Thursday, October 13, 2016

For Mexican Towns Attacked by Cartels, Few Answers and No Justice

For Mexican Towns Attacked by Cartel, Few Answers and No Justice
Posted by Yaqui on Oct 10, 2016


By Ginger Thompson and Alejandra Xanic / ProPublica
It was a brazen attack. Some 60 gunmen linked to the brutal Zetas cartel descended on a quiet cluster of towns just south of the Mexican border in the spring of 2011 and launched a door-to-door extermination campaign that went on for weeks, leaving an untold number of people dead or missing. Yet in the five years since the slaughter in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the Mexican government has failed to fully investigate, much less address the needs of the victims and their families, according to a preliminary report released today by a panel of scholars and human rights investigators.

Allende
“It’s horrifying because it was all so blatant,” said Mariclaire Acosta, a veteran human rights investigator who advised the panel. “This wasn’t a hidden crime. It all happened out in the open, and not one government agency did anything to stop it.”

Such charges have become a disturbing echo in Mexico, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by drug violence, either at the hands of traffickers or corrupt security forces, and the crippled — often complicit — justice system is incapable of pursuing those responsible. Sunday’s report suggests that Mexicans have begun to look for ways, at the very least, to get to the truth, rather than sitting idly and wait for justice from their government. They are increasingly calling for help from external experts, both at home and abroad, to oversee investigations into the most egregious crimes. And government leaders — who may or may not be committed to real reforms, but seem prickly about public opinion polls — are relenting.


Allende
Experts who worked on the report — led by scholars from the prestigious Colegio de Mexico and from an autonomous victims’ rights commission — said their focus was on providing answers that might help the affected families and communities heal. They issued numerous recommendations for ways to improve the way authorities treat the country’s untold numbers of victims. And they urged the government to apologize for leaving communities, like the ones in Coahuila, unprotected. “The victims, their relatives and society have the right to know what happened and to be treated with dignity,” the report said. “Until now, the term that best describes victim’s experiences is abandonment.”

Allende
Sunday's report also draws links between the violence ravaging Mexico and the United States. Many of the rugged communities of ranchers and factory workers that were assaulted in 2011 in Coahuila are located less than an hour’s drive from the U.S. border. The attack was started when the leaders of the Zetas cartel discovered that they had been betrayed by their own operatives, and dispatched their henchmen to Allende and several neighboring communities to seek revenge against the traitors and anyone related to them. Numerous victims’ relatives fled for their lives across the border, as did some of the traffickers on the Zetas’ target list. American authorities have provided protection to a handful of the traffickers in exchange for their cooperation. But, according to the report, American authorities have so far refused to discuss what they know about the massacre.

“The opacity of the United States obstructs the truth,” the report found. It called the massacre an example of “bi-national criminal violence,” and added, that American authorities “hold important information for understanding what happened in Mexico.”

“The opacity of the United States obstructs the truth,” the report found. It called the massacre an example of “bi-national criminal violence,” and added, that American authorities “hold important information for understanding what happened in Mexico.”

The examination of the so-called Allende massacre, named for the Coahuila town hit hardest by the violence, marks the first time that the government’s investigation of the killing has been opened to external scrutiny. Among the report’s most withering elements is its abbreviated chronology of government files showing for the first time in detail how much authorities knew about the extent of the bloodshed and how they did next to nothing to investigate it for three years. Once officials did investigate, the report said, they based their case almost entirely on uncorroborated confessions by those accused of participating in the killing, along with statements by firefighters who responded to calls for help. Authorities said they have recovered some 68 pieces of teeth and bones from one of the killing sites, but it’s unclear whether they have ever attempted to identify the remains.

Tamaulipas "72"
The report includes some details on the bargain rates for bribing local officials: In the years leading up to the killing, the Zetas paid off Allende’s entire municipal police force with just $3,600 a month, while a single trafficker operating there at the time boasted of earning $4 million every 10 days.

The first person to file a complaint about relatives who had gone missing in the attack was arrested a year later by municipal police and has never been seen again. The mayor of Allende at the time told authorities he was unaware of the killing until it was over, a claim that defies credulity for anyone who’s ever been to Allende — one of the houses that was destroyed during the attack sits across the street from the mayor’s. And the state attorney charged with investigating the killings was eventually removed from office for having provided protection to the cartel.

