It’s been widely reported that Guatemala is one of Latin America’s most violent places. But more and more it’s become increasingly clear how often children are part of that violence.
Correspondent Harris Whitbeck reports from Guatemala City on two young boys whose fates were forever altered as a result of the gangs of Guatemala.
Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and has one of the youngest populations in Latin America. Its proximity to Mexico makes it an attractive base for drug and human trafficking. Those crimes, in turn, have lead to the presence of street gangs.
Earlier this year, the murder of a young boy named Angel Ledesma highlighted the fact that many of Guatemala’s youth are exposed to violence simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Harris tells us, so far this year there have been well over 200 violent crimes against children ranging from murder to sexual violence to drug-dealing.
And as Guatemala’s Justice Ministry tells Harris: these are “not just teenagers, but children in these gangs.”
UNICEF says Guatemala is one of the most perilous places for a child to grow up.
Many international organizations are working to curb child violence in Guatemala. Harris interviews psychologist Juan Carlos Molina who is helping kids who have been impacted by gangs. The fact that a new government will take office next year is raising hopes more efforts will be made in the fight against crime and violence.
Check out Harris Whitbeck’s report and see what’s being done to save the children of Guatemala from violence.