Guatemala: Meet the Maras

57m 42s

Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in the world. 95% of murders remain unsolved and the ultra-violent maras manage drug trafficking, prostitution and racketeering in the country and spread terror among the population. After several weeks of negotiation, we gained access to some of these gangs. In the favela of Vilanueva, Pedro is at the head of Barrio 18. That he has reached the age of 32 is practically a miracle. It’s rare for gang members to live past 25. The police who try and control his gang are woefully under-equipped. Sometimes, they even have to buy their own ammunition. Faced with these shocking levels of violence and an impotent police force, many citizens are choosing to arm themselves. Gun sales have increased by 20% in just one year. Others prefer to join local militants and combat the gangs directly.