– I can name a list of all my friends who have been killed. It’s not just one, two, or three, there are more than 20 people with whom I have had a very, very close relationship.
Carlos Catun (31), who goes by the nickname Gato, talks about murder and threats as if it is completely natural.
The name Gato, means cat in Spanish, and he got it because of his green eyes.
His friend Nicolai Lopez no longer has the count of how many times Gato has called him to tell him that another friend has been killed.
The dancer shows little emotion, but of course it hurts too. In 2009, his brother was killed, and a few years later he left his daughters because he feared for his own life.
His biggest dream is to see them, but that dream balances on a short line.
According to Catun, it is because he was trying to do something positive for children and youth in Guatemala.
He stole the soldiers.
Carlos Catun grew up in the city of Guatemala, a city where a gang cartel reigns.
Like most people, he started playing football with his friends. But on the football field, he was more impressed by his friend’s celebration, than the goal itself.
The player took the somersault, and Catun was bottom-bound. He had to learn this.
He went to the player and asked where he could learn the same tricks. Then he got a card that said La Bodeguita de Centro, and took the trip there.
The city opened up a new value for Catun. This was the city of art. People break to the DJ’s tones, while others spray art on walls with graffiti.
– I fell in love, Catun said.
It went from one training session a week, to training every day. Catun and his friends went to parks, to practice breaking and phenomenal movements. Mother’s old mattress was turned into fat, and it was used diligently.
He took the dance, but it was not a matter of course that he should be allowed to do it.
The dance attracted attention. And there are people in the country who do not like young people choosing that direction, Catun says.
Fear of life
The positive energy from the dance spread in the environment. In the area of Catun, zone 6, the gang that called itself 18 ruled, but a little further out ruled one of the world’s most dangerous gangs.
The sound of the sounds from the parks made children and young people want to join in, but they did not like the cartel, which found new recruits in the young people.
– They were looking for a solution in life, and saw us as breaking in the street, and holding together, says Catun.
– They did not want the young people to join dance groups and the like, because it means that we take the soldiers from them.
This led to a split in society. Young people who wanted to dance, play football, play music and skateboard, and those who chose to follow the gang environment.
– The gangs involved children from the age of 11-12, Catun said.
The dance became a threat, and in the end Catun understood how dangerous it was.
Had to flee
After Gato had taught children to dance for several years, the cartel got enough.
– They sent a kid after me, who gave me a cell phone. Then I got threats like “you do not know who you are yelling at”, “we will kill you. We know where you go and where you go ». The same gang killed my brother, tell Gato.
His brother was only sixteen years old when it happened. The siblings had agreed to meet later in the evening, to dance. Gato just had to stop by to check on his daughter first.
It was his then girlfriend who came with the message:
– They shot your brother.
Today, Gato does not know the reason why his brother was killed. The family has not investigated the murder either, it is just what happens in Guatemala.
Nevertheless, the murder was to spread fear in the dance community. That same year, Gato lost several of his friends – and small, promising dancers chose to withdraw from the environment, for fear of life.
When Gato himself was threatened with death by one of the world’s most dangerous gangs, he had to seek refuge in another city.
Now he lives in Norway, and in June he competed at NM week, but the biggest dream was not to win.
– I have a dream of being reunited with my family, with my children. I’m afraid something’s going to happen and I’m not there. It can happen at any time, says Gato.