Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is the Fuse Lit? Uprising/Lynching in Ascención

ASCENSIÓN, Chihuahua – An attempted kidnapping September 21 in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua touched off a burst of mass outrage that left two suspected young kidnappers dead and a small town in open rebellion.

While the details are still sketchy, the events began with the abduction of a 17-year-old female worker of a seafood restaurant in the town of Ascension by a group of young men.

Located south of the New Mexico border, Ascención is in an agricultural region known for its production of chili peppers for the US export market and other crops. The rural area has suffered numerous kidnappings and killings during the last two years.

Alerted to the kidnapping, townspeople and soldiers mobilized, freed the victim and detained five alleged kidnappers; one suspect reportedly escaped. Hundreds of angry residents beat two of the detainees, teenagers, and blocked police from rescuing the suspects, who were later pronounced dead. Reportedly, the mother of one of the suspects witnessed her son’s demise.

In a stand-off that lasted throughout the day, residents prevented two federal police helicopters from landing and blockaded roads to prevent military reinforcements from arriving. Armed with picks, shovels and machetes, enraged residents shouted at “corrupt” soldiers and police to leave. Some locals accused government security forces of colluding with delinquent bands.

One version held that the rescued kidnap victim was the niece of a member of the local town council.
“La Chona Lights the Fuse,” headlined Ciudad Juarez’s Lapolaka newsite, whose director was just granted political asylum in the United States. The news organization couched the report in historical and contemporary terms: “The new Mexican Revolution could have begun this Tuesday in Ascención…”

While mass lynchings are not uncommon in certain parts of Mexico, such acts have been rare in Chihuahua. The Ascension incident came at an extremely delicate political moment in Chihuahua and Mexico. Submerged in violence, the border state is two weeks away from a political transition that will usher into power a new governor, new state legislature and local governments.

Since the July elections, the murders of several relatives of Governor-elect Cesar Duarte and other politicians, frequent public displays of narco-banners warning of new attacks and round-the-clock executions have added constant doses of mass anxiety to an already tense political and social environment characterized by the ongoing confrontation between heavily armed organized crime groups.

“We consider that an armed conflict which has not been duly recognized by international institutions exists in the state of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez in particular,” read a statement from three prominent, non-governmental human rights organizations this week.

“The cost has been devastating: Thousands of executions, murders of women, robberies, extortions, taxes on businesses for turf rights, deaths of human rights defenders and journalists, hundreds of thousands of displaced people, complaints of human rights violations that are not investigated or sanctioned, and tears and blood that run through the desert in total impunity.”

The statement was signed by representatives of the Chihuahua Commission in Solidarity and Defense of Human Rights, Paso del Norte Human Rights Center and Women’s Human Rights Center of Chihuahua City.

Nationally, anticipation and angst hangs in the air as Mexico commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of Independence and 100th anniversary of the 1910 Revolution.

Additionally, September 23 marks the 45th anniversary of the attack on the Madera army barracks not far from Ascension. Led by school teacher Arturo Gamiz and Dr. Pablo Gomez, the guerrilla assault inspired a generation of revolutionaries whose ideological descendants are resurfacing in other parts of the country today.

Last week, as Mexico celebrated its bicentennial, yet another self-proclaimed rebel band issued a declaration in the southern state of Guerrero. In a communiqué delivered to the Guerrero daily El Sur, the Armed People’s Army called for a popular boycott of the upcoming gubernatorial election, an end to the political parties and unity of all the various revolutionary forces. Containing 11 political points, the message was accompanied by a video that portrayed a guerrilla column in the mountains.

The Ascension uprising drew heaps of praise on the Internet, with more than one writer suggesting that the mass action showed the way forward in a climate of corruption, lawlessness and institutionalized impunity.

According to the Chihuahua state government, three surviving suspects were successfully transferred to Ciudad Juarez. Authorities are investigating the deaths of the other two suspects, said a statement from the administration of Governor Jose Reyes Baeza, which is due to leave office early next month.

Quoted in the Mexican press, residents of Ascension vowed to arm themselves and protect their town from its enemies.
  • El Diario de Juarez, September 21 and 22, 2010.
  • Articles by Luz del Carmen Sosa and editorial staff.
  • La Jornada, September 21 and 22, 2010.
  • Articles by Miroslava Breach Velducea.
  • El Heraldo de Chihuahua, September 22, 2010.
  •, September 22, 2010.
  • El Sur, September 17, 2010.
  • Article by Carmen Gonzalez., September 14, 15 and 21, 2010.
Source used for this posting:
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico


  1. "The Ascension uprising drew heaps of praise on the Internet, with more than one writer suggesting that the mass action showed the way forward in a climate of corruption, lawlessness and institutionalized impunity."

    I might agree but them beating the two suspects to death is just another form of lawlessness and the people who did it are criminals as well.

    Do we have any information on reasons they tried to kidnap her? Was it cartel related or not? That is very important context.

