Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tired of Interviewing Victims

El Universal
By: Salvador Camarena














"Desaparecidos" from Coahuila

I've had enough of interviewing victims. I'm tired of hearing them fall apart at the end of the conversation, watching them as they tremble with impotence and fear in the knowledge that no one will help them, not one authority will step before them and respond to their cries.

At first I though that opening up the microphones and putting the victims and/or their families on the air would shake things up, make everyone see these are victims, not just murdered numbers. By making the victim's testimonies public, I sought to to prevent them from becoming simple statistics, just another scene in this tragic landscape.

I wanted their voices to draw us closer to these lives that have been cut short: Like that of Genoveva Rogers, the good daughter who in her spare time volunteered for the Red Cross in Culiacan and was shot to death in February when gunmen entered the clinic to assassinate a rival who was receiving medical attention. We put her father on the air, we grieved with him.

















Maria Genoveva Rogers Lozoya being laid to rest in Culiacan, Sinaloa

It seemed like a good idea, to make us hurt, to make us all feel the raw pain, that nobody evade reality, that we be obligated to listen. I say it seemed, because today, it just sounds useless. It's frustrating. Each horrid case surpasses the previous, the only constant is sadness, pain and rage.

We are never lacking victim's testimonies. Among Alejandro Marti's "Si no pueden, renuncien/ If you can't, resign" and Nelson Vargas' "No tienen Madre/ You have no shame, no conscience." fell the cheers and tears of the classmates, friends, and family of Lucila Quintanilla, a 21 year old visual arts student shot to death in a crowded downtown Monterrey plaza Wednesday evening.






















Spontaneous vigil at the site of Lucila's murder

If we sought the "voices" of Lucila's friends and family, would they tell us something about Lucila that could change our lives? Would we be moved by hearing about Luci's academic achievements, love of volleyball, cute smile, traveling adventures, and her dreams of becoming a graphic designer? Would we somehow, magically emerge from our state of indolence by hearing the biography of a young girl who was shot down by a lead shower Wednesday evening? I just don't think we care anymore, honestly.

Although my pessimism has been brewing for some time, it reached a boiling point over the weekend. How is it a tragedy involving 33 miners has mobilized an entire country, but in Mexico no one has even pressured authorities to recover the 27 men from Michaoacan who were kidnapped over a week ago in Acapulco and Colima? The Chileans went to any and all lengths necessary to find the manpower, machinery and technology which would insure the successful rescue of their men. Have any of us even prayed?

On Monday, before really thinking about the futility of interviewing more victims, we had a family member of one of the kidnapped men from Michoacan on the air. At the end of the interview, he asked permission to leave a message. The relatives of these 20+ missing men all came to the same conclusion as The Juarez Journal newspaper: Why go to the authorities if they have no power?

Instead this man left a message for the criminals: "I ask of you, the people who are holding them captive, with all of my heart, to release them. You must know by now that they are humble people, they are working people who don't have or want any problems with anybody. And if they are listening, that they know we love them and we, their families, are all here waiting for them."

I don't want to interview victims, I'm done. I'd rather put on the air people who are fed up and are tired of the excuses given by inept authorities, such as the Governor of Nuevo Leon who after Wednesday's downtown Monterrey tragedy, made light of the situation by stating these violent public attacks were not unique to his state, they happen everywhere.

How comforting those words must be to Lucila, they must bring great peace of mind to her family. What a relief.

30 comments:

  1. Narco-terrorism should be punishable by death.

    Execute those involved in drug violence in mexico and you won't have to house them or fool with them getting out of prison somehow. Execute them because they addict children. Execute them and send them straight to the rotting stench of hell where they belong - where their worm burns forever.

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  2. You have made a difference. You are part of the heart and soul of Mexico. People are listening, some of us cant do much but i do pray for the good people of Mexico everyday. Rest your heart and stay safe, May God Bless You and Watch Over You.

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  3. You can't give up. Giving up would be giving up on those who don't have a voice. God Bless you for having the heart and strength to do what you do. and like anonymous 6:17 said "you are making a difference" because there is people like us that hear you and WE pray for the end to this violence.

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  4. Ovemex Mijo...
    We become somewhat desensitized to the photos of violence, not that we stop caring and getting angry, but one sees so much. then one photo will simply wrench the heart because of what it represents. The grad students @ Mty Tech, Miro, Lucila..WHen I see this I am reminded that another of the best of Mx the hope for the future is lost. That cuts to the core.

