Legalizing Gangs? The constitution of associations based on youth street groups in Spain, Ecuador and El Salvador: evaluation and prospective (2000-2025)
In 2006, the Ministry of Justice of the Catalan government legally recognized the Cultural Organization of Latin Kings and Queens of Catalonia. The following year it did the same with the Ñetas Sociocultural, Sports and Musical Association. During the second half of the decade the activity of the two entities was notable. They worked separately and collaboratively on projects such as United for the Flow. However, since the 2010 crisis, the change in police policies has led to the reversal of this experiment. Today both associations still exist on paper, but in practice their activity is testimonial. Attempts were made to replicate the initial impulse of the process, with greater or lesser success, in other Spanish autonomous communities that had a presence of young people of Latin American origin, such as the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands and Navarra. On the other hand, in the same period, several trials of unlawful association of other factions of the Latin Kings and other gangs took place. Such association formation processes had international effects. There were frustrated attempts in Italy and the United States, and successful attempts in the country of origin of most gang members, Ecuador, where in 2008 the government recognized the Corporation of Latin Kings and Queens, and in more recent years to other groups, initiating a pacification process, whose positive effects have recently been recognized by an IDB report (Feixa et al., 2006; Feixa & Andrade, 2020).