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Residents of a town on the border with El Salvador leave their homes for fear of gang members - Prensa Libre

Residents of a town on the border with El Salvador leave their homes for fear of gang members – Prensa Libre

The village of Las Flores, in Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, Moyota, Gutiaba, is located near the Paz River, which separates Guatemala and El Salvador, and its inhabitants lived in harmony until a few days ago; However, after hardening The anti-gang plan by Najib Boukil’s government changed everything, Some even left their homes.

“There were threats in the border area from gang members who tried to force them to rent or… the expulsion of Guatemalans from the border areas from their homes, The Minister of the Interior, Napoleon Barrientos, said last Monday.

Because of the above, a team from Noticiero Guatevisión and Prensa Libre traveled more than 150 kilometers to the east of the country to speak with the families living in that village and learn about their concerns.

According to the people, they did not leave their homes because of the threats as it was said, but because of the fear of the arrival of the gang members, as during the day men have to leave their wives and children alone, and this causes them to do so. anxiety, as in the case of Roberto, a 49-year-old who has been in this place his whole life.

He recounts that he left his home on March 25 with his seven children and four grandchildren, in addition to his wife. DrThey stayed for 10 days in a rented house in Colonia Antigua, It is located a few miles from the house. There I paid Q400 for rent.

This Tuesday they returned home with their nephew’s family, under a promise by the authorities to conduct joint patrols of the Army and the National Civil Police (PNC), although he notes that at other times they see how Migrants and suspected criminals from El Salvador cross the river.

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“Our departure was for the safety of the children and wives, because we went to work two kilometers from our jobs, and here the women were left alone and isolated with the children,” said Roberto.

He added that they returned because they were offered to increase security in the area, and also confirmed that they had received support from the army and the Palestinian National Council.

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It is a chaotic situation one lives in and although they did not tell us anything, What one wants is to protect oneself at the sight of danger.” said Roberto’s nephew, who preferred not to be identified.

In addition, he said, there is no telephone signal in the village, thus contacting the security forces is complicated.

To reach the village of Las Flores, one must travel more than 150 kilometers from the capital, then travel about six kilometers of dirt road and then more than 600m of going down the paths to get to where there are three houses on the banks of the Rio Paz.

Fishing, growing beans, corn and sesame, and tending livestock are the economic activities that allow them to survive, as there are no job opportunities in this sector.

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A few meters from Roberto’s house, built of pajariki (clay bars), lives his nephew, who also returned home with his family. He notes that he was not threatened either, but for prevention decided to spend 10 days in another house in the neighborhood of Antigua.

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It indicates that there is fear in the place due to the current situation, He notes that the authorities abandoned the place because they did not conduct routine patrols.

During the tour, it was clear that there was only one PNC checkpoint in Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado and a J8 unit and soldiers deployed in the Las Flores village area.