"Are you determined to die?" aman asks a young man with a bloodied face tied with ropes from his neck. Minutes later, he would be doused with gasoline along with another young man and both would die this Saturday burned alive by an angry mob in a village in Guatemala.

It all began with the murder of a woman who sold clothes, identified as María Marcela Lux, 47, who was attacked in the morning with bullets inside her store, located in a shopping center in Sacapulas, in the department of Quiché, almost 200 kilometers from the capital. Despite being transferred by the Volunteer Firefighters in delicate condition to the regional hospital of Quiché, she died as a result of multiple injuries upon arrival at the health center.

The two attackers fled on a motorcycle, but shortly after they were intercepted in the San Jorge hamlet by a patrol of the National Civil Police that arrested them and transferred them back to the center of Sacapulas to bring them to justice, after both were identified after viewing the security cameras.

However, hundreds of people prevented it, since they extracted the two young men from the patrol car and dragged them by the legs and threw them to the ground where they beat them without the police officers doing anything to prevent it.

Later, as is usual in indigenous justice, they tied them with ropes all over their bodies and walked them around the village. A child even rebuked them by asking one of them "Who sent you"?, to which the young man, with a lost look and frightened face, did not answer.

"And if not, we are going to burn you," warned the boy infected by the angry mob that dragged with the rope the two young men, one of them bare-chested, while they tried in vain to avoid the pushes and blows that came from all sides.

All this was evidenced in different videos recorded by the villagers who lynched Víctor Manuel López Cifuentes, 25 years old and José Alberto Gutiérrez Copen, 23, both originally from Guatemala.

Some of those who participated in the mob tried to extract information from them where they came from and who their relatives were. One man even said to one of them as he was being tied up, "You, repent. Ask God for forgiveness.' As they were dragged with ropes tied around their necks, another man warned the mob: 'You're going to report them, take them quickly.'

Then, they were uploaded to a pickup and, from there, there were no more videos published until the local media reported on their social networks avideo in which the body of one of the alleged murderers of the woman is still burning. Shortly after and when the mob had already retreated, the police arrived at night at the place where the alleged hitmen were burned and killed, located in the village of Pacuch, in Sacapulas.

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office has already begun investigations to find out the reason why they committed the crime against the merchant, a sector plagued by extortion under threat of death from gangs in the Central American country. Now it remains to be seen if the Public Ministry will also investigate the neighbors who participated in the crime against the two young men in the purest style of Fuenteovejuna in 1476.

This type of 'justice' by its own hand is common in Guatemala in the face of the distrust of a part of the population in the justice agencies in the face of impunity for many crimes and the weariness of the endemic violence that takes more than 3,000 lives every year without any government having managed to reverse this situation.

Land of lynchings

In August of last year, a similar incident occurred between the village of Canich and the center of the municipality of Colotenango, 300 kilometers from the country's capital. Police had captured three men after residents handed them over after accusing them of kidnapping and murdering an 11-year-old boy.

The agents only had to transfer them to the corresponding court, so that it could decide whether to order their entry into preventive detention, as established by ordinary law. However, at night a mob of 6,000 people decided that the three captured were not going to face justice, but their 'justice', so, after beating them, they were doused with gasoline and burned alive until they died burned leaving unrecognizable, as happened this Saturday with the two young people.

The last lynching in Guatemala that had worldwide repercussions was that of Domingo Choc Che, in the Chimay village of the municipality of San Luis, 400 kilometers from the capital.

A mob accused this naturopathic doctor and indigenous spiritual guide of witchcraft, so they doused him with gasoline and set him on fire until he died charred in June 2020. For these facts, two women and a man were sentenced a year later to 20 years in prison without commutable for the crime of homicide.

The most relevant case occurred in 2015 when a 15-year-old girl was killed in the street in Rio Bravo, in Suchitepéquez, at the hands of 1,000 people who participated in the deadly aggression. On that occasion, they took her to the center of the town grabbing her hair and there they threw stones at her, beat her and ended up burning her alive in full view of everyone and without any police agent coming to her aid.

To commit this crime, she was accused of having participated, along with two other young people, in the murder of a motorcycle taxi pilot, although, as happened with the crime of the three alleged kidnappers, no one presented evidence against her or even a complaint to the police. This crime was recorded on video and posted on the Internet, where you could see without any censorship the moment in which she was doused with gasoline and died burned alive. "Pour more gas," one person shouted.