Across Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of people supporting the use of vigilantism, an indicator of distrust in law enforcement and judicial institutions, is significantly increasing according to a recent study by Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project. Although the study, which is based on surveys from 2004 and 2014, shows that most people throughout the Americas do not support vigilantism, the findings highlight challenges in U.S. security assistance to many countries in Latin American and the Caribbean.
“This country needs to strengthen its capacity and will to carry out criminal investigations. That is the key to everything,” said an expert on violence in Honduras who had spent years working in justice agencies. In a December 2014 visit to Honduras by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and the Center for International Policy, we heard the assessment everywhere we turned.