    I sent a mom w/her 8 yr old son to MTY, he is becomming blind from his brain cancer. She said there was a daytime shooting and she does not want to return, she would rather "get a bad doctor in Coahuila, and be safe". How sad is that?

    secondly,

    I was wondering, the civilian shootout in Ciudad Madero Tamps...can you explain what that was about? It is not clear to me. Who was shooting at who? why? hearing the audio was fierce

    Thanks for this piece...

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  5. "It's hard to paint it pretty when it's ugly!"
    I took this line from another blogger and I wanted to reiterate what I said here, in a blogg specifically about the victims.

    "Mainstream media on both sides of the border water this down to statistics...but Lucilla wasn't a statistic, was she? She was a beautiful 19 year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her, wasn't she? I didn't know her, but I have a daughter her age.

    ...I would be outraged if I was a citizen from Mexico. She's not the first, but who will be the last straw??

    When are you going to demand to your government that outside help is needed--what are the UN peacekeeping forces for anyway? And ask the US to get involved in some strategic way--we are not just a divided border any longer... Demand that those politicians who refuse to help--resign.

    Figure out a way to reach out "abroad"... with the help of your media, if possible. Also, to politicians who are honestly just as frustrated as you are...ask your media to help you reach out to those public figures, wherever they might be, who still want to see goodness and peace restored to your cities, your homeland.

    All of you, as a people, citizens of a country, ban together for strength and vigilance. Get yourself armed, wherever you can. Don't compromise what you hold dear to the thugs who have forgotten how to be human.

    Your piece is heart wrenching. How can a whole country of people "mobilize for 33 miners" and yet the Mexican people can do nothing for the youth, the businesses, the people being destroyed by this carnage.

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  6. Unfortunately, Mexico is too proud to ask for help and will continue claiming its "sovereignty," precludes them from asking or accepting foreign help.

    Their dislike of anything "Yankee" is too deeply ingrained to ask for help from the US.

    Christian, Matamoros, Tamps.

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  7. Any war in the world is ugly. Life is not fair, but it is part of the historical in the world.

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  8. Hi, I have been reading this blog for a while and it is really good for info. I am From Vancouver,B.C. in Canada i read this to know the real truth of what is happening in my other country Mexico. plz do not stop it is so sad to hear things and even though u think u cant go on someone has to put the real stories and hear the real truths from family members thank you for all you have done

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  9. @Christian Matamorors Tamps

    WHen you say Mx too proud to ask for help?
    are you serious? Why then are they accepting help and complaining that it is not enough? I assume you refer to the government? No way the majority of people dislike anything "yankee" some folks agreed, but in the majority it simply is not the case.

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  10. The problem isn't just about "a dislike of yankees", it goes so much deeper than that.

    Lucila was a beautiful, vibrant 19 year old girl with a lifetime ahead of her. She's gone, a bullet to head. The country mourns this beautiful girl, her sparkling eyes and larger than life smile. At this time, as I type, people continue to go downtown. They light a candle and place it where this girls innocent blood flowed from her lead laden skull. They pray. They mourn.

    The same thing happened with Edelmiro Cavazos. Hundreds of people filled the plaza and waited for his body to arrive. Hundreds, if not thousands cried and mourned this young mayor's death.

    and now hundreds, if not thousands have carried on as if he never existed, the same, sadly will happen with Lucila, they (not her loved ones) will carry on with their lives and wait to be shocked, surprised and outraged by a new tragic loss and the cycle will repeat, over and over and over again.

    The outrage of women and children being injured after grenades were tossed in the plaza of Guadalupe, where is it now, just a week after it happened? It's gone. Out of sight, out of mind.

    People seek the blood, the raw pain. They seek to mourn these losses and rage as one. It reminds them of what they have, what they still have, or what they could have had, but then, it's gone. It's as if each and every tragedy serves only as a mass therapy session, a moment to let go, deshogarse.

    But, When will it change? What will make a difference? How many Lucila's will it take? How many Miro's? How many more?

    When will Mexico truly unite as one just as they unite to mourn and rage? When will they stop pointing fingers at others and political parties?

    When will they see Mexico as a whole: not PRI or PAN, rich or poor and see that THEY must make the difference?

    Militarization is one thing. One can plead for martial law and foreign intervention, and yes, it may run narcos out...and then what?

    Who or what will keep the new generations of narcos from stepping in? What will it take to secure future generations? What is needed for Mexico not only to rise from it's knees, but to move forward and prosper?

    Mexico must UNITE, and fight the "chains that bind them" and the evils within. The question is, are they willing?

    People complain about corruption, but think nothing of offering money to get out of a DUI or to get their kids grades changed.

    They complain about insecurity, but think nothing of buying a few joints or a "grapita" from the guy outside their local taco stand.

