Monday, January 23, 2012

Imprisoned on San Victorino Plaza!

Imprisoned on Plaza San Victorino. 
During a bike tour today we passed by these young men in a juryrigged jail beside the Butterfly sculpture.

What's strange about this scene?
The scene is disturbing for several reasons: the informal holding pen suggests vigilantiism and lack of rule of law, suggesting other times in other nations where people were detained arbitrarily because of the way they looked or who they were, and subjected to public humiliation. The guys I saw inside the pen certainly did not look like people I'd invite over for dinner.

Other people on the plaza suggested that these youths had been detained because they weren't carrying identification or were thieves. But they didn't seem to know, or particularly care. If the youths had committed crimes, why weren't they under arrest, instead of enclosed here like stray dogs?

Bogotá certainly has a crime problem. But one would hope that, especially with a new leftist mayor in charge, it'd find less repressive and more constructive ways to address the problem, such as trying to get these kids into school or work.

Until a recent court decision, the military would stop young men in public places and ask for proof that they'd done the obligatory military service. If they didn't have it, it was off to the army.

Related blogppost: Civil Rights for Suspects?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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