August 27, 2009

El Justiciero - Vigilante Justice by Assassination

[[[[ Not for Grandma to read... ]]]]

Please note: The facts in the following account are a compilation of many conflicting stories and rumors. There is no source which gives facts, and the facts will never be known.

It's 8:20 pm on a street corner in Ecuador. I am sitting in an uncomfortable metal chair with two armed police officers. We are at Flamengo's eating homemade ice cream. I ordered dark chocolate with mint chocolate chip. They both took suit and we were happily enjoying our cones.

I ask about El Justiciero. I want to know what they think of him. Officer Patricio, a chief in Manta, begins to tell me about El Justiciero. I interrupt. I know who he was - That he was a vigilante assassin who gunned down uncountable dangerous drug traffickers, mafia, and gang members, that he stopped corruption and helped stabilize Manta. And that although he was murdered in public one month ago, no one knows who did it. Or at least is willing to put their life at risk to mention. Trooper Pablo, Patricio's partner for the night, says this is exactly what most believe. And that it is partly true.

It turns out that El Justiciero worked as part of the police investigation units; he worked for many divisions, and worked in cities all over Ecuador. The public might label him the third Boondock Saints, but he was really just a burly, intimidating man who was solving crime the old-fashioned way. How did he get to this place? His two brothers were murdered in front of him when he was a small boy. The murders were a result of a drug deal gone wrong. And so he went to Israel to be trained as an assassin, avowing to eradicate the heinous disease of crime that left his brothers as human sacrifices for the repercussions of man's fallacies. (Sin is disgusting.)

El Justiciero ran the streets unencumbered, completely liberated to kill as commanded. His weapons were the best, and his training in Israel left his marksmanship far more accurate than any local criminals.

This partnership was, for a time, ideal. The police told El Justiciero whom to kill, he assassinated them, the public praised El Justiciero and his ego inflamed, and the police were able to crudely resolve the criminal's effect on society. But it was this inflammation of ego which caused this delicate relationship to degenerate and ultimately be disastrous.

The people gave El Justiciero power. He was a legend, and remains to be. He felt as a god. He did control the fate of many. One month he assassinated 92 people. Patricio confirmed the rumor that El Justiciero indeed had murdered some who were "less bad," not having committed serious crimes, and certainly had also murdered some innocent people. I assumed this, thinking that how could someone possibly assassinate almost 100 people and be certain all were hard criminals? El Justiciero had his own plethora of informants. He gave the police names, and helped "resolve" many issues. But certainly one must wonder about the effectiveness of this mode.

El Justiciero began to stray from his role as a police partner and definitionally began as a vigilante. The police lost control of him. And the public gave so much control to him, and he was so well informed, that he extorted the police and told them that they must either obey his orders or he would blaspheme the police units and reveal vital intelligence.

He committed several fatal errors: He dismissed his many body guards. During one crime he lifted his mask. And he chose to give a radio interview and reveal his name.

In short time he himself was assassinated. It was at night and outside of his housing development. The bullets found were police bullets. Patricio, the police officer, tells me the reason why the police cannot be culpable. But the public seems certain the police assassinated El Justiciero because they were no longer able to control him.

And as the Ecuadorian infrastructure to combat and prevent crime is almost non-existent, his case remains open. Patricio confirmed that citizens know they would be seriously harmed if they denounced those guilty for the death of El Justiciero.

Although the citizens of my region Manabí certainly praise the work of El Justiciero, and although there is certainly a statistically measurable drop in crime, we must consider:

Is a vigilante assassin truly helping society, or does it simply further degenerate our world?

Those murdered were certainly not given the right to a fair trial.
Would it have been possible to ever capture those criminals? Even half of them? I doubt it. They would have continued running free on the streets of Ecuador.

I strongly recall being mugged by petty thieves, a knife raised over my head, and two black men screaming at me and my friend. It shook me terribly.
I can only wonder how many people these criminals have terrorized, and have terrorized so much more profoundly than me. How the innocent are traumatized, and how this memory will never leave their mind.

Do we have right to "purge" such criminals?
Is there ever a point of which the number of lives they have ended, either literally or in taking freedom, could ever justify terminating the lives of the criminals?

What a society I do live in.
And what a world we all live in.

Officer Patricio, Trooper Pablo, and I finish our cones. The ice cream was somehow unsatisfying as we walked away. My heart was heavy.


  1. Hi Rosie, this is an interesting post. Don´t you think that it´s material for a hollywood movie. Many people think that "El Justiciero" was a hero, i think that he was a criminal with a lot of power. Other ingredient in this drama is the participation of the "Justiciero" in Politic. He was runing for Portoviejo´s Major in the last elections, and he last in the four place with 20.000 votes. A lot of people think that this participation was a huge mistake for him because he had to lift his mask in order to make politicals meetings. Good post Rosie, have a nice week. GBU.

  2. And El Justiciero's story continues to grow! I was unaware that he was running for office.
    Hollywood movie: Most certainly. Get the copyright tomorrow.