Guard duty
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Latin Americans in Iraq

Norman Solano, shown in Basra, Iraq, in 2006, is one of thousands of Latin Americans who have taken jobs with U.S. contractors as security guards in Iraq and Afghanistan. Solano served from 2005 to 2007. (Courtesy Norman Solano)
Solano and his fellow Peruvian guards are shown in Basra in 2006. Most of the Latin American recruits are former soldiers and police officers, many with experience fighting leftist rebels. “They know that we come from a military tradition, that we are disciplined,” Solano says. (Courtesy of Norman Solano)
Solano, now back in Chimbote, Peru, struggles to make a living as a private guard. He would like to go back to Iraq, but said his request was rejected because of a “stress” condition he developed there. (Courtesy of La Republica)
Gregorio Calixto, a Peruvian who was seriously injured while guarding a U.S. installation in Basra, says it’s been a struggle to find work in Lima and feels that he deserves more disability pay and medical treatment than he is getting. (Flor Ruiz / For The Times)
Calixto, 27, spent a month in U.S. and British hospitals in Iraq recovering from the shrapnel wound to his thigh. He uses a hearing aide after his left eardrum was punctured during the mortar shell attack. Although he has no complaints about his treatment in Iraq, he says it’s been hard getting help back in Peru. (Flor Ruiz / For The Times)
Calixto is shown on the streets of his working-class neighborhood in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. The former army sergeant says he has no regrets about going to Iraq and would like to learn English and become an accountant one day. (Flor Ruiz / For The Times)