Sunday, September 5, 2010

'I would sit there wondering how people could be that bad'

seized inside the brutal world of america s kidnapping capital518866540
by Jo Tuckman in Reynosa, Mexico
The Observer

Félix survived his ordeal at the hands of the Zeta cartel, one of Mexico's most ruthless drugs gangs. But he knows of many fellow migrants who suffered the same grisly fate as the 72 who were shot at an isolated ranch 70 miles from the border city of Reynosa.

"There are lots more dead migrants, they just haven't found them," says the 20-year-old Honduran, speaking at a shelter for migrants run by nuns in Reynosa.

Unlike those at the ranch who were travelling in one large group and kidnapped by an armed commando, Félix (whose name has been changed) was alone when he was picked up by a policeman. In an example of the official collusion that human rights activists have long claimed endangers migrants in Mexico, the officer took him to a Zeta safe house and left him there.

For a week he was a side-show for gunmen who beat him with planks and pistol handles and gave him electric shocks to intensify his screams when they put him on the phone to his poverty-stricken family, demanding money for his release. The rest of the time, he says, he was forced to watch his captors going about the more serious business of torturing information out of captured members of the Gulf cartel by cutting off different pieces of their bodies each day for about a week. Then they were killed, their mutilated bodies burnt to dust on the mountainside.

"They told me the same thing would happen to me, if the ransom didn't arrive," he says.

Félix's father in Honduras and brother in Atlanta managed to raised $5,000 and wired it to Mexico. The Zetas demanded as much again and his family stopped answering the phone.

During his two-month ordeal Félix says he was moved to six different safe houses. In one he was crammed into a swelteringly hot small room with 80 other migrants. In another there were 120. Every day they were taken out individually to be beaten.

"Sometimes I couldn't think of anything because of the pain," Félix says. "Other times I would just sit there wondering how people could be that bad." Every week, he says, about five migrants whose families had paid nothing were taken away. He assumes they were killed and their bodies destroyed.

He was offered his life in exchange for 12 weeks' intensive training in the use of heavy weapons in a jungle camp and a monthly salary of $5,000. After that, his captors said, he would be a member of the cartel with money to burn. Desperation prompted him to ask if he would be allowed to see his family again, but they said no: "They told me that the only way out of being a Zeta was death or jail."

Amazingly, he was spared. Dumped in Reynosa unable to walk and with his face so swollen he could hardly talk, somebody took him to the shelter. That was five months ago. Now he no longer vomits blood and his bruises have faded but he lives in limbo. He is reluctant to get himself deported to Honduras, where he feels he has no future, but too scared to try to cross illegally the US border, even if he had the money to pay a smuggler to show him the way. Many smugglers are linked to the cartels.

He doesn't dare go out into the streets of Reynosa, because he is terrified of roaming kidnappers and the battles that periodically break out on the streets between the Zetas, the Gulf cartel and the military. In April, gunmen with "Gulf cartel" printed on their bulletproof jackets broke into the building where Félix is staying and lined everybody up against the wall. When they didn't find who they were looking for they left.

Sister Ligia, one of the nuns at the shelter loses her habitual sprightliness for a moment: "That massacre at the ranch. That's just the tip of the iceberg."

9 comments:

  1. Thank you BB for keeping us posted and it is nice to see that Calderon is making some headway in his War on Drugs

    ReplyDelete
  2. What is going on with BLOG DE NARCO?
    twice in 2 weeks...many rumors but I do not buy the format-update excuse this time.

    anyone hear?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have you seen this video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9otEG3v3h4A

    ReplyDelete
  4. regarding blog de narco: There was a pretty nasty blogging feud going on between the admins from sinful.mx and blog de narco.

    It started in early april when sinful posted something about blog de narco stealing his material and photos..BDN basically told the guy to go f@ck himself. It kept going and on September 3, Sinful put up a new post about BDG sabatoging his site by overloading his broadband. In this post http://sinfulmx.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/el-blog-del-narco-ataca/#comments (which has since been modified) Sinful posted the BDN admins full name, photo, and what school he goes to.

    In the BDN twitter acount various tweets came up:

    BlogdelNarco.com regresa.. en unas horas ya podrán entrar. Disculpen las molestias.
    about 6 hours ago via web

    Si alguien quiere seguir con el proyecto, mandar información a blogdelnarco@hotmail.com, Redactar el por que, y la experiencia. Gracias
    about 8 hours ago via web
    Reply Retweet

    Gracias a todos por su apoyo! BlogdelNarco.com cierra sus puertas!
    about 22 hours ago via web

    The blog is now up again, but judging by the comments on the post, many seem to think it has definitely changed hands and is now under other administration.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ovemex relayed this info:

    Sinful put up a new post about BDG ... In this post ...(which has since been modified) Sinful posted the BDN admins full name, photo, and what school he goes to.

    This is "he's out of his mind" wrong.
    Who will talk to him now?
    Who will he turn on next?
    If he knows you or you know him, is your photo, name and number going to be published?

    Hope nobody here knows him.

    Valentina could probably enumerate just how wrong that was.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @anon 8:08 p.m.

    I agree..Horribly wrong!!!!! I understand a blogger spat and war of who knows more about computer hacks, virus, etc, but publicizing BDN's name and info was equivalent to a death sentence sans judge and jury.

    I hope Sinful had nothing to do with the change in BDN. Hopefully it WAS just a site glitch.

    Sad thing is, we wouldn't even know if we did know him. HE remains anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  7. BDN is playing it down...not so w/sinful & they continue to post the school in MX the Adm @ BDN attends...pretty bitter..I accept the rift & war of words but to out the kid, there is no forgiving that and all respect has to be gone forever for sinful..

    Stunning turn of events

    ReplyDelete
  8. Need to find out who he is for safety's sake.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Que dios proteja a los inocentes, y ke cargue de conciencia a quienes la kitan. ..no puede ser siga asi

    ReplyDelete

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