[ Subject Matter: Mexico State, Criminality
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required ]
|Military in Naucalpan, Edomex|
Reporter: Alejandro Melgoza Rocha and David Deolarte
Ecatepec, Edomex: With puffy eyes, a symptom of his night work, the Commander Alfredo said in a weary tone, dragging his words, " homicides, femicides, heads abandoned in the middle of the street with narco mantas signed by alleged cartels, recordings of kidnappings and sicarios entering bars to collect "derecho de piso" ( extortion payments ), he shows me hundreds of images from 2003 until 2014 and after, guards them jealously.
These images seem to illustrate the most troubled states such as Guerrero, Michoacán and Tamaulipas, but no.... they are from Mexico State. Alfredo is aware of the alert that on April 13th was activated by the State Department regarding the eight Municipalities that Americans should avoid due to the danger present.
In Edomex there are La Familia Michoacana, Los Caballeros Templarios, and some independent groups, according to the file SJA/DGAJ/04417/2014 of the PGR obtained with transparency, in all the Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC), recognized in the file 00128/ssc/ip/2014 the presumed presence of Los Templarios, Los Zetas, Los Guerreros Unidos and La Familia Michoacana.
During the first trimester of this year, in Edomex they registered 52,476 crimes. They head the list at a national level with 498 homicides: in the case of kidnappings they appear in second position after Tamaulipas: in January to March there were 48 according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP).
The report "Municipalities of Mexico under the condition of a "failed state" published in 2013 by the City Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, points out that Neza, Los Reyes La Paz, Chalco, and Chalco Valley are in "a real and imminent danger of falling into the status of "failed state", because of "increasingly widespread extortion by criminal groups and the homicidal violence which rises".
Specialists consulted by telephone on the alert issued by the administration of Barack Obama agree it certainly is relevant, with the understanding that Eruviel Avila Villegas does not dare to acknowledge the crisis of insecurity in the state.
" The United States alert to its citizens of the grave situation, well after Tamaulipas, the State of Mexico has the highest rate of homicides, kidnappings and extortions... meanwhile the Governor of Edomex is crossing his arms like a crucifix to his governed", says Jose Antonio Ortega, Director of Citizens Council for Security and Justice.
Jose Luis Cisneros, criminologist of the National Institute of Penal Sciences, and a specialist in Public Security in Edomex explains that the alert is "very important because it shows a side that there is an exchange of information that is not being taken into account (by the local government), and on the other hand, while it is true that the United States Government is cooperating with the PRI administration, continue to have mistrust of their work".
"Take precaution in Edomex"
A black van stops opposite the entrance to a bar located in the Central Avenue of Neza, in which are eight masked men with rifles whose uniforms are white and blue stripes. The bouncers spot them and alert the Manager. The subjects identify themselves as Federales who are there to conduct a review. It is the night of 23rd of March 2013 and the owner of the place knows that they are sicarios of La Familia who have come to collect their "piso" (extortion) payment.
In the video that Commander Alfredo reproduces - with names changed to protect their identity - one can observe how they operate and leave aboard black van and tear off. After them pass two equal vehicles. All of this was captured by security cameras of businesses and there were no reports of the crime because the businessman had fear of reprisals, the reason for which he omits the exact location.
Neza already is famous for the commandos that burst into bars: the morning of Friday the 14th of February of 2014, and armed group arrived at the Bar "wine and beer", they shot and injured seven people, two days after, an armed group opened fire on the Bar Baby Coffe Karaoke, with a total of two dead and four injured: and again on the 28th of August of 2013 they riddled two people with bullets in the Bar Nice.
Because of this type of case, this past 14th of April the Government of the United States publicly declared on their embassy website: "Take precaution in the State of Mexico. Many areas of the State have seen high levels of criminality and insecurity, the organized criminal groups have amplified their activity to cut off the states of Guerrero and Michoacán". Among them Ecatepec, Neza, Coacalco, La Paz, Valle de Chalco, Chalco, Ixtapaluca and Tlatlaya.
