A word on Guatemalan justice

It’s not easy being Guatemalan. The rural justice system here ensures that.

I’d rather be a murderer, rapist, or habitual thief any of the other places in the world I’ve been. Get caught in Guate, it’s “disenvivrement,” the Spanglish word I just coined for Mayan style justice.

It ranges from public beatdowns to public hangings. Or public burnings at the stake. Shots to the head? Quick and easy.

For indigenous folk here, the drama of it all is half the point. If Mayan hubby needs a deterant to not kill his Mayan wife for sleeping with the field hand, what better than a body purposefully left in the street or dangling for a weekend from makeshift gallos? All enforced by a mob of townfolk.

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Guatemala’s national beer is called Gallo.

It’s an extreme example of the concept behind topos (speedbumps) in Latin America, which are largely used in lieu of speed limits. Slow your roll, or we fuck up your car.

I’ll say one thing…it’s much simpler and swifter. Potential for abuse or tragic misconvictions? Sure. But what misconviction isn’t tragic? I would say due process is more easily manipulated than frenzying a mob enough to kill someone. But in the US and similar, we’re ashamed of justice and hide behind thick walls our own version of capital punishment…the same end result, but perhaps a fraction of the value for society?

In the name of being civilized, we do relinquish much of our more primal instincts to reason and rule of law.

I guess the day that human instinct takes back its dominant influence from reason and rule of law is the day we’re no longer civilized…or that we rebel against the offending civilization.

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