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

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Insignificants

Los Insignificantes
by SanJuana Martinez/SINEMBARGO.MX

“Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime” is a popular Charles Dickens quote we often see on holiday greeting cards. For the relatives of the up to 30,000 disappeared in Mexico’s drug war, these words are especially painful.

This pain was also felt by the relatives of the up to 60,000 dead; victims of executions, massacres, mutilations and shootings.

Don’t forget the pain felt by the approximately 20,000 orphans who miss their parents these holidays, and by the quarter million displaced persons whose life before this drug war is only a memory.

We who support this segment of the population, who embrace them through our work and have dedicated ourselves to their cause, raising our voices at their side, we have made their pain our pain. They, like the dead and disappeared, are also victims of this drug war.

The victims of the drug war have been, are and will continue to be seen as insignificant by this Administration. Their tragedies are of no interest to our politicians or the State. The judicial system lacks the mechanisms to protect these victims, to provide justice or compensation for their loss.

The victims of the drug war are also invisible. They are not counted in statistics; their names do not appear in any government document. In fact, the government does its best to sweep them under a rug.

The victims of the drug war were and are literally underground, tossed into common graves; killed with sledge hammers in San Fernando, Tamaulipas; by a ‘coup de grace’ in Durango; with a single shot to the head in Sinaloa; mutilated in Acapulco; dissolved in acid in Guerrero; incinerated in an extermination camp in Cienega de Flores and Doctor Gonzalez, Nuevo Leon.

The victims of the drug war writhe in pain in clandestine detention centers run by the Army and Marines where the torture ‘de jour’ is administered slowly; they scream and cry as they are broken into pieces by ‘tablazos’ (beatings with wooden boards), by burning, by electric shocks to the genitals, raping with baseball bats, mutilations….

The victims of the drug war work as slaves in camps run by the drug cartels. They were abducted on the highways, leaving work, on the streets, in their places of business and their homes; and they know that sooner or later they will be executed and buried in the middle of the desert in an unmarked grave, with no name, no flowers.

The victims of the drug war are also thousands upon thousands of women and girls, kidnapped and forced into prostitution. They are enslaved by the ‘narcos’, the kingpins and drug dealers, who see their bodies as gold mines to exploit.

The victims of the drug wars are also the unseen ‘femicidas’ (female serial murders); the thousands of mutilated, decapitated, dismembered women whose fate was the result of the absolute contempt for their gender.

The victims of the drug war are children, so young they don’t even matter. Their executions don’t fit into any official statistics. NGO’s calculate their deaths at 1,500 but the State insists in hiding them.

The victims of the drug war are the wounded in hospitals where their limbs are amputated and their wounds are sutured. Sometimes they survive, sometimes they don’t. The hospitals are swamped with not enough doctors, insufficient medications and equipment. These conditions are also covered up.

The victims of the drug war have a tag affixed to their toe. They are the unidentified that wait three months in a morgue to be claimed. The government has accumulated more than 10,000 unidentified bodies because no data bank exists at the national level to cross check names; and because these dead, like the others, are insignificant.

We live in a militarized country, sinking in the violence and barbarism of both the Narcos and the State. We live in an age of scoundrels, of a miserable and despotic ruling class; of shameless white collar criminals. We live amongst leaders with hands stained in blood; amongst mafias that plunder our natural resources; amongst parasites that embezzle the budget; amongst thieves that loot the national wealth; amongst slavers that pass for employers; amongst corruption that pillages the social well being. We live under a government that generates poverty, with 70 million poor that include 28 million living in food poverty. We live in an era of endemic impunity, with organized crime lodged in the highest spheres of power. We live at the end of the bloodiest ‘sexenio’ (six year presidential administration) in modern Mexican history. We live in Felipe Calderon’s last Christmas as tenant of ‘Los Pinos’ (Mexico’s version of the White House).

Hope, however, has not died; the guns of rival gangs have not succeeded in killing it. Hope is the principle weapon of the Movement of the Insignificants, of the children, of the nobodies and no-ones, of those that don’t matter, of the invisible. It is the weapon of those idealists and dreamers that think they can change the world, or at least the little world around them.

