Monday, October 25, 2010
"The Government Has Failed"
Families of the victims retrieve the bodies for funeral services.
The savagery of the ‘narco-terrorists’ was on display as the families of the deceased reportedly received death threats, specifically attacks on churches and cemeteries if the victims were not buried within one hour of starting funeral services.
Citizens of Juarez condemn slaughter, demand decisive action from authorities
Juarez residents and representatives of civil society condemned the slaughter that occurred Friday in the colonia Horizontes del Sur in which 14 young people died and 15 people remain hospitalized.
Voices of family members, citizens and leaders rose up to demand justice for the victims who were mostly students and members of religious groups.
Through of social networking sites and comments on the on-line site of the El Diario de Juarez newspaper, outrage and cynicism was expressed and almost universal agreement was reached that security strategies implemented in the City by federal, state and municipal authorities "are a failure."
"This is no feud between drug gangs, this is genocide”
"Poor Ciudad Juárez, the bloodbath you have endured from narcos, federales, special forces or whatever they call themselves”
"AUTHORITIES, STOP ALL THESE MURDERS AGAINST INNOCENT PEOPLE THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NARCOS…...ALL WE HAD LEFT WERE REUNIONS AMD VISITS IN OUR HOMES AND THEY HAVE EVEN TAKEN THAT AWAY….END THIS NOW…..”
"Now what Calderón? Are you going to build us another stadium?”
Were some of the comments posted by readers of the newspaper.
The director of “Strategic Plan Juárez”, the civic group dedicated to the social and economic development of Juarez, Miguel Fernández Iturriza admitted “I have no doubt that we have not found a way to correct this situation, the strategies have failed."
Leticia Chavarria, a member of the Citizen’s Medical Comittee, said that if there is no real work to correct the strategies against the violence from the ground up, these acts will continue.
Almada Hugo Mireles, professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), added it is difficult to make a comment because there are so many terrible incidents that there is little left to say. "There are so many massacres ...It is clear that the strategy has failed. "
They were members of the Church
At least five of the 14 victims of the slaughter were active parishoners of the Catholic Church Lord of Miracles (Señor de los Milagros) and one of them even coordinated the program for confirmations.
According to Father Roberto Ramos, Luis Alberto Vital Maximiano victim, aged 17, had for months prepared other young people for confirmation and, indeed, had expressed a desire to enter the seminary next year.
Luis Alberto Vital, his brother Roberto, and his friends Luis Angel Chavira Lopez and Sotero and Ismael Reyes Ricario, also brothers, were members of the church sponsored “matachines” Native American based religious dance group “Juan Pablo Segundo”.
"They're all good guys ... always danced in the festivities, in the feasts of the church, some of them were catechists, members of our youth ministry," said father Ramos.
"They were in circumstances beyond their control...innocent blood was shed," added the pastor.
On Sunday, vigils were held in different places for the the remains of the 14 victims of the slaughter. All family members tearfully demanded justice by the authorities and clamored for action.
The bodies of the two pairs of brothers killed in the slaughter arrived shortly after nine o'clock Sunday morning outside the church of the Lord of Miracles, in the Riveras del Bravo area of Juarez.
The silence that had elapsed in the opening minutes was broken by the cries as the bodies entered the church.
Once inside the church, the four coffins were opened and as each body was viewed, families and friends fell and broke into lamentations.
Vincente, the elder brother of Luis Alberto and Roberto Vital Maximian, fell beside the coffins of his brothers. "They left me alone!" He screamed.
"I want justice ... my kids were good kids, they did not deserve to end up like this ... they never even went out," said Austreberta Vital, 47, employee of a maquiladora in Juarez who arrived 15 years ago from Morelia. She is the mother of Luis Alberto and Roberto.
Vincent, the only son left for Austreberta, wept and writhed against the bodies of his two brothers. "How I wish that the government had feelings, that they at least do something. That they feel what we’re feeling right now," he said.
Burial amidst the fear
The bodies of eight of the 14 victims of the slaughter that took place this weekend in South Horizons were buried Sunday afternoon amid fears caused by a series of threats.
Family and friends came to the cemetery of El Sauzal for the burial of Roberto and Luis Alberto Vital Maximian, 17 and 14 years respectively; Sotero and Ismael Reyes, 22 and 19, and Luis Angel Chavira Lopez 20, and Claudia Camargo Aylin Aguilera, 13.
Meanwhile, in San Rafael cemetery loved ones buried the sisters Perla and Daniela Figueroa Garcia, 22 and 16 years, in the midst of pain and tears.
Strangers threatened to attack the mourners if all the victims were not buried within one hour, which accelerated the burials because of the possibility that the act of intimidation was real.
Too much innocent blood was shed on Friday.
The State of Chihuahua Prosecutor's Office has reported that an individual known as "El Raton" (the mouse), alledgedly a member of the Artistas Asesinos gang, was the person being targeted by the gunmen involved in Friday's mass homicide.
According to witnesses "El Raton" was present at the party and was wounded in the shooting. He is being sought by authorities on both sides of the border as a "person of interest" who may have information on the identity of the killers.
Thew Artistas Asesinos gang is affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel. According to witnesses, the gunmen responsible for the murders Friday night were dressed in the "gangbanger" style popular with the Barrio Azteca gang that serve as soldiers for the Juarez Cartel
Police drawing of "el Raton"