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Friday, September 23, 2016

Demand for Inquiry Into Police Abuse of Women May Embroil Mexico’s President

Posted by DD Republished from New York Times

MEXICO CITY — International human rights officials are demanding an investigation into the brutal sexual assaults of 11 Mexican women during protests a decade ago — an inquiry that would take aim at President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was the governor in charge at the time of the attacks.

The demand is part of a multiyear examination by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights into abuses during a 2006 crackdown ordered by Mr. Peña Nieto on San Salvador Atenco, a town in Mexico State where demonstrators had taken over the central square. During the operations, which left two dead, more than 40 women were violently detained by the police, packed onto buses and sent to jail several hours away.

The case was brought by 11 women to the international commission, which found that the police tortured them sexually. The women — a mix of merchants, students and activists — were raped, beaten, penetrated with metal objects, robbed and humiliated, made to sing aloud to entertain the police. One was forced to perform oral sex on multiple officers. After the women were imprisoned, days passed before they were given proper medical examinations, the commission found.

“I have not overcome it, not even a little,” said one of the women, Maria Patricia Romero Hernández, weeping. “It is something that haunts me and you don’t survive. It stays with you.”

For Mr. Peña Nieto, the human rights commission’s call for an investigation is another blow to a presidency under siege. Corruption scandals and continued violence have already dragged his approval ratings to the lowest of any Mexican president in a quarter-century. His invitation of Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate reviled in Mexico for his statements critical of Mexican immigrants, plunged his administration even further into controversy.

The assaults are also a reminder of countless other cases in the country that remain unresolved, including the haunting disappearance of 43 college students two years ago. International officials contend that the investigation into that case was actively undermined by Mr. Peña Nieto’s government.

The president’s office noted that the commission did not accuse Mr. Peña Nieto of wrongdoing or explicitly name him as a target of the investigation into the sexual assaults. Beyond that, his office said, legal cases in Mexico that have thoroughly investigated the attacks have never held him responsible.

“There is no one who can point to an order permitting the abuse of force,” said Roberto Campa, the under secretary for human rights in the Mexican Interior Ministry.

But the international commission found Mexico’s efforts to investigate the abuse insufficient so far. Instead, it demanded a much more thorough inquiry to uncover responsibility across the entire chain of command, which would most likely make Mr. Peña Nieto part of the investigation because he ordered the crackdown.

It also called for disciplinary or criminal action against any authorities who contributed to the denial of justice for the women.

The commission delivered its findings last week to the Inter-American Court, an independent judiciary with legal authority over Mexico. If the court agrees with the commission, it can order Mexico to broaden its current inquiry into the case, a requirement that could force the state to investigate its own president.

The commission suggests that the state government under Mr. Peña Nieto had sought to minimize and even cover up the events. Perhaps the most lurid example is whom the government chose to prosecute: Rather than go after the police who committed the sexual torture, the state initially prosecuted the women instead. Five were imprisoned for a year or more, on charges like blocking traffic, detentions the commission found arbitrary.

Days after the episode, the state denied the accusations of the women, essentially calling them liars. Mr. Peña Nieto told a local newspaper at the time that it was a known tactic of radical groups to have women make accusations of sexual violence to discredit the government. Others in his administration made similar claims.

Since then, while the government has acknowledged the veracity of the accusations, not a single person has been convicted of any crime related to the assaults in Atenco. Most recently, five doctors charged with ignoring evidence of sexual abuse had their cases dismissed.

The case is an example of the lengths victims must go to in pursuit of justice in Mexico. The women endured more than 10 years of threats, intimidation and psychological trauma. They watched as men who assaulted them walked free.

But by refusing to drop the case, the women pushed it to an international level, making it a symbol of the broken rule of law in Mexico and the widespread impunity that ensures it never heals.
While it is unlikely that Mr. Peña Nieto’s government will conduct an investigation into whether he knew of or covered up the assaults, the admonition of an international body is a deep embarrassment for him.

Having been presented to the court, despite several attempts by the Mexican government to delay and derail it, the case offers a rare opportunity for accountability in a country where only a tiny percentage of crimes are ever solved. The women refused to settle the case for years, with legal assistance from the human rights organization Centro Prodh, turning down promises of free homes and scholarships. In interviews with all 11 victims, a fundamental desire emerged: a public reckoning of what happened to them and who ordered it.

