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Guatemala | Refugees—fleeing violence, or displaced by climate change—finding new path as PA guards

At night in Mirador National Park in northeastern Guatemala, Raul Gomez falls asleep surrounded by the calls of nocturnal animals padding their way through the jungles of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Gomez is a ranger there, helping to keep poachers and loggers out of the remote park — one of Guatemala’s most pristine — which is home to jaguars, harpy eagles, and the sprawling ruins of once-mighty Mayan cities now enveloped by vines and greenery.

It’s a far cry from Gomez’s life as a bricklayer just two years ago, when he had to go on the run from his village in Honduras after local maras (gang members) delivered him an ultimatum: join us, or die.

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