Guatemalan Lynchings… symptoms of… what??

Lynchings. Mural depicting the Civil War. Chichicastenango, GuatemalaDuring my travel saround Latin America, I frequently read the local newspapers, both to improve my Spanish, and to learn more about each country.

One of the first headlines I read in Guatemala was ‘Aumentan los linchamientos en el pais.’ – ‘An increase of LYNCHINGS in the country’.


How could lynchings be happening in a country that was said to be on the road to recovery after more than 30 years of a brutal civil war, which finally ended in 1996.

The article went on to explain that the victims of the lynchings were generally people accused of stealing children in the North West of Guatemala – an area both strongly indigenous and very poor.

Growing up in a society where justice is taken for granted, and also with the seperation of the justice machine from the people, it is hard not to CONDEMN acts of taking the law into your own hands. It’s easy to see it as a step towards anarchy.

I had read that Guatemalans are sensitive about the theft of their children (understandably), and that in the past, some Japanese tourists had been killed by a mob after they were seen taking photos of yound children.

Thinking the lynching was a symptom of only the people’s sensitivty towards crimes against their children, it was not until I delved deeper that I began to understand it was representative of bigger hurdles in Guatemalan society.



Durante mi viajes sobre america latina, yo lei frecuentamente los periodicos local, al mismo tiempo para mejorar mi español, y para aprender mas sobre cada país.

Unos del los primeros titulares que yo lei en Guatemala fue ‘Aumentan los linchamientos en el pais’.


Como puede occurir eso en un pais que se dice que fue en el camino a recuperarse despues mas que 30 años de una guerra civil brutal que en fin terminó en el 1996.

El articulo sigue explicando que las victimas de los linchamientos eran generalmente personas que supuestomente robaron a niños en el noroeste de Guatemala… una region indigena y tambien muy pobre.