The residual trauma of the assaults has marked each woman differently. For some, family and friends offered a way to recover, if not entirely, and move on with their lives. A few found ways to connect their struggle to the broader push for justice and rights in Mexico. But others found no such comfort, with time’s passage a useless salve.

These are the 11 Plaintiffs, and their words.

“I made the conscious decision to survive, to 

be alive and well today, to feel pretty again, to 
love me and see me in the mirror and 

recognize the person I saw. It was that they 

stole from me, my way of being, of loving, of 
Patricia Torres Linares, 33
 “The stigma that falls upon you is terrible. 
My boyfriend didn’t want to be with me, 
friends used to treat me as if I was going to 
break all the time, as if I was made of glass. I 
had to come to terms with the fact people — 
my family included — didn’t know how to 
treat me.” 
Norma Aidé Jiménez Osorio, 33

“I have not overcome it, not even a little. It is 

something that haunts me and you don’t 

survive. It stays with you. I could never tell 

my son and my father of the fact I was raped 

by not one but several policemen, because 

they would have gone mad.”
Maria Patricia Romero Hernández, 48
“My life plans were ruined. After what  

happened I had no short- or long-term plans, I 
just figured out how to get my life back 

together, to regain trust and hope that this 

world wasn’t a horrible place.”
Bárbara Italia Méndez Moreno, 37

“This process of 10 years has been very 

difficult and at the same time very beautiful. 

Regardless of the fact we started it so hurt, 

so broken, physically and emotionally, we had

 and held each other and we didn’t let it 

destroy us.”
Mariana Selvas Gómez, 32

“They took the most valuable thing from me, 

which is time, because no one would sell 

their time, not even one second for a 

thousand dollars. You can’t ever get that 

time back.”
Suhelen Gabriela Cuevas Jaramillo, 30

“The fact we are going to the Inter-American 

Court is a way of accepting that we were 

really affected. It was not an accident but 

rather a state practice towards social 

movements, and the people in general, and it 

is a step forward into putting an end to all of 

this.” Georgina Edith Rosales Gutiérrez, 60

“The stigma is very harsh. I didn’t go to 

college. What am I supposed to do? Because 

of the criminal record no one would give me 

a job recommendation.”
Yolanda Muñoz Diosdada, 56

“My kids were emotionally destabilized by 

what happened. My son, who was 8 at the 

time, promised he would become a lawyer to 

get me out of jail. My youngest daughter 

used to draw policemen with blood 

all over them. She was 6 years old then.”
Cristina Sánchez Hernández, 50

 “That has been the hardest, most enraging 

part of this entire process, watching those 

who attacked us go free. I was full of anger, 

thinking nothing happens, even when you find

 the guilty party, the very person who

 attacked you, they walk away free.”
Ana María Velasco Rodríguez, 43

 “It hurts to know that the Claudia of before 

Atenco is gone. She was someone who would

 fight for equality and for other people’s 

rights, and she did it without fear. Now, I am 

scared all the time.”
Claudia Hernández Martínez, 33

Continue reading the main story


  1. "Rather than go after the police who committed the sexual torture, the state initially prosecuted the women instead. Five were imprisoned for a year or more"

    This is TERRIBLE.
    I just wonder why the Mexicans, year after year, vote for the wrong politicians ? Don't they have few decent people who can replace the corrupted ones in power ?

    1. It's deeper than that güero.

    2. The mexican poltical system is a gravy train built on corruption. Everybody involved only has the goal of personal enrichment and anybody with an honest agenda is shut out. Grassroot movements - like e.g. autodefensas - are combatted vigourosly by all goverment actors and criminal syndicates together to prevent derailment of their gravy train.

    3. @11:55: Bingo! Add to that the impunity that is built into the system and this is what you get.

    4. 9:14 that is the power to blackout news all over mexico,
      When the pinchis viejas woke up to the murderous ways of epn and co. He was presidente...
      "A quien hay que partirle la madre, secretario miranda?"
      Notiguia, pregunta jesus lopez segura.
      The development secretary set up the macheteros murdered by epn in atenco, and the women arrested and raped, he worked wit arturo montiel, and now with epn, in estado deexico they had 366 lynchings in more than 10 years, now they have more than 6p in 10 months, because SEDESOL SECRETARIO LUIS ENRIQUE MIRANDA NAVA IS TELLING "HIS PEOPLE TO GO AND LYNCH THE "BAD GUYS" which is any body in the estado de mexico accuses of being a "bad guy", that is epn in one little piece of shit.
      --Davao Death Squad, (DDS) rodrigo duterte murdering death squad for more than 20 years, killing moslems and women...
      "Life on Duterte Death Squad"/The New York Times,
      by Ainara Tiefenthaler...
      "DDS was really the police, nobody was ever caught..." says witness Edgar Matobato...
      It is sooo easy to be a death squad leader these days, on the philipines or in mexico, or SouthAmerica or in africa, after the Modelo Colombia successes..

