Saturday, 13 November 2010

Honduras: 'We are burying kids all the time' | Maras | gangs | World news | The Guardian

Honduras: 'We are burying kids all the time' | Maras | gangs | World news | The Guardian: "Machismo, narco-trafficking, social exclusion, plentiful weapons and the aftermath of war all sustain the mara phenomenon, but it landed with plane-loads of gangsters deported from the US. The two main groups, Dieciocho (Spanish for 18) and Salvatrucha, originated in LA and exploded in central America when Con Air dumped 46,000 convicts between 1998-2005.
Nicaragua was lucky: its emigrants headed for Miami, where black and Cuban gangs shunned central Americans, and the country remains an oasis of relative calm. LA's more culturally open-minded gangs, in contrast, recruited the children of immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many had never set foot in central America until being deported.
With no family restraints, the arrivals proved much more brutal than traditional local gangs known as pandillas, says Dennis Rodgers, a University of Manchester anthropologist and mara expert. Rival gang members have been beheaded and burned – notably during prison riots – and bus-loads of civilians have been massacred to intimidate authorities and extort money from drivers. Suspected gang members dumped human heads in front of Guatemala's congress along with notes telling the government to halt a crackdown on organised crime."


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