The report accuses the governor at the time of downplaying the extent of the damage. And, while it credits the current governor, Ruben Moreira, with implementing important law enforcement reforms, including creating a special unit to investigate disappearances, it says his handling of the Allende investigation shows “less interest in the truth and more in closing the matter,” by pushing victims’ relatives to accept that their loved ones are dead and move on.

“Their main concern is to collect incriminating statements,” the report said. “There is minimal investigation that validates the veracity or falsehood of what is said. That impedes precision in establishing the facts, assigning blame, and delivering justice and reparations.”

Sergio Aguayo, the lead author of the report and a widely respected human rights advocate, acknowledged in an interview that numerous important questions remain unanswered, particularly those relating to how much federal authorities were aware of the violence and what they did or did not do about it. The report also left open the key question of how many people are dead or missing, saying the government has information on 42 victims, while other “extended accounts” say there are as many as 300.

Aguayo said the panel’s work so far had focused largely on a review of the voluminous investigative files from the federal human rights commission, and the state prosecutor’s office in Coahuila. But he said he would seek access to more federal investigative files, and interviews with authorities at all levels of the government to produce a more complete report early next year.

It’s impossible to predict how much more authorities are willing to cooperate with Aguayo’s efforts.

Last year, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, seeking to lift his dismal approval ratings, took the rare step of inviting an international panel of legal experts to examine the government’s investigation of the massacre of 43 students at a teachers college in the southern State of Guerrero. But the effort ended acrimoniously when the investigators contradicted the government’s version of events, and accused federal authorities of attempting to obstruct their work.
Former close friends left: EPN, Humberto Moreira
The work by Aguayo’s panel poses similar potential political pitfalls for Governor Moreira, of Coahuila. His brother, Humberto, was governor during the time that the Zetas occupied the northern part of the state. Humberto Moreira, once a close political ally of Peña, has dodged numerous accusations of corruption and money laundering since leaving Coahuila with a debt 100 times larger than when he took office.

To illustrate the balancing act in his efforts, Aguayo said that on the day that the current governor agreed to give him access to the Allende files, the former governor announced he was suing Aguayo for $500,000. Aguayo had previously written a column about the former governor, describing him as a “politician who stank of corruption.”

In addition to looking into the killings in Allende, the panel also examined the 2011 massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, another border state located southeast of Coahuila. The panel’s findings there were similar.

“I truly believe we are living an emergency in some parts of Mexico,” Aguayo said.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.

39 comments:

  1. Maybe its time that Mexico lifts its gun law. Allowing the people to arm and defend themselves. The system they are using now obviously is not working. "When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will carry guns.

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    1. That will never happen because then the people will go after the politicians too who are just as corrupt as the criminals. Mexican politicians only create laws that are in their favor and protect them and their families.

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    2. Mexicans are already doing that with the "autodefensas", they're not waiting for D.F. to change the gun laws in their favor.

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  2. And US so-called 'news' outlets would never raise or discuss any issue - like e.g. this mass murder - arising as a consequence of US approved government policy - like e.g. the WOD - even if the consequences are glaringly disastrous. Instead our news duly report the government line on far away places and groups like Israel and ISIS ... SICKENINGLY WEAK!!!

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    1. Before pointing the finger at the USA, how 'bout laying the blame at the feet of those primarily responsible- the Mexican state and federal government.

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    2. Right.... The US thirst for drugs doesn't have anything to do with it. Completely Mexico's problem... Right...

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    3. First came the drug(Mexico) then came the addiction(usa)

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  3. Mexican police don't get paid enough to risk life as well their families life to prevent attacks on towns. The average salary is around 2000 pesos a month if they're lucky. Thats less than $200 dollar a month compared to sicarios that can get from 2000 pesos a week plus depending on the hits they commit which is why many people are vulnerable to become involved in the drug trade.
    Not trying to justify corruption at all just the unjust conditions which honest policemen and people have to deal with in everyday life. Yes there are honest cops that want to help but are helples against these odds!

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    1. Good point. The cops over there are completely broken. Man I would love EPN s job. First thing is the death penalty coming back. Second get every cartel leader in a room and form a council. Third send current cops to different cities or states. Ahh you could dream all day.

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  4. I would not blame the Mexican people for taking the law into their own hands to pursue the truth and protect their families.
    The federal and state politicians have blood on their hands for letting these horrors to occur meanwhile they live in luxury sipping aged cognac surrounded by bodyguards while the average citizen lives in fear the cops or thugs will victimize them..
    A whole generation of Mexicans have been traumatized by Mexico's corrupt and inept politicians
    Ya Basta!!

