Kids in Guatemala have lost their innocence, they are not afraid of murdering anyone. Is it because of the social set up or is the product of their own mental make up, it’s hard to differentiate.
There are apparent cases where the minors are carrying deadly weapons like pistols and knives in their ‘school bags’. For what? Just to slay the person who is not fulfilling their monetary needs.
Guatemala suffered almost 48 murders per 100,000 people last year, one of the highest rates in Latin America. Every eighth victim is a child in the region and considerable numbers of killers are youths.
Since, the end of the 36-year civil war, that ended in 1996, the world of crime has been occupied by drug traffickers and unruly street gangs.
Given that half of Guatemala’s population is under 17, the minors operate most of these rowdy street gangs. They just have one thing upon their minds and that is, society took advantage of me and now I’m going to take advantage of it. They are just soaked in vengeance from head to toe.
The most unfortunate thing of the entire process is that, once a kid joins either gang, she/he is not allowed to leave it. Thus, they face more harassment if they try to do so.
There is a case, where 9-year-old orphan, has brutally killed ten people a month.
These street gangs, have been joined by, mistreated or marginalized children as they offer these kids a kind of surrogate family. The number of child gang members in the Central American nation is reckoned at anywhere between 6,000 and 40,000.
Instead of operating at a particular place, some of the gangs believe in spreading their ‘tentacles’. For instance, maras originated in Los Angeles and spread to Central America in the late 1990s, when U.S. authorities began deporting illegal immigrants who had committed crimes.
The violence is becoming a major issue in campaigning for September’s presidential election.
Former army general and congressional representative Otto Perez Molina promises a ‘strong hand’ against youth gangs if he wins, and wants to change the penal code to allow 16-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults, down from 18.
Well, he might be able to do so if he wins but what about the kids, their future, by penalizing them, these episodes of killing would get a stop?