"We are born again and God has something prepared for us that managed to survive, because it must have been a hell of a nightmare," recounted one of the employees of the bar "Las Barritas."
Editor:Recently Borderland Beat has been reporting on the massacres in clubs happening in Ciudad Juarez and the potential complicity of the federal police as reported by several witnesses. One of the media news outlets that has been reporting on these "irregularities" has been El Diario. There is obviously something developing with these serious accusations and if true, this would be a huge breach of trust and abuse of power, not to mention the cost of life already suffered and could potentially result.
Ovemex first reported on it and Gerardo did a follow up. We will try to stay on it.
Source: El Diario
After attacks on two nightclubs in which a total of 15 people were killed this last week, owners of these establishments in Ciudad Juarez say they are facing the worst crisis attempting to earn a living caught up between criminals and police.
They explained it has been like this for at least the last two years because they not only have to deal with organized crime that force them to pay them a "quota" for the right to conduct business (derecho de piso) and for supposed protection, but they also have to deal with the systematic harassment from the police, mainly from the federal police, who constantly break in to the clubs during regular business for irregular inspections of staff and clients, who they threaten and at times have committed several abductions "levantones."
"We do not know what to do, or who we should watch for or where to go for safety, because on one hand the sicarios who charge us fees come with their faces open, but the federal police come with their faces covered to make a mess of things" says an owner but only under the condition of anonymity.
The businessman, with more than two decades in the industry, says the situation is even worse when violent crimes occur inside or outside the establishments, because police arrive after the fact, loot the establishments and steal the property from the victims.
While in regards to the police operations he says that police officers burst into the premises accusing them of having links to the criminal group "La Línea", and they use their high-powered rifles to repress the people in the club, who they threaten and beat up, making them lay on the floor who they sometimes undress almost to the point they are nude and at times are touching the women.
"They cause tremendous humiliation to us, our employees and our customers. They are a scourge of society, they steal everything they can, bottles of alcohol, the money, whatever they can find, let alone when there are dead victims who they pick their pockets to steal everything they have, they act with a tremendous greed." he adds.
He says that although some of these activities have been recorded on video security systems installed in the clubs, they prefer not to do or say anything for fear of retaliation and the distrust of all authorities.
"The best we can do for the sake of our businesses and our people, is only to be a witness, shut up and try to ask politely that the police not be so abusive, because I do not trust any authority, or any police force and not even the military, because no one follows up with these irregularities, no one resolves anything, some pull, yell and they watch one group, while others watch the other," he says.
This issue was also confirmed by other retailers in the same business, who said that after dealing with organized crime and police authorities, that they don't trust anyone.
"Right now the sad thing is that there is no single authority we trust, either as businessmen or as citizens, we cannot trust in any police department at any level of government, not even on the government administrators, or the politicians, no one will solve these problems because all of them work for their own purposes," he says.
But he says they do not trust organized crime either who extort them regularly and do not respect agreements or ethics, and never deliver in the security they allegedly offer.
"We have seen clubs that are current with their quota, operating legally and they still attack them burning down their businesses or killing the owners because they could care less, they only want to cheat, right now no one will guarantee you anything, not even the thugs who have no shame, not even their own word," he adds.
However, they dare not stop paying their quota because it would mean a death sentence.
"I pay my quota so they don't kill me, but the day I can no longer afford to pay, I will close down and leave the city like so many others have done, because right now I make better timely payments of the extortion than my taxes," says another club owner.
He went on to say that his family, until two years ago, owned about 150 different businesses in the city "restaurants, bars, dance halls, pharmacies and grocery stores," but to this day, they only own one, his. He said that the others felt it was safer to flee Ciudad Juarez for Mexico City or the United States.
He adds that, according to his experience, there are federal police that have participated with criminal organizations who provide them with information about customers who they assumed are armed criminals or in possession of drugs, who they abduct and take away their profits.
"Some of the feds once told me that if we see anyone suspected of crimes or up to no good, to tell them and they will pay us for collaborating, they also told me the same about the extortionists, they even offered me protection, but of course I do not believe anything they say because I see how they work," he said.
According to witnesses of last Thursday armed attack at the club "El Castillo", 10 minutes before the gunmen burst into the place to shoot at employees and customers, a group of federal police warned the owner to close the business "because they were going to make chaos (desmadre)."
A short time later after the attack that left 10 people dead, witnesses say that the feds were the first to arrive at the scene of the crime, and proceeded to loot the personal belongings of the dead victims and even stole property from the establishment such as flat-screen televisions