And we are determined not to surrender, but to continue the struggle guided by the shining light of love, solidarity and tolerance for a more just distribution of wealth, respect for human rights, dignity and equality. We are in search of another Mexico where peace and social justice is alive. We are many and we are growing by the day.

Sooner or later we will reach the other Mexico.


  1. SanJuana, I am at a loss to the beauty of your words and inspired by them.

    The goldsmith gently melts what is broken, what has been cast aside, and remolds, reworks it, to create magnificent beauty.

    The finished item is stronger, but exactly the same parts bonded differently together.

    God bless the goldsmiths for their fire.

    And so can also be this four cornered triangle transformed into a diamond.

    Thank you so much for posting, Gerardo.

  2. Watch out! Honest words are dangerous words in a corrupt world. The gringos will send the mexican state a Blackhawk to go after any socialist wishing to rob the elite of their priveleges. Just look what happened in Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua etc.

  3. The face in the last photograph haunts me.

  4. Thanks, Borderland Beat Reporter Gerardo.

    A very sad and disturbing post. Well done. The pictures with images are effective. They invoke wonder of who these people are or were.

    I am trying to learn, so note I'm not trying to call the article into doubt but I have a couple questions and quasi-observations. (considering my ignorance)

    Are the ten thousand unidentified folk in the morgues considered to be one third of the "up to" thirty thousand? Does the total estimate of the disappeared take into account that many people are afraid to report a missing relative?

    Perhaps "up to" means at least. Seeing how the media is bloodied and citizens are intimidated the estimates must be muted. From my bumbling viewpoint the common estimates across the board seem far to low.

    Best regards.

  5. Nice words,but the only change for Mexico now is Revolution.The millions must make a stand,the endemic corruption and criminality is never going away,unless it is swept away.Calderon is being seen as somewhat of a scapegoat,what would the writer of this story have him do?Nothing?What is the solution in the authors eyes?Lets talk?This corruption has been allowed to fester and grow for a hundred years and now you see its fruits.Everyone is to blame.The upper strata of moneyed society is cancerous and malignant,we see somewhat of a similar thing in Brazil.The ruling 5% with all the wealth,great wealth amongst grinding poverty always causes problems and leads to a more violent society.Bottom line is,something radical needs to occur,such as a Revolution.Mexico has done it,and can do it again.

  6. "Watch out! Honest words are dangerous words in a corrupt world. The gringos will send the mexican state a Blackhawk to go after any socialist wishing to rob the elite of their priveleges. Just look what happened in Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua etc."My god,how can it change when you have morons who think like this?

  7. I am changed; recommitted.

  8. I am so glad that I found this publication and that it is posted in English. Seeing what casual marijuana use and use of other drugs by Americans has contributed to in Mexico has been a real epiphany for me. I have made it a priority to inform acquaintances about this site and to educate them on what their casual use of drugs is contributing to.

  9. Finally we have a piece that focuses on a reality that goes beyond party or organizational affiliation. Neither current or former policy in Mexico will solve the problem the USA could not fix at home.

  10. Money is the root of all evil. The only way mexico and the world will ever changed their wicked ways will be by a divine intervention because all the leaders of this world are so corrupt and greedy, they think that the only way to lead is by oppressing the poor, while their pockets get bigger. All politicians are the same, nothing will change when the next liar gets into office.

  11. I am so glad that I found this publication and that it is posted in English. Seeing what DRUG PROHIBITION has contributed to in Mexico has been a real epiphany for me. I have made it a priority to inform acquaintances about this site and to educate them on what DRUG PROHIBITION is contributing to.

    It's all perspective, because the market is so huge. I'm not going to stop eating bananas because Dole is using their power to bully the farmers into restricted markets with unfair prices. But I can still feel bad for the farmer. Supporting prohibition would be like supporting Dole, assuming they can do no wrong.

    Excellent article! It will not get nearly the attention that it deserves, it is very moving.

