Miguel Ángel Tobar’s life isn’t just the life of a killer belonging to one of the most famous mafias in the most violent country in the world. Miguel Ángel Tobar’s life follows the trajectory of the Mara Salvatrucha from its beginnings in Los Angeles, California, to its arrival and rapid rise in El Salvador. El Niño Hollywood tells the story —through direct interviews and punctual stories—of the birth and rise of the only gang on the United States Department of Treasury’s black list.
This is the story of a group of deportees from the United States—about 4,000 of them, deported between the end of the eighties and early nineties— the ultimately became an army: it is estimated that today the Mara Salvatrucha has 30,000 members in El Salvador alone, plus several other cliques that operate on the United States’ East Coast.
Centering around the story of Miguel Ángel Tobar, aka El Niño Hollywood, the book will retrace the history of the Mara Salvatrucha, from its beginnings in California, to its current incarnations in El Salvador and other parts of Central America and the United States. Miguel Ángel Tobar is a gang member whose life perfectly captures the different stages of being a gang member: he was a poor kid with no prospects, tricked and recruited by an older criminal. He was a ruthless assassin—brutal. He was victim of the gang: the Mara Salvatrucha murdered his brother, also a member, for being a traitor. He was also a traitor: seeking revenge for his brother’s death, in 2008 Miguel Ángel Tobar started killing members of his gang and, in 2009, seeing that he was in great danger, he entered the Salvadorean Justice Department’s witness protection program. His testimony helped send thirty Hollywood Locos Salvatrucha gang members to prison, including his former leader and mentor, Chepe Furia. In the end, Miguel Ángel fell victim to his own gang and his own government: he was murdered in November 2014 while under the state’s protection, by three members of the Mara Salvatrucha. Miguel Ángel was on his way back home from registering the birth of his newborn daughter, recognizing her as his own.
Through vivid scenes, extensive conversations with the subject and meticulously researched historical facts, El Niño Hollywood will uncover the connections between gang violence in the United States and Central America, painting a portrait from within.
RIGHTS: spanish PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | | english VERSO BOOKS | german KUNSTMANN