“Some Americans only see the Mexico depicted in sensational headlines.”
President Obama, Mexico City, May 3, 2013
It’s been quiet in Mexico. Too quiet:
Mexico’s mountain of unsolved disappearances continues to rise despite President Enrique Pena Nieto’s promise to tackle the problem which has devastated thousands of families since 2006.
The disappearance of four people within six days close to the US border recently exposed the cruel mix of state corruption and organised crime still blighting the lives ordinary folks on Mexico’s mean streets.
“Mexico today has the worst crisis of disappearances in Latin America, arguably the world,” Nik Steinberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera. “That there is still no single unified definition and many state authorities have no idea how to investigate disappearances shows the government has failed to take the problem seriously.”
The recent cluster of disappearances in and around the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, bears the hallmarks of previous cases documented by local and international human rights organisations.
In the early hours of July 29, Jose de Jesus Martinez Chigo and 17-year-old Diana Laura Hernandez Acosta were stopped by marines at a checkpoint while driving home.
A relative, one of several eyewitnesses, saw marines force the pair into a military vehicle and then drive them to a nearby base. Their families rushed to the base, but were told no civilians were being held.
The next day, 17-year-old Raul David Alvarez Gutiérrez was stopped by marines at a different checkpoint in the same city. Several eyewitnesses described to the teenager’s family how marines apprehended him. But the federal prosecutor’s office refused to accept the family’s complaint because the witnesses were too frightened to provide official statements.
Four days later and 40km away in the town of Colombia, Nuevo Leon, several witnesses saw 33-year-old Armando Humberto del Bosque Villarreal dragged from his car by marines as two local police officers watched on. He was witnessed being taken to the navy base on the edge of town, where a captain initially told del Bosque’s father his son was being questioned. An hour later, he denied the arrest had ever taken place. Another naval officer later claimed del Bosque was last seen driving to Nuevo Laredo, yet another said he had escaped during the arrest.
None of the victims have been seen since being detained. The navy, which answers directly to the president’s office, denies any involvement despite eyewitness accounts.
“There is no more information on their whereabouts or fate. The last we heard the cases were languishing with the PGR [Federal Attorney General] in Nuevo Laredo,” Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s Mexico researcher, told Al Jazeera.
“Prosecutors want the families to provide more evidence while they do nothing to further the investigations. They say the eyewitness accounts prove nothing as naval authorities deny responsibility. The military have simply stonewalled; the government has ignored all requests for an official response.”
In February 2013, Nieto’s government revealed that 26,000 people were reported missing or disappeared between 2006 and 2012 – on top of the 60,000 killed – and authorities had no idea what became of them.
26,000 disappeared? That’s terrible!
At least these guys won’t have that problem:
Shootings erupted over the weekend in three Mexican cities where drug gangs are fighting turf battles, killing at least nine people and wounding six more, officials said Sunday.
Gunmen on motorcycles arrived at a bar in the resort city of Cuernavaca and opened fire, killing three young men and a 22-year-old woman, the Morelos state prosecutor’s office said. The attack near midnight Saturday also injured four people, who were recovering in local hospitals under police guard, a common practice when officials consider victims’ lives still in danger.
In the northern city of Fresnillo, a group of armed men shot three people dead Saturday afternoon outside a convenience store. Federal and local police launched a wide search in the city of about 230,000 people that sits on a main drug trafficking route, but the attackers were still at large, the Zacatecas state attorney general’s office said in a statement.
In the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, attackers shot at a group standing outside a bar in the early hours of Sunday, killing two men and wounding two. The shooting came three days after two masked gunmen killed four people and wounded two others inside a bar in a nearby suburb. Authorities have not said whether the shooting were related, but the assailants in both attacks arrived in taxis.
The weekend bloodshed raised fears that drug cartel violence may stir up again in areas where authorities had already applauded a reduction in drug-related homicides.
Meanwhile, the gangs continue to plot new ways to take over corridors into the United States.
Authorities in the northern state of Coahuila said over the weekend that police detained nine boys, two young women and 12 men who had arrived from different cities in northern Mexico on behalf of the violent Zetas cartel seeking to seize control of a city near Monterrey from a rival gang. Police confiscated 17 high-caliber weapons and ammunition.
Any quotes from Octavio Paz on the subject, President Obama? Frida Kahlo have anything to say? No? Allow me to quote another famous Mexican:
We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!