Ride-Along with Volunteer Ambulance Drivers on Front Lines of America's Drug War
Zach Weissmueller - ReasonTV
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June 26, 2014
Guatemala is a major drug corridor between South America and Mexico. Narco gangs thrive in rural areas and along the southeastern border, while street gangs who profit from extortion, kidnapping, and bribery dominate the urban centers. As a result, the country's capital, Guatemala City, has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
This is the environment in which Guatemala's bomberos voluntarios - a phrase that roughly translates to "volunteer firefighters" but really encompasses a group of first responders who act as firefighters, ambulance drivers, and paramedics - operate every day.
When Reason TV visited the headquarters of Guatemala City's official, government-sanctioned and -funded first responders - the bomberos municipales - officals downplayed the city's drug and violence problems and insisted that Guatemala is a safe place to live and visit. But the voluntarios, who receive some money from the government but seemingly maintain enough independence to avoid the same level of political pressure, had a different story to tell.
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