BOLIVIA: Black Ballot

Four men convicted of assassinating (in 1917) General Jose Manuel Pando, onetime (1899-1904) President of Bolivia, were gathered together at La Paz to draw lots to see who among them should die for the crime. Loud and long did the daughters of the murdered man cry out that all four were guilty. But the court directed that the lottery proceed. Three white and one black ballot were placed into a black hat—the black one signified death.

The four prisoners, amid hysterical excitement in the court, calmly put their hands into the hat...

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