El Salvador President Mauricio Funes told U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez during his visit in Central America this week that an almost yearlong truce among gangs in his country has contributed to a 52 percent drop in homicides.

Gangs in El Salvador reported number about 84,000 members.

Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spent a few days in El Salvador before continuing to Honduras and to Guatemala.

The news wire service Efe quoted Menendez as saying that the United States has not paid sufficient attention to the Caribbean and Latin America.

President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Mexico and Costa Rica this week, as well.

During his visit in Central America, Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, pledged the United States' commitment to helping with the security and economic growth of the region.

In his visit to Honduras, Menendez praised President Porfirio Lobo for helping to stabilize the country after the 2009 army-led coup. 

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