Every 90 MINUTES some is killed in Guatemala - CVIEW NEWS

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Every 90 MINUTES some is killed in Guatemala


A boy glances down at the bloodied corpse of a young woman - her high heels poking out from beneath the blue sheet covering her - seemingly unfazed by what he has seen.
Elsewhere, a young family walks through the streets hand-in-hand as police officers inspect a severed head found on the roof of a nearby building.
Someone is murdered in Guatemala every 90 minutes and body parts are regularly left in public places by gangs as a macabre warning to the communities they control. 
Shocking: A young boy walking through the streets of Guatemala City with his hands in his pockets glances at the body of a woman. Her high-heeled sandals poke out from beneath a blue sheet on the pavement of one of the most dangerous cities in the world
Shocking: A young boy walking through the streets of Guatemala City with his hands in his pockets glances at the body of a woman. Her high-heeled sandals poke out from beneath a blue sheet on the pavement of one of the most dangerous cities in the world

Distraught: A man, his hands covered in blood, weeps after seeing the dead body of his brother, a bus driver, who was killed by gang members. There has been an increase in armed attacks by  gangs on bus drivers and conductors in Guatemala
Distraught: A man, his hands covered in blood, weeps after seeing the dead body of his brother, a bus driver, who was killed by gang members. There has been an increase in armed attacks by gangs on bus drivers and conductors in Guatemala
Innocence: A child standing in a doorway peers into the street where a soldier stands with a gun. Photographer Saul Martinez said crime scenes become like a 'show' as people gather round to watch the police investigate
Innocence: A child standing in a doorway peers into the street where a soldier stands with a gun. Photographer Saul Martinez said crime scenes become like a 'show' as people gather round to watch the police investigate

In a shocking series of photos, Saul Martinez provides a no-holds-barred insight into life in Guatemala City, one of the most dangerous capital cities in the world.
Martinez, a celebrated photographer born in the country, told MailOnline: 'The worst has got to be the body parts - the severed heads and the limbs.
'This is done by gang members who want to send messages to the communities. That's how they get the message across when someone hasn't cooperated.
'The dumping of severed limbs happens a couple of times a month, while violence is every day.
'I talked to a gang member once and I asked him how he got into this. He said, "Nobody grows up wanting to kill people, but where I grew up, if I didn't become part of a gang they'd kill me or kill my family".
'After a while he got a status, power and respect within his gang and he started liking la vida loca.'
Martinez, who has spent most of his life living with his American mother in Long Island, New York, added: 'One way or another you are affected by it.
Justice: Marvin Ismael Reyes (left), aka 'The Smoking', and Jose Daniel Galindo (right), aka The Criminal', both of the Mara-18 gang, appear in court in 2013 accused of extortion and murder
Justice: Marvin Ismael Reyes (left), aka 'The Smoking', and Jose Daniel Galindo (right), aka The Criminal', both of the Mara-18 gang, appear in court in 2013 accused of extortion and murder
Spectators: Children are among the people gathered behind the police tape in front of the bloody body of a man. Death and violence have become the norm in Guatemala's capital
Spectators: Children are among the people gathered behind the police tape in front of the bloody body of a man. Death and violence have become the norm in Guatemala's capital
Crime-fighting: A boy dressed as Spider-Man walks under police tape near his home while an armed soldier stands guard at the scene
Crime-fighting: A boy dressed as Spider-Man walks under police tape near his home while an armed soldier stands guard at the scene
Grief: A mother and father hold each other after seeing the body of their son, a bus driver, who is believed to have been killed by gang members because he did not pay extortion
Grief: A mother and father hold each other after seeing the body of their son, a bus driver, who is believed to have been killed by gang members because he did not pay extortion

'As soon as you turn the TV on in the morning there are news reports of a crime committed. It becomes something normal for people to have that around them constantly.
'You will see children at the crime scenes. It becomes like a show - everyone gathers around the crime scene and observes as the police investigate.
'I've asked them (children) whether they are scared to be there and see death that close, and they tell me "no" because they "are used to it by now".'
Martinez added: 'I started at a newspaper but before I came to Guatemala, I knew it was a pretty violent country. That's what most of my work is about.'
'There is a big black market,' Martinez added. 'People are held at gunpoint in the street for mobile phones - I have had my phone stolen twice.’
Guatemala is the eighth most dangerous country in the world in terms of murders. In 2014 there were 6,072 murders across the country, according to the government. In addition the number of people who ‘disappeared’ increased 207 per cent in four years from 2009 to 2013. 
Vicious armed gang turf battles are at the heart of its troubles and there are up to 14,000 gang members in the country, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission reports.
The largest are the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and the Mara-18 (18th Street), which were both formed in Los Angeles by immigrants who returned to Central America.
Behind bars: Photographer Saul Martinez took these photographs documenting crime in Guatemala after returning to the country in 2009. There were more than 6,000 murders in the country in 2013 - the equivalent of one every hour-and-a-half
Behind bars: Photographer Saul Martinez took these photographs documenting crime in Guatemala after returning to the country in 2009. There were more than 6,000 murders in the country in 2013 - the equivalent of one every hour-and-a-half

