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Glue The Huelepegas of Managua

PHOTO ESSAY BY TREVOR SNAPP

“At first I felt great sniffing glue. I felt I could do anything; nowI feel nothing.” Sergio has been
addicted to glue for more than half of his 20 years. He is one of thousands of glue-sniffing youth,
called Huelepegas, who live in the streets of Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city. “The good thing
about the glue is that it distracts you. I was always beaten by my stepfather, and it helped me get
through that.”

Glue sniffing is common among street children in Central America, many of whom have fled abuse
at home. Glue is the only affordable escape from constant and brutal violence at the hands of police,
shopkeepers and gangs. It also empowers the children, initially at least, in the face of their new
reality on the street. Though most of the children realize that the glue’s neurotoxins kill brain cells
and damage internal organs, in the streets and markets of Managua it’s worth the risk.

 

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Speak is an online magazine that publishes and discusses rights media pieces. Rights Media is the process of writing, collecting, editing, producing and distributing media that creates societal dialogue on human rights issues. Speak magazine mainstreams human rights issues through, progressive, balanced and objective reporting into everyday news stories.

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