Friday, May 16, 2008

"Special" Forces

My task this morning involved presenting three documents to the FELCC, or Fuerza Especial para la Lucha Contra el Crimen .... the Special Force for Fighting Crime.

That the police decided to create a "Special" Force for Fighting Crime says a lot about what the police do (or rather don't do). All over El Alto, in the poorer sections of La Paz, in hundreds of communities throughout the country you will see effigies hanging from light poles, trees, houses, anything. They are graphically depicted, bleeding and all with painted with the word "ladron" or "thief".

There are advertisements taken out in major newspapers that implore people not to engage in lynching, saying it is not "community justice," but rather a crime and a human rights violation that should be prosecuted. In several instances, under murky circumstances, several police have been kidnapped and lynched in remote communities.

So given all this, if the "Special" Force for Fighting Crime occupy themselves with wasting peoples time with paperwork, creating a denigrating and disrespectful environment and taking people's money for the pleasure, then what exactly is it that the rest of the police do?

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