  2. Mexicans want the rule of law in Mexico, however, they don't want American laws applied to them!

    1. 1:46 this shit is all american soft strike and low intensity engagements.
      --Even on the US the laws apply different if you look different, if you are not "a cop", or a militarized "cop"

  3. Read this first thing this AM
    thanks for posting this important story.

  4. May God grant these women the strength to move forward. What a nightmare it must of been for them to be violated the way they were. Pero todo se paga en Esta VIDA. Those responsible will surely Pay sooner or later

  5. Ya dejense d mamadas y saquen a epn hagan un paro laboral nacional si tienen miedo a tomar las armas !!!

    1. Mexicans get epn out stop watching telenovelaa or liga mx no don't b cowards with marching protests n social media memes y'all don't get nothing done govt just laughs it off take action or b enslaved forever govt will never change on their own.let the world hear u.

  6. Wow thse women are so strong and courageous to have their photos published and take it to the top.Kudos to them.To think they were offered homes and scholarships to 'settle' and turned it down.The fact they allowed their photos taken and a small speech and turned down those perks means:it really happened and they want justice.The article says rounding up the low level officers.Position or station in life seems to be ALL in Mexico regardless of guilt.Looking for 'fall guys' not necessarily the 1's that really did it.This mindset has to stop or this country will never become a fair and equal society.It needs to start at the TOP.Looks good on EPN even though he didn't participate in the abuses,he ordered it.Another egg on the face for him yet again.Boy I hate that PRI party.A step back for Mexico.

    1. LOL.......canadiana............LOL
      a fair and equal society? LOL
      Dream on. The powers that be have no interest in being fair or equal. End of story.

    2. Then someone has to hold them 'accountable'.It has to start somewhere.300 years ago our society was not exactly fair and equal either.

    3. For the moment, canadiana, the enemy has the moral and the legal upper hand, full of weapons to defend its dirty deeds, be happy their shit is getting posted and surfaces for all to see, just spread the word, while they can't censore it all

    4. Oh wake up and sweep the floor. If you have money and powerful friends then you are 'equal'. Until then...cry me a river. The poor, weak, defensless have always been and always will be preyed upon. Who is this 'someone' who will hold 'them' accountable? LOL

  7. Peña-Nieto, the members of his administration that denied the victim's claims and the SOBs, that actually committed these dehumanizing and barbaric atrocities against these women, should have the same sexual acts done to them. Then when they complain that they were victimized Mexico's judiciary should accuse them of being malcontents while denying them any semblance of justice. Not that justice exists for the common citizen in Mexico.

  8. Horribly sad yet old story .
    How many strong women have figured highly in every arena since the beginning of time ? Let us be thankful to these brave women for making their hideous experiences a force for the greater good of all.........dios las bendiga

    1. Ora por culpa de estas viejas argüenderas, ya no dejan vivas, a las secuestradas o detenidas, inocentes o no, en todo mexico, pero ya todos sabemos quien fue, el pinchi gobierno federal.
      Now politicians say the Mando Unico "is requested by the states, because they can't control crime" and it is all state business, and the federales "do not have anything to do with it" specially when federal crimes are proved to be by their members on the state, shit gets promptly "classified" by the classless mexican government, executive, legislative and the judiciary, because of "national Security" and to protect the right and constitutional garrantees of the mexican criminal class...
      --Ah, pero si yo me robo un frutsi, o le agarro las nalgas a la pinchi gaviota, pál bote güey.

  9. The fact is: shit rolls down hill. The fact is: the politicians sit at the top of the hill. Welcome to Mexico.

    1. In veracruz, the fiscal general luis angel bravo announces the priests murdered recently, were murdered by acquaintances they were drinking with, no bay any narcos or cartel member, and they got murdered to steal the money collected during mass, who you believe is your pedo...
      The killers must have been cogidos and they confessed, but they didn't do it.


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