I was warned in August 2020. A source told me to meet him at six o’clock at night in an empty parking lot in San Salvador. He had my number, but he contacted me through a mutual acquaintance instead; he didn’t want to leave a trace. When I arrived, he told me to leave my phone in the car. As we walked, he warned me that my colleagues at El Faro, the Salvadoran news organization, were being followed because of a story they were pursuing about negotiations between the president of El Salvador and the notorious MS-13 gang.
This may read like an eerie movie scene, but there are many Central American journalists who have lived it for real. The suspicion you’re being followed, ditching your phone before meetings, using encrypted messaging and email apps, speaking in code, never publishing your live location – these are ordinary routines for many in my profession.
I wouldn’t know until more than a year later what my source really meant. My colleagues weren’t just being trailed as they investigated that story. They, and at least 18 other
— source theguardian.com | Nelson Rauda Zablah | 5 Dec 2022