We have a saying; vives por tu barrio, mueres por tu barrio, you live for your neighborhood and you die for your neighborhood. There is no one, no one, who is a member in a pandilla, a gang, whom has not killed. No one. He, who says differently, is lying.
With 6000 murders per year the people of Guatemala live in constant fear. On the streets the feared gangs Mara Salvatrucha and Dieciocho are in charge. They support themselves through robberies and the protection racket, and despite tougher efforts from the police, the gangs have only grown stronger.
The estimate is that there are a 100 000 to 140 000 mareros in Guatemala, El Salvador and the Honduras today, but gang showdowns and a severe discipline inside the gang, allow few to pass their thirties. Although the gang began by being the security they never had had, it finally often turns out to be a threat in itself.