Vigilantes Lynch Alleged Thief in Bolivia
March 4, 2009 - Latin American Herald Tribune

LA PAZ – A man was lynched by vigilantes in the Bolivian city of El Alto after he evidently was surprised while allegedly burglarizing a home, Erbol radio reported citing police on Monday.

Authorities said that around 10 a.m. the body of a man in his early 30’s was found half-naked and tied to a post after apparently having been beaten to death in reprisal for trying to burglarize the home.

The lynching of criminals caught “red-handed” is a relatively frequent occurrence in Bolivia’s Andean region, where it’s not unusual to find straw-men, stuffed dummies and the like hanging from street lights as a warning to criminals, especially in El Alto, which is adjacent to La Paz.

Some groups associate lynchings with so-called “community justice,” as people here call the practice traditionally followed by indigenous communities where few or no state law enforcement personnel are stationed.

However, the practice is condemned and rejected by the government of President Evo Morales, who promoted the institutionalization of community justice actions in the new constitution, as well as by some representatives of the country’s Indian communities. EFE