Gangs and Peace


Our person's name is Maritza. She was 11, 12, and 13 during her days in the gang, but when the book was published she was 17. Maritza was in a gang called the Mexicans. Maritza takes drugs all the time. Time and time again she is beaten by her mother and stepfather.

Where Maritza Lives

Maritza lives in Medellin, Colombia. Medellin is a slum city of Antioqia. Medellin has one of the highest murder rates in the whole world. Some of the people you would encounter in Medellin is assassins, drug dealers, urban militias, and gangs. Sometimes outside of Maritza's home there is gunfights. In fact once when she was 12 she got so high that she went out into a gunfight with an empty gun. A quote about this event from this book was "I felt as if I was in a movie. I was rolling around in the dirt pulling the trigger not realizing no bullets were coming out." Soon she felt a warm feeling in her leg. That is when Maritza saw she had been shot in leg. Her mother beat her very badly after this incident.
Caught On Tape: Gang Shooting In Colombia!

Family and Friends

Once her mother hurt Maritza so badly that she needed to cool down. So (not looking) she took a sip of bleach. Maritza throat and face swelled and she went to the hospital. The only person who went to talk to her at the hospital was Beto. Beto is another child at Children's Movement in Colombia. Beto is trying to make Maritza a better person, but she lies to him making it hard to do so. Speaking of lies Maritza grew up most of her life believing a man was her father, but one day he got so mad at her that he told her how when her mother got pregnant her real father ran away and that he was only her step father. When her mother and her stepfather are not yelling and hurting each other they are attacking Maritza. Another man in her life is Fabio. He was the one who got her into the Mexicans. Once when they were out wandering a high man asked Maritza to kill him. Fabio called in the gang to help them get out. Before all that they said that they would both die that night. She had some friends in the Mexicans, but most of them are dead now. We will explain the next block.

What Maritza has done to cause change

Once Maritza had the La Libertad and the Mexicans do a dance off. A kid from La Libertad won. A couple of weeks later the Mexicans tortured and killed a La Libertad member's 12 year old brother. Then open war was declared and soon after it was, most of the Mexicans were dead.

Ran away

Tuesday, Apr 2nd, 9pm

Medellin - Antioquia, Colombia

Medellin, Antioquia

Maritza ran away when she was 11. She came back and was beaten.

Maritza's goals in life

Maritza only had one goal. It was peace between gangs in her country.


She went to Holland in 2000 to represent the Children’s Movement with Beto and Juan Elias. Even though she is 17 she has only reached 8th grade. She still does drugs even though she told Beto she stopped. Fights are still going inside her house. Gunfights are still going on outside her house. She now thinks that the gangs will never be at peace.