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Guatemalans hunker down against rising violence

GRAPHIC WARNING: This post contains graphic images which some viewers may find disturbing.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

A woman sweeps the floor of a barber shop in Guatemala City. Guatemala City is a place where people live in fear.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Passengers travel on a packed public bus in Guatemala City.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Police officers take cover from the rain under a plastic sheet in Guatemala City.

 

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Evangelical pastor Esbin Bar Flores, preaches on a microphone as Noe Laria holds his speaker in La Terminal popular market in Guatemala City.

AP reports: GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala City is a place where people live in fear.

Dire poverty, gang violence and drug trafficking, and the failure of the government to provide a safety net, have contributed to the creation of a society where people isolate themselves from each other and make sure others keep their distance and where many seek solace in religion.

Squalor and poverty are constants in this city of 3 million. Paint peels from walls. Shantytowns sprawl along the sides of mountain ravines.

"We're a sad people, living in a depression," says Marco Antonio Garavito, a psychologist and director of the Mental Hygiene League. "It's hard for us to help each other because we live inside a shell that keeps us away (from others). We have a hard time with physical contact, with giving a good handshake.

Read the full story here.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Homeless men gather at the La Terminal popular market in Guatemala City.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Blanca touches the hair of an exhumed body as she walks through the the main cemetery with her grandchildren in Guatemala City. In Guatemala bodies are exhumed if relatives don't pay, six years after the burial, to renew the graveyard permission for another period of 4 years. After sending a telegram, if there is no payment, cemetery workers destroy the individual graveyards, and throw the skeletons into a collective graveyard.