Normally, Ilave is a fairly tranquil town, close to the shores of Lake Titicaca and to the frontier with Bolivia. This tranquility was shattered when the mayor of Ilave, Cirilo Robles, was lynched at the end of April by angry townspeople. Robles had been accused of the corrupt use of municipal funds. He had previously been thrown out of the community and told not to return, but did so clandestinely in a bid to out-fox his political enemies. For weeks, the people of Ilave resisted attempts by the central government to restore order.
The events in Ilave underscore the often tense relations between municipal
authorities in Peru and the communities they are supposed to serve. It is by no means an isolated case, although the brutal way in which Robles was killed is exceptional. Often mayors are elected with only a small minority of votes, and then proceed to use municipal resources to favour their own supporters at the expense of the community as a whole. Also, the cumbersome official procedures for getting rid of unwanted mayors makes it difficult to force those who lose public confidence to resign.