    They cry businesses are closing, but think nothing of buying stolen goods instead of buying at cost.

    They cry no one hears them, the government doesn't care, but they do this from their computer, in forums, or in chats.

    Changing Mexico will take much more than eliminating narcos, true change must come from within, from the people.

    Mexico is worth it.

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  11. Please continue to be "The Voice"!!Maybe the U.S. will sooner or later start to combat the corruption on our side?

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  12. MEXICO it is now time for you to institute the DEATH penalty. That is exactly the reason narco crime is running savagely. People of MEXICO vote for the DEATH PENALTY and cleanse the MEXICO of ruthless crime.

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  13. Man Overmex, I couldn't of put it in better words NICE JOB!!!

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  14. Mexico is not worth it. You are a country of gutless cowards. Jealous of me because I won't walk in fear in my country. Jealous because I am strong and you are weak. Jealous because you talk while I act. I will not come to help you lazy cowards. I prefer to die on my feet, while you live on your knees. Those of you who want to side with the weak go ahead. I have no mercy for you either. Do you think my country was "born" lucky? Do you think we didn't shed our blood to ensure our way of life? Then when we try to help others you bite our hand criticize me and say I'm not doing it right. Screw you. Go ahead cry and wring your hands and blame. How's that attitude working for you? I will visit your country and look down my nose at you, because I earned it. It is the blood of patriots that freedom demands. Where are your patriots? Dead and buried. Mexico is beyond hope. Don't worry, Calderon will be replaced with another gutless corrupt Mexican who will roll over. Vas a ver!

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  15. Get rid of Calderon. He is a mad man and destroying Mexico.

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  16. And when the federal government doesn't protect their citizens, then the local authorities should step in. And when the local police and officials don't protect the people -- then they have a duty to protect their own families.

    Institute the death penalty for drug violence and legalize fire arms for citizens in Mexico and let the citizens protect their own neighborhoods -- then mexicans won't have to cower in fear from narco-terrorists. And it would help to call up the draft to at least keep watch.

    And in the US, institute the death penalty for drug related violence also - as narco-terror.

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  17. Anonymous - Nobody is jealous of you. You are not strong, or brave or even intelligent. You are merely smug in your feeling of entitlement to fruits of the sacrifice and ingenuity of others. You are a pathetic, petty armchair general, like many in the world through history, who give advice and sermons without ever exposing yourself and without even thinking through what you say. Öh, if I was you, I would be a patriot, and, uh, kill all the narcos, and, uh, stuff like that...¨Pariots don´t talk like you. That is not you? Then go out and fight the drug dealers in your country so the US will drop down to at least number 2 in the world for consumption of illicit drugs. This would make a big difference to your people and to all the countries in the world like Afghanistan, Columbia, Mexico, Thailand, etc. that supplies the US market. Put your skin where your mouth is. Or go back to Xbox and let a sensible folks have a conversation.

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  18. Thanks Mexus for putting Anonymous 5:16 in his/her place. Well said. Mexico is not fearful or coward...they are simply unarmed and surrounded by people that promise to protect them but have only protected themselves. They must arm themselves and overthrow their government and get leadership in place that cares about people, not lining their pockets with $$$$$.

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  19. no words can bring back the innocent..... i cant understand how this drug war keeps moving on one leg. with all the millions of dollars the usa has given to mexico. in Norway , 2 rival drug gans where killing eachother just like in mexico...... untill one 14 year old was killed... the citizens went to the streets demanding action to the violence..... the country acted and the killing stopped......... the military is trying to do their best.. but they lack high tech assistance... someone has to do something.. this is simply out of control!!!!!
    in every town in mexico the community knows who are the bad guys...... the people should vote to be able to arm themselfs.......

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  20. If the cold blooded murder of 70 Central American immigrants doesn't get the mexicans mobilized to move to action, why would the murder of one girl motivate the lazy mexicans?

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  21. @ 5:19
    @Mexus
    @6:46
    ETC.ETC.ETC.

