Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vigilantism in Guatemala

The streets of Guatemala are safer thanks to citizens protecting each other.

The police have failed to protect the citizenry from the gangs that run rampant through the town of San Juan Sacatepequez; Gangs often force businesses to pay "war taxes," Small businesses that can barely afford to stay open are now forced to spend what little money they have on relocating, hiring personal guards, or just... shut down.

The Guatemalan prosecutor for human rights violations admits that "The state is weak. The people have no confidence. Neither in the security forces nor in the justice system."

But the people there are not hiding away in fear, not anymore.

Thanks to government sanctioned Social Cleansing, the streets are safer.

Yes, vigilantism has it's dark sides- such as the Honor Killings that occur in the Muslim world. Those are wrong. Why are they different from true vigilantism? The victims of the honor killings are only trying to express themselves. They aren't hurting others. The criminals, gang bangers, murderers, drug dealers, and thieves in Guatemala are part of an organized syndicate that has been extorting the helpless people of various slums for years.
And they've had enough.

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