Crime scene: A body covered with a plastic sheet lies in the street in Guatemala City, with a gun beside it. Upwards of 60 per cent of the country's population possess a firearm, a factor which contributes to the high murder rate
Spectacle: Children stand among the crowd gathered behind the police tape eager to catch a glimpse of a crime scene in Guatemala City. Children say they are not scared to see death so close because they 'are used to it by now'
Spectacle: Children stand among the crowd gathered behind the police tape eager to catch a glimpse of a crime scene in Guatemala City. Children say they are not scared to see death so close because they 'are used to it by now'
Location: Someone is murdered in the Central American country every hour-and-a-half. Guatemala itself is the eighth most dangerous place in the world in terms of murder rates
Location: Someone is murdered in the Central American country every hour-and-a-half. Guatemala itself is the eighth most dangerous place in the world in terms of murder rates

The motto of MS-13 is 'rape, control, kill' and its members are covered in tattoos that tell the stories of the crimes they have committed.
Described as America's most violent street gang, members are so feared that in neighbouring El Salvador, they have been left to run their own prison while guards and the army keep watch outside. 
MS-13 members have been involving in trafficking cocaine into the US, prostitution rings, robberies, assaults, murders and gun smuggling.  
The two gangs are fierce rivals, so much so that members are usually held in separate prisons to avoid conflict.
The gangs recruit or force children as young as eight years old to join, making them informers, couriers or extortion collectors in the belief they will be treated lightly or let go by the police if caught.
One former Mara-18 member revealed she was 15 when she committed her first murder. Alma came from a troubled home and turned to gang life in her search for comfort and protection.
'I feel I have never received love from anyone,' Alma, as reported by TIME. 'I looked for another family in a gang, in which all members were like me, undergoing lack of love... for the first time in my life I felt loved and respected.
'In an isolated house, there was a girl older than me. Blonde, begging to be spared… my whole body was telling me not to, but in the end I killed her. I knew I would get killed myself if I did not obey.'
Scared: A girl dressed in yellow looks over her shoulder as she moves away from a crime scene. Armed soldiers stand guard around her
Scared: A girl dressed in yellow looks over her shoulder as she moves away from a crime scene. Armed soldiers stand guard around her
Armed: A member of security stands against a wall holding a shotgun guarding a street market in the city. More than 60 per cent of people in Guatemala own a gun
Armed: A member of security stands against a wall holding a shotgun guarding a street market in the city. More than 60 per cent of people in Guatemala own a gun
Captured: Guatemalan police officers, each carrying a gun and one wearing a balaclava, gather around William Lazaro, aka Scandalous, an alleged Mara-18 gang member. Certain neighbourhoods in Guatemala City are controlled by criminal gangs which have walled off their territories with concrete barriers
Captured: Guatemalan police officers, each carrying a gun and one wearing a balaclava, gather around William Lazaro, aka Scandalous, an alleged Mara-18 gang member. Certain neighbourhoods in Guatemala City are controlled by criminal gangs which have walled off their territories with concrete barriers

Standoff: 'As soon as you turn the TV on in the morning there are news reports of a crime committed. It becomes something normal for people to have that around them constantly,' photographer Saul Martinez said
Standoff: 'As soon as you turn the TV on in the morning there are news reports of a crime committed. It becomes something normal for people to have that around them constantly,' photographer Saul Martinez said


Some neighbourhoods are controlled by these criminal gangs, which have walled off their territories with concrete barriers and whose permission is required to enter, says the OSAC. 
The violence and lack of regard for life is down to poverty, accessibility of weapons and weak law enforcement, according to the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).  
Following a bloody 36-year civil war, of Guatemala’s eight million population, half live in poverty.
The murder rate is driven by drug trafficking, gangs and the fact that 60 per cent of the population own a gun. 
Just days ago, a violent brawl among inmates at one of the country's maximum security prisons left 17 dead, including three who were decapitated.
'The gang members today grew up in the situation the kids of today are surrounded by,' Martinez added. 'It's all a cycle. Most of these kids will grow up to be gang members also.'
Mourning: School friends of a girl shot dead by a gang member break down during her funeral, held in Guatemala City on April 4 2014
Mourning: School friends of a girl shot dead by a gang member break down during her funeral, held in Guatemala City on April 4 2014
Territory: Authorities pictured in front of graffiti sprayed on a wall by Mara-18 gang members in Guatemala's Zone 6. Some neighbourhoods are controlled by criminal gangs which have walled off their territories
Territory: Authorities pictured in front of graffiti sprayed on a wall by Mara-18 gang members in Guatemala's Zone 6. Some neighbourhoods are controlled by criminal gangs which have walled off their territories
Childhood: A boy enters a settlement know as 'La Limonada' - a high risk area of ongoing conflict where known gang members live
Childhood: A boy enters a settlement know as 'La Limonada' - a high risk area of ongoing conflict where known gang members live


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