debate.com. 7-15-2012.Guasave, Sinaloa.-- International Highway and 19th Street, Guasave Municipality. Friday afternoon, July 15, 2011. Inert bodies of uniformed officers on the asphalt. One can still smell the gunpowder, hear the cries of the wounded and one is moved by the grief stricken cries of relatives who are trying in vain to resuscitate the humble worker who was killed after being caught in the crossfire.
Ten municipal police have fallen and there are several more wounded in an ambush by an armed group, when the police were coming from Los Mochis headed to the state capital. They were members of the Public Security Secretary's escort and that's where they fell. The civilian had nothing to do with all this, but he has also become a victim.
The scene should not be repeated, but then it is a new story. Other places and other victims, the same drama and sequel. Dead policemen, orphan children, widowed wives, touched authorities, stupefied to the point of puzzlement. Tributes, speeches with promises of justice that are still not realized.
ReactionState Governor Mario Lopez Valdez, interviewed yesterday in Angostura, admitted the seriousness of the ambushes against police officers, and said he is negotiating for better quality weapons. "On top of the fact they attack by surprise, which is an advantage for them, the weapons they have and armored vehicles give them all the advantage, and if today we see a willingness in our police officers to confront the criminals, [we] should evaluate the possibility of equipping them so they will be on equal terms," he pointed out.
The state's Executive has, in fact, proposed to the Sedena (Department of Defense) that, in view of the obvious inferiority of the weapons carried by law enforcement personnel compared to the ones used by armed groups, state police agencies should be allowed to use weapons seized from criminals.
"Police officers are willing to be receive training, because to use these weapons they must have [training]"-- Mario Lopez Valdez, Governor of Sinaloa.
Assassin who was killed in El Fuerte took part in the Guasave massacre.
The State Attorney General, Marco Antonio Higuera, disclosed yesterday that one of the suspected hit men killed in the Tetamboca, El Fuerte, confrontation is also one of the killers who took part in the massacre of police officers in the ambush a year ago in Guasave.
One year after the ambush of police officers in Guasave, what progress has been made in the investigation? Have there been any arrests? -- There have been arrests, it is a fact sent to the PGR (Federal Attorney General's Office). I don't have any information about the people, but we know clearly the people that participated (in the ambush). Specifically, the person who died in the attack against the ministerial police in Tetamboca was one of the people with an arrest warrant from that incident. There are individuals already in prison.
What support has been provided to the victims? -- What the law of Support to Victims provides, a pension, life insurance, and the Attorney General's Office has provided all that the law requires.
We understand that there are widows that have not received support. Do you know anything about that?-- No, because they just [met] with me; with reference to the PME, whatever benefits that involve the Attorney General's Office have been satisfied. I don't know what other information they have provided. We have always, always assigned a person to deal with them.
With respect to the officers killed recently...-- I spoke with the widows yesterday, we give them personalized attention because of the paperwork they have to provide, but they continue to receive the salary as if [the officer] was still on duty. The State Government will be their contact for their childrens' scholarships and funeral expenses.
And justice never came"Sometimes I can't believe my son is not here...sometimes I think it's all lies", are the only phrases that Rosa Maria Angulo Subia manages to utter when she remembers how her son Alvaro Gallardo Angulo died a year ago, when he got caught in the middle of a firefight in which ten police officers were killed, on the Mexico's International Highway 15.
Interviewed beside the chapel that the family built in honor of the dead young man, thirteen days after his 29th birthday, the grief-stricken mother complains indignantly about the indifference shown by the three levels of government towards the only civilian killed in the ambush directed against and intended to slay ministerial officers. They have tried to bargain with her to the point it is impossible to get any support from the government.
Sad and angry at the same time, she insists that in the year that has gone by nobody has approached them to offer an explanation, to apologize or to ask whether they needed anything after the death of their second son.
"Maybe they haven't done it because they were too busy with the political campaigns... but nobody from the government, municipal, state or federal, has come to this house to ask whether the principal victim, my grandson Alvaro Ernesto Gallardo, nine years old, needs anything to get by."
However, she admits, just this past June 23, one of the PGR chiefs came to interview them again.
"But we were not here and all they told the person who talked to them was that they had received some order from the federal government to come by to ask how the case was going. But here, there's nothing...justice has not come here..we haven't gotten anything... My grandson received a scholarship that looks like it's from a support program for crime victims, but it's a ridiculous scholarship...they give him 220 pesos a month... That amount doesn't pay for anything," she says.
Dreams cut shortThen, in a halting voice, she talks about her son Alvaro and the plans he had made to get ahead.
"It seems everything turned against him...He had just gotten that job and the day of the shootout he was coming back from taking an order for tortillas to Juan Jose Rios, when coming back on the International Highway he got in the middle of the shootout.
We found out about it because we were at La Entrada, when his girlfriend called us and said Manuel had called her to tell her he had been in the shootout and was feeling very sick...That's why we got there quickly but there was nothing we could do."
She says that Alvaro had a lot of plans, he wanted to get his prep school certificate to keep on studying, but everything turned against him.
"What happened to us is very painful, because when a relative is sick you can prepare for it, because you know that sooner or later he will go, but when a son goes like this, it's painful...
"Sometimes I think it's all lies and that it's not true that all this happened; sometimes I can't believe this has happened to us...but only God knows."
The attacks, the deaths, the places and the days: a tragic narrative.
Monday, October 11, 2010.In an operation, five agents of the PEP and three from the Navolato Municipal (police) die in an ambush at La Costera, near El Gato de los Gallardo. Salvador Alvarado.
Sunday, March 6, 2011.DANGEROUS AREA. Killers ambush and kill seven agents of the PME on the International Highway, at the entrance to Guayparime, Guasave Municipality.
Thursday, May 26, 2011.THE ATTACK.
On Mexico Highway 15, at El Burrion, an armed group attacks a PME convoy, killing one of the officers.
Friday, July 15, 2011.ASSAULT.
Ten agents of the PME and a civilian are massacred in another ambush on Mexico Highway 15, near the intersection with 19th Street. Ten police officers are wounded.
Monday, July 9, 2012.
Seven officers of the PME die in an ambush on the highway to El Fuerte, in Tetamboca. Four of the assailants are killed in the return fire.