Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

It Takes More then Bravery to Live in "El Valle de Juarez"

Sunday, February 27, 2011 |

"In Mexico, or in the state of Chihuahua and in the Juárez Valley to be brave is to end up paying with one's blood, said a grieving Saul Reyes Salazar, noting that his family had paid the ulimate price by denouncing military abuses being committed in his farming community.

In fact, said added the distrust of the government forces is so great that we suspect that the threatening cardboard messages or "narco-messages" found with the bodies of his brothers and his sister-in-law were "planted" by the authorities, because his nephew never saw them when he initially came across the bodies dumped in the middle of the well traveled road.

Swollen red eyes from lack of sleep and hours of crying, the only male sibling left alive in the Reyes family, was at the camp site early Saturday morning.

It was the one that had been improvised outside of the Attorney General's Northern Zone headquarters, where his family members and relatives joined by other activists had demanded the thorough search for the kidnapped Elias and Maria Magdalena Reyes Salazar and Luisa Ornelas, who were found dead 18 days later.

Yesterday that public space became a huge chapel where an improvised wake was held. Then, after their wake the bodies were taken to Guadalupe, where the latest victims of the Reyes family would be finally laid to rest. Their burial at the small farming town's municipal cemetery that now is now home to six of its family members.

Standing before the coffins of his brother and sister, Saul said he doubted any outcome from the investigation, either state or federal. "But If the culprits are caught, then great", he said.

"We will not wait for a the final results, we are going to try and rebuild our lives, start from scratch because our properties have been looted, others burned to the ground and what remains of the family, which is less than half are all going to relocate to another place and try to rebuild what remains of our family, "he said.

He added, "For our mother is who is 76 years old, it will much harder but she also understands that there is no other option."

He considers that his family has fought long for justice for many others that have been affected, people who have suffered what they now suffer, and warns that we must protect ourselves and change our strategies, but this can't be left as is."

"To fight for justice and ask of it here in Mexico, he said, "comes at a high price, four brothers (murdered) to this day ... it is very costly."

He then paused, his tears begin to flow and his voice begins to tremble, but then he gathers himself.

He doesn't know if it was all worth it, "The feeling of fighting for a worthy cause is carried within and one can't measure its consequences, I'm sure my brothers who were killed did what they did out of conviction. To second guess ourselves or want to do change things now, will not change this situation."

"Now it is personal, it's affected our family and it's cost was high, but we will, maybe from some other location continue this fight for justice," he added.

To the citizens of Valle de Juarez he told them that the fact that they remain is a symbol of their courage. He urged them to be cautious, especially the activists, and the youth who have supported his family throughout all of their activism.

He stated that the presence of authorities in the Valley have been useless. "All they have done is raise suspicions against themselves, especially the Mexican Army which has happened coincidentally, to be nearby each time something happened to my family."

He explained, "When Josefina was murdered, she had just gone through a military check point, (Josefina Reyes Salazar his sister was slain over a year ago on January 3, 2010 in Cd. Juárez.  She was a well known activist who had led protests against alleged abuses by the Mexican soldiers in the Juarez Valley )."


in the case of Ruben (another brother who was killed last August and his body was found about a mile from the military checkpoint where they discovered the bodies and where a detachment of soldiers is currently located), a police car had been patrolling the town as Ruben was seen walking and the patrol car was no more than 900 feet from where he was killed."

"My Mother's house was less then 300 feet from a makeshift military barracks, when it burned to the ground, (on February 16, the sibling's mother, Sara Salazar's house burned to the gorund while she was peacefully protesting in Cd. Juarez that authorities take action and find the people responsible for the kidnapping of her two grown children and daughter in law). 

He suggested that the authorities probably made the criminals uncomfortable with their constant search activities. As a way of saying "just let us be," they dug up the bodies and put them in the middle of the road, so that the authorities would find them and return to Juarez and let them continue their illegal activities.

Saul Reyes Salazar also rejected the narco-messages found yesterday on the bodies of their loved ones. He considered that it may be a ploy by the authorities to criminalize the victims and to try to divert attention away from the current social pressure.

He said his nephew who is a college student was the one who saw the bodies laying in the middle of the road before he went for to seek help from the soldiers. The nephew never saw the card board messages on the bodies.

"He immediately went to contact the family and when he returned he found the narco- messages on the bodies, with the area already having been cordoned off by the military, which makes us all suspect that someone planted them on the bodies," he added.

Photographs of the narco-messages were distributed to the media by the state's Attorney General, which he considered unusual because in such cases where intentional homicide is suspected they have never released any similar messages especially ones left at the scene of the crime. A white colored narco-message had threats of killing Marisela Reyes Salazar next.

"It's unfair to do this, they (the victims) had disabilities, they even needed assistance to walk, how can you believe that? That they were falcons or hired assassins, they all had humbly worked at the bakery all their lives," said a family member who requested to remain anonymous.

Saul, the only male living sibling of the Reyes Salazar family, said he senses that the authorities are trying to link their family to organized crime, but added that they were willing to undergo any extensive investigation to refute that claim.


Sources: El Diario de Juarez - Staff

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3 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Dios Mio! Cuanta impotencia,pobre gente hasta donde hemos llegado esto no es narcotrafico ya dejen de llamarlo asi, que estan traficando aqui? Nada, nada. Esto es un aniquilamiento del pueblo mexicano y de paso se llevan a los "migrantes" tambien les aseguro que el cartel que quieren sea el unico; esta pasando toneladas de droga mientras distraen la atencion con la masacre de gente inocente, y asi terminan con la pauperrima situacion de millones de seres humanos que viven en la mas espantosa miseria mientras otros, el dinero que han robado no se lo termina la misma familia
ni en cinco generaciones.Hay muchisimo dinero de por medio. a rio revuelto ganancia de pescadores.La realidad es que esto ya se les salio de las manos, y ahora sabra Dios como lo detendran no quiero ni imaginarlo.

Anonymous said...

I also saw the publishing of the narco-messages very unusual. This is never done in Juarez. Something here is NOT right....it's also evident that the military is working for one cartel(Sinaloa)and the police for the other(Juarez). Why are people not getting together to demand change....I would rather DIE FIGHTING THESE INJUSTICES.
RUX

Anonymous said...

HOW COME ALL THESE PUTO RIGHT WING ASSHOLES AREN'T COMMENTING ON THIS!!! THEY ONLY WANNA SEE WHAT THEY WANNA SEE!!! THEY'RE ALWAYS SAYING THINGS LIKE LET THE MILITARY TAKE OVER AND SHIT LIKE THAT.....HYPOCRACY!!!

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