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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics in Mexico's Drugs War?

By Ian Pannell
BBC News
Janet Figueroa still weeps for her father. It is four months since he was gunned down in Xalapa, the state capital of Veracruz.

Eleven people died in the attack.

When she was taken to identify her father's body the police showed her a photo of him slumped in a black vehicle, with a large machine gun by his side.

She says the state governor immediately announced that all of those killed were "criminals" who had "bitten the dust".

But Joaquin Figueroa was a mechanic who had left work that evening in a white pick-up truck with two colleagues.

'No proof'

According to Ms Figueroa, he had never been involved in crime and did not own a gun.

She accuses the authorities of manipulating the facts and figures.

"The government statistics are not real"
Janet Figueroa
Veracruz resident

We were shown around his small dark apartment. It was littered with the detritus of a divorcee mechanic: half-empty food cartons, screws, bolts and bits of engines.

It is hardly the lifestyle of a man who made his living from the lucrative drugs trade.

Ms Figueroa says: "It is a matter of statistics, a way to show that they are actually doing something to fight crime in Veracruz."

She has asked the authorities for proof that her father was involved with the drug cartels. She is still waiting for an answer.

Her father is just one of tens of thousands of people to have been killed in a war on drug gangs declared by President Felipe Calderon.

Hundreds of failed polygraphs

Undoubtedly the majority are criminals but the security forces and innocent bystanders have also died.

Police forces have become mired in accusations of corruption.

Veracruz has just sacked 1,000 officers who failed to pass lie-detector tests.

Some government officials are also accused of either under-reporting the number of deaths or deliberately changing the details of those killed to make it appear that the victims are criminals rather than civilians.

Now the authorities are under pressure to justify a policy that has turned relatively safe cities into battlegrounds.

I met one restaurant owner in Veracruz whose business was right next door to a house where 11 bodies were discovered. No-one knows who was responsible.

Such is the state of fear here that the man does not want to be named for fear of reprisals.

He says people are shocked by the violence that has come to Veracruz, a region that used to be immune from the troubles elsewhere.

He is emphatic on the question of who is to blame: "The government, 100%".

He, and many others here, feel caught between state and federal forces on the one hand and the drug cartels on the other.

Janet Figueroa is unusual not because she is the relative of a victim of violence, but because she has dared to speak out and campaign for what she calls "truth and justice".

Journalists have been killed, bloggers imprisoned, people have been threatened.

Ms Figueroa admits she and her family are scared and that they have been threatened, but she wants people to question the official version of events.

"I have to do it because it's a way to show that the government statistics and numbers are not real; that there are actually civilians killed in this drug war."


  1. This is nothing new. Everyone knows that the statistics are exaggerated. Sad how many innocent victims are thrown into the murdered victims tally of the cartels war just to show gruesome percentages to the whole world.

  2. Here is a video for this post. Is in Spanish but the video is about the same subject.

  3. Just like the man and woman killed in the video recently. Just poor innocent citizens that fall pray. A lot of the arrested are innocent people too. PAN has feed on fear and become more evil than any. Calderon is the most evil.

  4. This is true, however very slim to the mesivcan math used to actually tally the narco dead. it depends on the purpose of the situation. take veracruz. i knew those kids were not zetas and it is proven none had drug arrests and most never had been arrested. this is from pgr.

    intention drug homicides are comonnly deemed "accidental" or "suicide" to keep figures low as to not bring attention to a particular region...gee i wonder who would want that? there was a case i read about that 14 dead narcos were listed as "accidental"

    this is the more common scenario

  5. "one restaurant owner in Veracruz whose business was right next door to a house where 11 bodies were discovered. No-one knows who was responsible.

    Such is the state of fear here that the man does not want to be named for fear of reprisals."

    Gee I wonder who this man could be? The reporter is a dumbass who just revealed the man's identity. NEVER TALK TO ANY REPORTERS! They are ambitious idiots who are only out for selfish glory...

  6. @4:24, I feel you.. Its like the Marino that died in the Arturo Beltran operation. The STUPID media made a big deal about it, told everyone who the family was, and where they were from. They were even present at his funeral.Sadly, the next day his whole family was assassinated by a couple of Zetas..
    I hate Zetas, if you work for them, if you deal with them, if you do date them, there is only one thing coming to you.. A painful death, and I won't feel sorry for you....

  7. comandantes de la policia federal estan desapareciendo a sus propios hombres, no levantan la denuncia de desaparicion, y en otros casos denuncian abandono de trabajo, ademas obstaculizan las investigaciones para no localizar a sus hombres, y los mandos de la policia federal proteje a los comandantes, deberian investigar esto, hay cientos de policias desaparecidos, y las autoridades no han hecho nada para aclarar las desapariciones, hay denuncias en contra de los comandantes, pero no pasa nada


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