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Guatemala's bombero volunteers pick up the bodies

A tarp baring the insignia of Guatemala City's "volunteers" covers a drug-trade murder victim. Photo/Myles Estey

Gruesome Guatemala

While covering the war in El Salvador back in the 80s, Rick remembers well bumping into a Canadian diplomat visiting the capital from his post in neighbouring Guatemala.

The city of El Salvador was under seige at the time.

The nights were a flickering horror show of screams and gunfire and phosphorous flares strobing wildly in the night sky. By day, there were running battles and bodies in the street.

So Rick asked, "why on earth would you choose to visit...this...when you could be in Guatemala City?"

He's never forgotten the answer.

"It's safer here" he said, kidding only a little. In his view, a war zone was safer than the Guatemalan capital. But if it was true then, it's unfortunately still true all these years later.

Drug-driven street violence is so bad, they have thousands of volunteers  driving around each night just tending to the carnage, and Canadian journalist Myles Estey is with them to witness it.  Listen to Myles' dispatch

Hear the rest of this week's Dispatches

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