Thursday, October 28, 2021

Guatemala: Land of the Maya - Deadliest Roads

Guatemala, a small country in Central America, is one of the most violent states in the world. There were nearly 4,000 murders in 2018; a murder rate 20 times higher than France per head of population. Behind this slaughter are street gangs, known as Maras, who manage drug trafficking, prostitution and racketeering and spread terror among the population. The members shoot their rivals, or ordinary citizens who go against them, without hesitation.

After several weeks of negotiation, we were able to get an insider’s view of some of these gangs. We spoke to members like Pedro, who heads one of Guatemala’s most powerful Maras. They say that Pedro stopped counting his homicide victims after the eighteenth. 

We also meet Oscar, who has one of the most dangerous professions in the country: a bus driver. 250 drivers were shot by Maras killers last year, as a means to extort transport companies. Having been shot eleven times already; Oscar cannot do his daily job without constantly checking his mirrors. He isn’t just looking for bicycles. 

Faced with this crime and the powerlessness of the underequipped police force, some residents have chosen to organize themselves into a citizen’s militia, patrolling the streets at night equipped with guns, swords or baseball bats. But it is a risky undertaking; five of them have already lost their lives.


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Item Reviewed: Guatemala: Land of the Maya - Deadliest Roads Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BUXONE