    Woof-woooof..who let the dogs out? the red zone dogs that is. The dogs Cesar Miilan speaks of how they in a split second sees red & focuses soley to get & kill...too much hate on the blog today...5:19 Red, you started it talking out the fanny like that. Why the hell you even come on the blog thinking that way? whereas you have a few legit points it is overshadowed by your hateful rant..your insane, high or both. Take a deep breath, pop your lithium before you go off like that. Your mama raised a rude fool.

    and Mexus...come on you should have not given in to his rantings, that is what he wanted, and you know what? your rant started clean & on point, good counter but mid way you go stupid...such a shame should have stopped at patriots don't talk like that. after that you become what he accused you of. Pitiful. The its the fault of the US because you have all the drug addicts. foolish person you are...study before you speak that is as dumb as me saying...its MEXICO's fault we have drug addicts keep your dope on your side the border and our problem is solved...so stupid my friend.

    and the Ramboso @ 10:58
    arm themselves....ok...question...HOW?
    Over throw the government...jesus I am going to bed

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  22. Death to the red dogs... actually it is not Mexico's fault there are drug addicts in the US. The drug consumption in the US started long before Mexico got involved. Drugs is a problem tbat will always hurt America, the same way as Mexico and corruption. Cocaine was brought through the caribean before Mexico got involved... this is the same dilemma as the gun trade one. If the US passes harsher gun laws, it will only make carteles get their guns from other places..

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  23. The thing that mexico is missing is leadership. No one person is willing to sacrifice their life to lead their people. Mexico has no leaders. I positively believe that if various courageous men stepped up, the people would follow. Mexico needs a smart and strong and brave man to step up to plate. Someone like cesar chavez, che guevara, pancho villa. Their are way too many felipe calderons already ruling this suffering country. People stand up, unite, fight and take your country back!

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  24. @ 8:34

    I was not blaming Mx for our addicts...I was being fecious,'read it again I stated the person who blames US for Mx problems because the US having so many addicts...was as stupid as if I would declare Mx is at fault for our addicts because they bring in the dope...rhetoric thats all not a patent comment

    however>>>>
    if anyone would like to study the academic report on world drug use, trade, traffic, crime etc broken down by
    drug
    % users per capita etc

    I will post the link. I have the reports thru 2010, each year
    lots of surprises including the myth US is per capita the "number one user" We are number one in one drug only

    interesting stuff...such as number one in opiats is Iran and then Afghanistan..people there say they would love to buy a beer instead but cannot afford it. china is projected to be the biggest user but do not report.. this I know for a fact because my business has been in Dong Guan City for 15 years drug use is rampant

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  25. Wow, that comparison of Chile really puts the problem into perspective! I don't think that the death penalty should be enacted for common criminals. I think that the death penalty should be enacted for treason. I think that any official from policeman, to Mayor, to Governor who aids the drug cartels is guilty of treason because the cartels are destabilizing the government! the top leaders of the drug cartels could also fall under that interpretation of treason. the last thing you want is for corrupt officials to have the power of the death penalty on their side. it should apply to officials only.

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  26. "Someone like cesar chavez, che guevara, pancho villa."

    Words that splatter on the ground.

    Cesar Chavez - communist
    Che (spit) Guevara - murdering pig
    Pancho Villa - strong leader of the people

    Two of three are losers, you lose your country choosing the wrong leader.

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  27. the point is, these men were brave. they were true leaders wether you agree with them or not. they stood up for their people and fought against a corrupt government even if it cost them their lives. win or lose, you need a true leader like them to encourage the people to follow and to fight back. but the martin luther king or gandhi mentality just doesnt work here. you need a leader like malcom x for example. a leader who cares and will fight back, for the people.

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  28. Im sorry but even posting on this wall wont change a dam thing your country is fucked like the rest of ours. To be honest it will end when laws change like drugs not being agianst the law. i guess that leeds back to having a choice and being free which non of use really have

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  29. Ok, so we all agree that Mexico needs better leadership and people who are willing to make changes. Any takers? Does anyone have any ideas how we can start to change things in Mexico. Iam stepping up to the plate. Ill make the scarafice. Is there an opening for chief somewhere in Mexico. Anonymous for now :)

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  30. A reply to the 10/29/10 10:02 comment. Mexico needs to focus on Judicial reform. The big obstacle is that both the Politicians and Organized crime exploit the corruption for their own needs. At the State level corruption in both the Judiciary and the Ministerio Publico is out of control. In the Federal courts it is the secretaries working for the Federal Judges that are corrupted.Not one Mexican National has any confidence in the system, and all are too scared to speak out. From the lowest street thug all the way up to the Kingpins, 1 and all know that the Judge will take a bribe, and that the Cartels all have attorneys working closely with the Judges. The municipal police also know this and are to scared to do anything about it. America's posture of "training the municipal police as a step in the right direction is not addressing the real problem. Telling the Turistico to stop taking a $20 bribe while ignoring the $20,000 bribe paid to the District Attorney is basically like hitting your head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop. The US State Department needs to call out the real traitors, they need to establish a way to help the Mexican people finger the worst of the worst while still staying safe. This is the only solution to a problem deeply rooted in Mexican society. Until this day comes nothing will change, and the cartels stranglehold on the Nation will only get worse!

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