Sunday, November 16, 2008

Send In The Clowns.......

Some time ago, I promised to publish happy photos of life in El Salvador. Unfortunately, I am going to have to break that promise.

Photo1: Slain Clown in El Centro

This clown, 33 year old Geovanni Guzman, known as "Piecito", was shot 13 times in a place in the city center known as Parque San Jose, right in front of the old church there. I said to myself, "13 times, someone must have been really mad at this clown". And, I was correct. Witnesses told us that he was a robber and thief. Turns out, a number of the clowns that work on the public buses here are actually spotters for gangs, or else rob people when they get off. They come on the bus, do some schtick, see who has money or goods, and then call to the gang members. This clown was shot at about noon, three times in the face, and 10 times in the body.
As I left the scene, a group of what looked to be gangsters asked what I was doing. "Taking pictures of the dead clown" I said. They asked to see the photos, and as they were looking at them on my camera, one said "So somebody finally killed that clown".

Photo2: Brothel Floor

I have been working on a story about sex workers in El Centro for some time now, and it is because of this that I haven't been publishing much on the blog. The stories of these women are fascinating, horrifying, and sad. This is a photo of the floor of one of the rooms of the brothel, with a prostitute (almost certainly underage) in the process of buying drugs, surrounded by used condoms. I asked the owner why they didn't clean it up, why there were used condoms all over the place. She told me that when the women go on drug binges, they basically can't wait to buy drugs, so they take the used condoms off the men, drop them wherever, and hustle out to buy crack. Another lovely aspect to prostitution and sex tourism. The bright side is, at least they were using condoms. I guess.

Photo3: Slain Bus Cobrador (Fare Collector), El Centro
Photo4: Bullet That Killed The Cobrador
Photo5: Child In Front of Bus With Slain Cobrador

Another round of bus driver killings have been occuring here, with the government doing ABSOLUTELY ZERO to prevent it. Here, a 24 year old assistant to the bus driver, the person who collects money and is known as the cobrador, was shot in the afternoon in El Centro. The casing of the exact bullet that killed him is shown in the next photo. The motive for the crime was supposedly extorsion, as it always is. He was shot in the city center from outside the bus, and the bus driver attempted to drive to the hospital, but the cobrador died after a couple of blocks so the bus driver stopped the bus........and fled.
For whatever reason, this is the 5th murder in two weeks that hasn't made any of the papers, not a note.
The last photo is a child watching the scene unfold. The bullethole from the shot that killed the cobrador is to the right of his eye, in the doorway of the bus.


dedmond979 said...

There is something extremely disturbing and bizarre about seeing a dead clown lying on the ground. Almost seems like something in a movie or a scary dream. Love your blog, keep up the good work. Your pictures are deep and moving.

expatwizard said...

To dedmond979 back in the 1980s in Guatemala I was a member of the ex pat 'community' as it was in Guatemala City, one female ex pat Bar owner..still there by the way...coined the phrase "Guatemala The Movie" people would come from "States" and ask why I had no "fear" Answer because I moved to the '3rd World' from the '5th World' the crime ridden NYC of 1985, now I'm back in San Salvador, the scariest thing for me is crossing the street now, with these crazy drivers on their cell phones, people on the street here or using public transport are very polite and reserved. By the way, friends of mine on the Left of the political spectrum in El Salvador have told me if FMLN wins (Funes) teh Presidency criminals are NOT going to be coddled USA ACLU style.
Not a dream, a reality thousands have to face daily. Yes teh pictures are moving, I kne that clown from Ruta 2C, 30, etc. out of Metrocentro.