In spite of a State where 92.6% of its inhabitants feel insecure, according to a survey of National Victimization and Perception about Public Security (ENVIPE) that was issued in 2014 by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography and informatics (INEGI), the Government of the State of Mexico went on the defensive:
"Its like we said that you are not to visit Baltimore, its a situation that is present in the moment, but its not a merely circumstantial situation, in this way I qualify it as transient", said the Commissioner of Public Safety, Damian Canales.
For the expert in national security, Javier Oliva Posadas, "evidently the comparison is absolutely ridiculous. You cannot compare them. There have been other cases such as the so-called gender based violence against women with high rates(...) However the speech of both local and Federal Authorities in the sense of lowering of crime rates, does not corroborate their claims.
"You cant have adequate programmes if parts are wrongly diagnosed, like the current situation. The State of Mexico is increasing in weakness, especially in terms of prevention", adds the Professor and researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Mexican crime figures
Known as the birthplace of some thugs who operate in Ecatepec, the Colonia Jardines de Morelos is one of the most violent with a crime every ten hours, according to the Municipal system of information and statistics. Yolanda has lived there for over five years and has even been assaulted at the door of her house with a gun in hand.
Already nothing surprises her, not the criminals hiding in the bushes. However this is something that frightens her, and it is when night falls in the hills without public lighting. It is the "ideal" scenario, she explains to commit murder, kidnappings, assaults, rapes, and femicides. "The Government gives facility to organized crime".
Even though it takes years with a group of colonists claiming to each administration, these improvements are not complete. Every few months there are large petitions in which people ask the Town Hall to install the lighting," since there are streets in entire darkness and that makes us easier prey for criminals".
But not only are there problems in Ecatepec, the most populated Municipality. In general, Edomex had the highest rate at the National level for each 100,000 inhabitants with 93,003 crimes in 2013, as against 56,752 in 2012, according to Inegi. Besides being the second highest after Guerrero in percentage of crimes not reported with 96%.
Although it is the most inhabited State with in excess of 15 million (2010 Census). It was only under influence during 2006 - 2014 by two criminal gangs; three groups of kidnappers, no extortionists, or white slave traders, or vehicle thieves, according to the PGR; while the SSC in 2008-2014 were 73 gangs, 25 groups of kidnappers, seven groups of extortionists, 38 groups committing robbery with violence, and three groups engaged in people trafficking.
A corridor of femicides and disappeared
Anahi Brito Sotelo was a woman of 24 years that took cocaine and rock in the streets. She paid for her addiction by prostituting herself at the Hotel Villas Roma, on the R-1 Avenue of Ecatepec. However in May of 2013 she never returned to the place where she was accustomed to be seen, until her corpse appeared without underwear, with a pink shirt with white stripes without logo.
She was strangled according to the Forensic results, her face being disfigured by rats in the subsequent days after her death close to the stone walls of the Church of La Via Morelos.
Anahi like many more was a victim of one of the most dangerous points for women, now with the alert it becomes relevant, since most of the sites targeted by the Department of State, have waterfalls of cases: Mirna Garica disappeared this year in Ixtapaluca. Syama Paz, 16 years of age disappeared in Ecatepec in 2014; the tortured bodies of two women of 20 and 25 years of age in the Valle de Chalco in 2013.
In the corridor of Tecamac, Ecatepec, Neza, Coacalco, Tultitlan, from 2010 until now there have been over 120 women disappeared, according to the Association of Solidarity for Families, who's President is David Mancera. For his part, the National Observatory of Femicides (OCNF) calculated that 50% of the femicides were concentrated in 10 towns ( the majority in conurbada zone), 1200 between 2005-2013.
For the Teacher and activist Manuel Amador Velasquez, these types of crimes of gender are due to a " vacuum of the state". The marginalization that there is situation that intersects the macho culture, informal trade and the irresponsibility of the Government", it points out. That irresponsibility remains clear for the people of Ecatepec, who remember that the other candidate for Mayor, Pablo Bedolla, said during a campaign, "I just spoke with the Doctor Eruviel and he sends a kiss to all the beautiful women".
Original article in Spanish at Proceso