Even in a sea of savagery, awe-inspiring miracles exist. Guatemala is a country wracked with violence. With 52 murders per 100,000 people, it has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. It is possible for you to visit or live there without incident, but there is a much higher chance that you will encounter something criminal and violent. Extremely heavily armed narco-traffickers, former revolutionaries, gangs, corrupt officials and simple thugs seem to show up with far too much frequency. The recent past is no comfort. A horrific civil war wracked the country for 36 years before the signing of peace accords in 1996. Estimates are that an astonishing 200,000 people died in that conflict, with reports of other widespread and significant human rights violations. Though the fighting is over, the echoes of this past continue to reverberate today.