They are one of the most notorious, violent gangs in Central America, turning cities into war zones and threatening the authority of the state. Famous for their tattoos and the cruelty of their crimes, the Maras have controlled Guatemala city for more than 20 years. They terrorise locals, trafficking drugs and people and running lucrative sidelines in contract killings, robberies and extortion.
The police are either corrupt or powerless to act and now people have started taking things into their own hands, forming militias and introducing check-points and armed patrols.
Thierry Gayton is one of the few journalists in the world to have filmed the Maras, their lives and their crimes. He also filmed with citizen’s militias, who themselves sometimes resort to violence. Filmed at great risk over several months, this is an exceptional look at the Maras.
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