Photo: Lynching in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala
His Exc. Mgr. Mario Enrique Rios Mont, CM, Apostolic Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Izabal in Guatemala, has strongly condemned the behavior of the community of Puerto Barrios, that lynched two thieves caught stealing after they had been arrested for theft and the next day released.
“This attitude is contrary to the law of God that clearly says not to kill,” says the Bishop’s text, sent to Fides Agency. “The Vicariate is engaged in the permanent Continental Mission - he continues - so hopefully this period is an opportunity for repentance and conversion for a better quality of personal, family and social life. One cannot live a worthy life killing his brother.”
According to local media, the story dates back to last year when two people were stopped by the community of Puerto Barrios and handed over to the police for stealing in the area. For unknown reasons, these people were released the next day. Despite the warnings of the community, they committed the crime again this time beating up a local merchant, so the crowd took the law into their own hands.
More than 600 lynchings have taken place in Guatemala since the 1996 signing of peace accords that ended the country’s 36-year civil war.
The absence of police in isolated communities and pervasive distrust of the judicial system are the main reasons for the rising number of lynchings in the country, experts say.