  12. "It's all perspective, because the market is so huge. I'm not going to stop eating bananas because Dole is using their power to bully the farmers into restricted markets with unfair prices. But I can still feel bad for the farmer. Supporting prohibition would be like supporting Dole, assuming they can do no wrong."

    My larger point is that drugs should be legalized. Take the profit out of the cartels hands and a lot of these tragedies, as listed in the article, will go away.

    My focus is the United States. As for Marijuana, let the people produce their own. Other drugs could be made legal also as in Portugal. See the article at:,8599,1893946,00.html#ixzz1iPOC7Bl1

  13. Very good except for the socialism part. And the comments "The gringos will send the mexican state a Blackhawk to go after any socialist wishing to rob the elite of their priveleges." it's unfortunate so many actually believe that, and casual marijuana use isn't the problem, just a small part of the problem is weed, there's other drug, extortion, kidnapping and a whole list of other crimes including white collar, and it is a long history of government corruption. If I may suggest this coming election in July will be very important to both Mexico and the U.S.

  14. Very touching and poetic...but know "gringos..are enslaved by thd same enemies of all humanity as the rest of the what jesus said about them

  15. I was cheering the linked material above until I got to the allegation about mayors and governors being appointed in Mexico. She was right about police chiefs being appointed though. Maybe someone could give a class to American experts on Mexico so they could gets those kinds of things right. Otherwise, they lose credibility with those kinds of errors.

  16. @11:17 -This article was written by someone who is Mexican,so what on Earth are you talking about?

  17. My cyber device takes me to an article by Ms. Sylvia Longmire, a former member of the American Military. If she is of Mexican heritage that is great but she obviously never voted in a Mexican election in the Republic of Mexico since mayors and governors are elected. If your article is something else, then I stand corrected.

  18. The "other" Mexico is long longer exists.

    My grandparent's Mexico is gone...

    My parents's Mexico is gone...

    My Mexico is gone and there is nothing left for my children.

  19. Someone pointed that the problem goes why beyond drugs into areas such as extortion, kidnapping etc, that is true,but it is the drug profits IMHO that fuel everything else.

  20. You stand corrected. The author is a brave young Mexican woman whose investigations into the drug cartels, Roman Catholic clergy and her own government have brought her both praise for her professionalism as well as threats against her life.

  21. Oh yes. I understand the article here is from sj Martinez. I was referring to the link at border violence analysis type pad. Does sj Martinez have material there as well?

  22. A very fine and touching article but I have a few problems with it.

    It sounds like the writer wants a socialist style takover of the government. Can anyone tell me where in world hisory that has ever benifited "the people".

    Mexico has a government (made up of elected officials) that cares little about it's people, fighting a web of even more sinister and evil drug cartels that are homicidal maniacs at best. The people of Mexico are going to have to pick one. I recommend you go along with the least of two evils and go with the elected government. First defeat the cartels then reform the governmenmt or have your revolution. You can't fight both at the same time, and win.

  23. we need a revolution in mexico

  24. How much progress was made in Mexico by the 1918 revolution and the LAND REFORM Ejuido experiment of giveaway land grants complete Screw Up. The Left always is there crying for give me programs, THEY do not work, they are counter productive. Humans must be managed by Psycological principles, NOT POLITICAL crap, give people hope and the ability to earn,be safe, and own what they earn, Govt is evil and distructive, HELL LOOK AT THE US and MEXICO today.

  25. @3:20 Yep! si, no huevos

  26. Look at the diverse opinions on here?Damnnn boy,we are fucked.Everyone is an expert,another thing that strikes you is.Mexicans are ultra nationalistic,without having anything to be proud of,and they are racist.Lets be real,they want to blame everyone else particularly the USA,yet they make droga,sell droga,import 1000s of tons of precursor chemicals,and then blame USA for drug use?Ever wonder why they keep catching tons of chemicals?Because it is such a shit hole with no employment prospects and such unbelievable corruption,that it is easy to keep doing it.It is doomed unless the people get some morality.

  27. That last picture in the article is pretty sad and I'm pretty sure the writer intended for us all to believe the majority of Mexicans are standing around like that poor compusino.

