worry about people in your own neighborhood putting you on check."
This is how this veteran known as "Carnal" defined the ordinance that gang members "of all status" must abide by and which, according to L.A. Taco, seems to indicate that there was already a truce in place that originated in San Diego.
The veteran also warned that the peace treaty is being respected by "brothers on the inside," referring to gang members who are in prison, and that “if there is anybody from this point on, wherever you’re from and whatever your status, still playing the gangbang role, you will be dealt with.”
This includes participating in any conflicts with other neighborhoods or tagging.
The warning coincides with the anniversary of the death of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot dead in front of his clothing store in South Los Angeles in 2019 and who always stood for unity and peace among the city's gangs.
Hussle's death revived talks between rival gangs to end the violence, something that has been attempted since the late 1980s.
According to California State University Chicano and Latino Studies professor Alex Alonso, gang intervention for a cessation of violence began right at the end of the era and culminated in a 1992 truce, which was the first "large-scale cease-fire Los Angeles has ever seen," he told KCRW.
"Right after Nipsey was killed, we saw different bands of Crips gathered on the corner of Slawson and Crenshaw that hadn't spoken in 40 years," Alex Alonso.
"There's always a tragic event that sets those peace talks in motion, unfortunately. Some of these guys have been on the table for the last two or three years. But when Nipsey Hussle's murder occurred, the talks were accelerated," he added.
Alonso also highlighted the immense progress made in the last year and went on to say what is happening now in the aftermath of the video.
"Right after Nipsey was killed, we saw different bands of Crips gathered at the corner of Slawson and Crenshaw who hadn't spoken in 40 years," he said. "I feel like we're going to have at least 100 gangs agreeing to a ceasefire this year or next year."
How valid is the video for Southern California gangs? Will they respect the cessation of violence? Like most things in this world, time, and only time will be the witness.