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    1. 1:24 When the court starts? It does not have to be official, select your delegates, send your candidacies...

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  5. Any organization that targets civilians lacks any honor and respect. No wonder a los mugrosos ni sus madres los quieren.

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  6. We don't want to investigate because it was done with the blessing of the government and investigating means some of us can be shot or go to jail.

    The biggest narco state in the world: México and justice not available

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    1. Biggest Users us in the US
      Don't blame the Mexicans I am in recovery I have a choice use and support the cartels or not. So the next time u Americans smoke that joint u support the narcos. I am an American and can say that

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    2. Cartels don't finance all Marijuana in the US lol check out the mega labs in CO, also some states have weed dispensaries

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    3. 4:07 you are so wrong...if people wanna do drugs fine, if cartels wanna smuggle, fine.....but the blame needs to be pointed at the leadership of the two governments and the leadership of these cartels not the US citizens. Wake up

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    4. Argentina is even a bigger narco state than Mexico but you never hear about that one do you?

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  7. GG-exactly.No interest whatsoever.They were paid to not look.How can you not?The 1st person that filed a missing report in that town is disappeared.What does that tell you?

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    1. "They were paid not to look.How can you not?" HUH???????

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    2. How could the officials not notice the town was besieged and 300 disappeared?They looked the other way?Why?Could you imagine if that happened north of the border?For 1 thing is that it wouldn't unless it was a lone crazed gunman that snapped.

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    3. canadiana border state plazas are 100% corrupt in collusion with narcos. calderon admitted as much at the end of his term.

      to your question, of course they"noticed" they condoned it, from the top... Research...use the search bar.

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    4. @ canadiana: fyi..the 'Allende Massacre' is only a small blip on the radar screen of what was/is going on in Coahuila. It is no big secret that in much of the violence in Mexico, in recent years, the police, military and some civilian officials are often closely involved in the forced disappearances, kidnappings, torture and killing of thousands of citizens. It's very improbable that things like this could happen without collusion between government authorities and organized crime.

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  8. “The opacity of the United States obstructs the truth,” Why is it that when ever something wrong happens somewhere someone always blames the USA in one way or another?

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    1. 12:52 you need to go back and find out...
      "WHY DOES THE US GETS BLAMED FOR ALL THE ILLS OF THE WORLD"?
      --GOOGLE IT...

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    2. That's what the Mexican Government does to Chappell and his family. They get blamed for everything

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  9. There should be a detailed article that appeared on this website last year I believe, concerning this massacre in Allende. If I remember correctly, the article was quite detailed and presented numerous detailed facts of what occurred.

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    1. @1:22 For anyone interested in delving further into the Allende Massacre, which may have been the largest human rights violation in Mexico's history and probably one of the biggest government coverups, they can read the many articles BB has published on it. Here are a few of those:

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2014/02/coahuila-operationsearching-for-missing.html

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2014/07/government-leaders-are-gravediggers.html

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2014/12/the-office-of-coahuila-says-they-were_10.html

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2015/03/terror-in-coahuila-up-to-300.html

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2016/07/the-families-of-allende-take-moreiras.html

      What is new in this story jaqui published is that a panel of scholars and human rights investigators issued a report this month showing that every level of government, local, state and federal were involved either through active or passive participation or in the coverup.

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    2. Soliado

      we have been reporting on this since March 2011...type in allende in the search bar

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    3. A 'Zeta state.

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  10. Man this is such a joke. I mean, I bet 1 %, probably not even of US and Canadian citizens know about this. Just disgusting and something that is so so much clear to me is that the US government is a sick joke in ALL of this.

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  11. hey bb any stories on chihuahua? There have been 56 executions the last 10 days

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  12. Thanks DD, for adding those links, right on.

    This report was run on many Mexican News publications but very few US ones, altho, we can thank Truthdig for running the ProPublica piece.

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  13. Those houses were zetas destroying the other zetas homes when they want to see against each other.

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    1. And then, of course, are the innocent people that had nothing whatsoever to do with it.... one small detail.

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  14. Burn the Z brothers and Moreira at the same time like ISIS does. Don't even give them the time for a prayer

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    1. Quemenlos con leña verde, pero también al Pendejo Mayor EPN.
      Matter of fack, pick 100 crooks a day until they are all gone...

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    2. Quemalos a todos

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