    In fact the evidence to the contrary is in this site everyday. The military is having an effect. Someone needs to take them off the leash and wipe out the cartels. Quit playing around and put an end to it. It can be done. It won't be pretty.

  28. @5:14 -I am a "Gringo" from New York and you are a disgrace to Humanity.I have spent over 1 year of my life in Mexico and I found it to be a great place with many good people..Of course there is terrible Narco scum throughout,but the common Mexican is a hard working decent family loving Human being,unlike you a Hateful racist ignorant fool..

  29. @ Gerardo

    Good work. Always giving us original articles with great pictures.

    Let's always remember the victims.

  30. 8:25 pm

    What s racist about what he said? It's an opinion probably very close to correct. While one cannot make a blanket statement about any race, how many American flags did you see in Mexico. Probably next to none. I have spent much time traveling through Mexico and have family there. How many Mexican flags are flying in Texas?

    Mexicans are nationalistic as are many countries that are not the "melting pot" of America. The problem is you do not know the origins of the US or have been misinformed as many are. Mexicans are not fleeing to Argentina or Guatemala or any other Socialist crap hole, they are fleeing to the US for jobs, freedom and security. Gringo, go back to Mexico and spread that propaganda.

  31. standing around like that poor compusino? MAYBE YOU ARE TRYING TO SAY campesino (FARMER)

  32. ajulio IT IS NICE TO SEE YOU BACK.

  33. Mi lindo michoacan I just pray to the man above that one you will return to peace so family can too I haven't forgot your beauty mi Sierra linda Sierra de tumbiscatio y Tierra caliente saludos a Los cuevas palominos sotos y Los ontiveros

    Some ppl just don't see what war has caused thousands of innocent lives lost for what ??? Ask your self for what tell what will change what has changed nothing every thing is is 100 x more violent than it was

  34. Mexico should just pay and allow Black Water to go in and exterminate them all.....but they won't. Nice articles like this one will be continued to be written,picture or horror will continue to be taken, innocent people WILL continue to die because the masses no longer stand united. Those MLK days are over, marching, protesting, etc. No one cares enough to do anything aout it, so what will happen is the US will have to step IN and handle it and only then will new laws be made such as capitol punishment, right to bare arms, etc. I would not be surprised if the US has a motive to help destruct Mexico, Fast and Furious, training the Zeta "before they were Zeta", etc.

  35. take another look at that "campesino" he is the future of mexico and to feed his family he will join the cartels, he will kidnap, extort, and slice off ur head with precision. what other choice does he have right now. That is what is lacking the choice for a better life - education, jobs, someone not out to -uck u so they can profit

  36. To: 7:41 am

    Let's take a look back for a minute. What happened to all those factories that moved from the US to Mexico, maquiladores. Thats jobs. The problem is gangs and cartels started extorting and kidnapping anyone who had a job. There are numerous stories about people fleeing Juarez who had jobs because of the violence.

    Jobs exsist because someone needs somthing done and can pay for it. Companies or people with money create jobs. You must creat a climate where they can exsist and thrive, thats why the cartels and gangs need to be wiped out. If a farmer will kidnap and cut someone's head off he has a problem that goes deeper than the need for a job.

    The criminal justice system in Mexico is nonexsistent or at best a joke. This is why the military must remain in the fight and finish it.

  37. "Hope" how many more have to die while holding on to hope....? It is deeply saddening to know this is a vicious circle...those children left orphaned so young because their parents are either abducted, murdered, or jailed under false accusations, are likely to be easy pray to degenerates and cartels - which are one in the same. Easy to be brainwashed and forced to commit the same atrocities of which they have been victims of...the government in Mexico simply turns the other way, and keeps getting richer, while keeping its population ignorant....I will never understand how a person in charge could care less if the people who have faith in him perish...what a huge lack of integrity and lack of respect for human life....the government knows who is who, yet they do nothing, people know who is who, yet do nothing because they are in fear, or sometimes because they think as long as they are not affected, they shouldn't say anything...

    Great article....

  38. How os guate socialist they don't get free health care they can own a business

  39. @ 9:23 pm

    Good to be back.

    Lets always remember the victims.


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