  2. finally at last the people have woke up...defend yourselves...VIVA MEXICO

  3. All political systems oppose an armed public,big brother will provide security,prosperity,stability. What went wrong is that at one time there was an idea that power came from the public which empowered the Govt. today power is concentrated in centralized unacountable Govt,while the public is subjected to escalating managment. This uprising is a good omen, sooner or later the people of Mexico should rise up against both the private and public criminals who have held Mexicans hostage and retarded the development of Mexico. The idea that an armed public is or would be counter productive to law order and stability buys into the Liberal concept of Govt should and will provide,problem is Govt can't and has never been able to be in the shoes of a person in the act of being victimized. It is a proud moment when people have had enough, VIVVA MEXICO----

  4. The first commentor has no idea what these people go through. You're just sitting in the comfort of your own U.S home judging these peoples actions. These peoples lives are threatened everyday, directly and indirectly. I don't provoke killing but ANYONE who feels their family's life is threatened, will act. It's BS to say you wouldn't otherwise you are a coward and do not have a right to have your family under your protection.

    Que la sangre y valor de Pancho Villa corra por las vidas de la gente de Chihuahua.

  5. Ya Basta!
    At last, people in a community had the cojones to make an example of these criminals. Even though getting beat to death is a terrible way to die,these criminals knew the difference between right and wrong. The two that were killed probably thought it was going to be another easy day at the office. They paid with their lives. Other communities need to follow their lead. Viva la gente de Ascension!

  6. the kidnapppers received what they deserved. how would you feel if it was your daughter that was kidnapped. we tend to distance ourselves from situtations like these and become complacent when it it not happening in our neighborhood. Someone finally stood up to these people and they got what they really deserved. Ive been reading this blog for a while now and i often come across articles detailing kidnappings and murders where people stand around and do nothing. im almost positive that these thugs had done this before and would probably continue doing this without a second thought. so my praise goes out to this town.

  7. Im sorry to say this but "power to the people". These people can only take so much abuse until they snap. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. These people are not murderers for defending themselves and for doing something their government should be doing. I just hope they caught the right suspects...great story.

  8. @ 5:36 AM
    If one is committing an assault and in the victim's defense the assailant is killed the rescuers are not criminals. The are heroes.

    With great courage and a desire for freedom from ALL coercion they "Armed themselves with picks, shovels and machetes", they held off
    the police, the military and its helicopters, bravo. Don't give up.

    When this starts happening in all the plazas all those in Mexico D.F. will put their heart into eliminating the cartels and corruption.
    Don't let them fool you, don't quit until it's all cleaned up.


  9. General crime has been on the rise in Mexico for years,the high profile criminals, druggies,the little wannabes steal extort kidnap why not no down side a kidnapper can get protection under the drug lords umbrella pay some money your safe.I just hope these farmers have started a trend. Mexico should be proud.

  10. Great they did the job of the police! Funny how the criminals always seem to get away from the Cops!! but not from the people! Great great great! Thank God these people took action and saved this girl from these animals.

  11. What does it matter if it was Cartel related or not? For no reason do criminals need to go after children, it doesn't matter who's child it is!

  12. The rights/authority of the government entirely come from the people. When the government fails to execute its duties (like arresting criminals, and enforcing the law) the people MUST take back those rights and fulfill those duties themselves. The Mexican Government (national and local) have repeatedly shown they are not willing to fulfill these duties.

    Congratulations to the Mexican people for fulfilling this basic duty. Now start arming yourselves so you can fulfill your duty of protecting yourselves and your family.

  13. And when the government wont defend its people, it is within their right to take action against those who threathen to harm their families life! "Prefiero morrir en mis pies, que vivir toda una vida en mis rodillas! Viva Zapata, Viva Villa, Viva la Revolucion, y Viva Mexico VIVA!

  14. I don't agree with vigilante justice, it presumed guilt with no chance to prove innocence and it is often times carried out with no regard for human rights.

    That said, sometimes its the ONLY justice available in a place where so few have any hope of getting it.

  15. When there is no justice, vigilante justice is better than no justice at all.

  16. According to reports this small town of less than 7000 inhabitants has been suffering on average 3 kidnappings per WEEK over the past couple years.

    Nobody (authorities) has helped them, no arrest are made..

    It was also reported the kidnappers who survived testified being part of a kidnapping gang known as "CABORCA"" based in Sonora.

    The entire police force was fired today. The town has had enough..

    What else were they to do?

  17. Legal or not arm your self and kill the kidnappers and thiefs. The thing that sucks is that the government in Mexico makes it very hard to transport a gun outside of ones home, this need to stop. Let law abiding folks carry guns upto 380 acp as law states. Narcos and other criminals don't ask for permission to do so.

  18. I hope the good people of mexico see this as an example of how to confront adversity through taking up arms and defending their families from those who think that they can do harm to whoever they want with impunity. GOD BLESS THE HARD WORKING HONEST PEOPLE OF MEXICO.

  19. I would rather die on my feet, than live on my knees. -Emiliano Zapata
    Enough said....

  20. God bless the good people of Ascension. They got organized and they got what they needed. Viva Chihuahua! Viva Mexico!

  21. Good for them, I would beat the shit out of them also. My cousin got kidnapped at a "army checkpoint" 2years back and I was filled with rage more than grief, Hope i dont run into his kidnappers or i dont know how i would react. A couple of them are pleading to god there cases.


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