Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tijuana: The heartbreaking reality of a small massacre

The heartbreaking reality of a small massacre

Last week, in a small home, the kind of half self shelter built into the colonias in Tijuana, and across Mexico, hard concrete floors, doors reinforced with plywood, fencing around the sides.  It is one of thousands across the city, where families live, laugh, eat, and go through unspeakable and silent tragedies, behind closed doors.  It was also said to be a point for sale of drugs, one of the hundreds in the city alone.  

El Florido is one of those colonias where killing and violence, bodies bound with tape and bearing notes, severed and disarticulated limbs are found on the street routinely.  Hundreds have been killed, families broken apart by death, and 9mm shells, ejected onto the blood stained sidewalks.  
Scene of the killings, El Florido
That night at least 15 people, mostly related to Bibiana Ponce Sanchez, "La Bibi", gathered in the yard of the home.  There was a slot machine, where many children came to play after school.  There were mothers, aunts, friends, cousins, in the loose, multi generational style, of so many families.

The gunmen, at least 4, arrived in multiple vehicles, , carrying 9mm pistols, and an AR-15, and demanded, from the doorway, La Bibi.  They were there to execute her for a drug debt of several thousand pesos, she had allegedly not paid to a Sinaloa narcocomuedista cell, led by an El Ramses which she was affiliated.  Her husband has been in jail, since 2013 for various crimes, including fraud.   

Bibiana's aunt, who they believed was her mother, was shot in the face, assumedly at the door.  No one would point her out, and the gunmen began firing, killing her aunt, and her brother, who died at the scene, and wounding a dozen others.  Children, adults, hot bullets in them, lay, gasping in pain, crying in the night, as first responders arrived on the desperate, and horrific scene.

The gunmen apparently did not storm the house, or were unable to, nevertheless left a trail of bleeding and screaming victims in their wake.  They took several thousand pesos, personal items, and 2,000 US dollars, and fled in a Dodge Stratus.  

They are not special or different, they are men accused and convicted of various crimes in the US and Mexico, who had weapons, crystal, and some money on them.  They are in their late 30's and 40's.  They have murdered for money, or for crystal, and it is all the same thing.  They may have done unforgivable things, but they don't look like monsters.  

The new monsters, the foot soldier and killers of the retail cells all look like this.  Beaten down, desperate men, who kill for next to nothing.  They kill their own, the people who look like them, live like them, and live next to them.  
One of the suspects arrested
Children have been shot, children have been killed, a pregnant woman, La Bibi was shot in the back, and survived, it is unknown if her unborn child was injured, or the pregnancy compromised. There are thousands living in these places, and this is the reality for them.  Their friends have been murdered, their relatives have been kidnapped, or shot.  

They have little chance or choice to escape the colonias, the frenzied, dizzying, nauseating violence that consumes them.  As they grow older, they are the recruits, to watch corners, or count money, or weigh and package crystal, growing into the killers that terrorized their communities years ago. 

In front of La Bibi's house, Zeta Tijuana reports, 20 buckets of soap and water, could not clean the blood stains from the concrete, I am not sure anything will.