El Salvador

May 1, 2007

Villaraigosa To Discuss Gangs, Tourism In El Salvador, Mexico Visits

“Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will travel Tuesday to El Salvador and Mexico to discuss ways to boost trade and stem the rising wave of gang members who illegally enter the United States. Villaraigosa will meet with business leaders, elected officials and law enforcement officials from both nations during the four-city trip, according to Villaraigosa’s office. He is scheduled to return to Los Angeles on May 9. Villaraigosa will also speak with executives from airlines based in Mexico and El Salvador to chart out new routes that will involve all of the facilities operated by the city agency that oversees Los Angeles International, Ontario International, Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys airports. Villaraigosa is also expected to discuss clean air initiatives with port officials in both nations. Villaraigosa’s trip will begin with a two-day stop in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, where he and Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton will meet with President Elias Antonio Saca to discuss trade and transnational gang violence. El Salvador, with a population of 6.8 million, logged an average of 10 homicides a day in 2006, about 70 percent of which were committed by gang members, according to the FBI. In February, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Saca announced a joint cross-border effort to combat Los Angeles-based Mara Salvatrucha and other street gangs. Villaraigosa will travel on Thursday to Mexico City, where he will meet with President Felipe Calderon and business leaders to discuss investment and business opportunities in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa will then stop in Guadalajara on May 8 and conclude his trip the following day in Leon, according to the mayor’s office.”

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