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Mexico’s Crime Victims Deserve More Legitimacy than Gangs

Mexico’s Crime Victims Deserve More Legitimacy than Gangs

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Victims of Crime in Mexico must not suffer due to Impunity
Victims of Crime in Mexico must not suffer due to Impunity

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Mar 11, 2014
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06/05/2014

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Column 031014 Brewer 
 
Monday, March 10, 2014
 
ictims of Crime in Mexico must not suffer due to Impunity
By Jerry Brewer
 
The much needed and most elusive mandate for Mexico, after nearly a decade of barbaric  violence, must turn to the thousands of victims that have suffered through loss of life, and the survivors who have been victimized and those that are missing.  As local gangs, criminal opportunists and heavily armed transnational organized groups roam randomly through regions of Mexico, estimates are that they have left at least 99,000 killed from 2006-2012 alone. And these numbers do not even remotely touch the estimated numbers of those reported missing.
 
Much of the violence is blamed on the obsessive and hedonistic demand for drugs in the United States of an estimated $80 billion a year, however let not this drug induced culture take the full blame.
 
Located mass burial sites in many parts of Mexico, and in northern cone nations of Central  America, have revealed well over a thousand  bodies of people that were duped by human traffickers, robbed and tortured, with many  women raped and killed. Extortion and kidnappings have also attributed to many of the death, as have gang and other drug related offenses.
 
 A victim is a victim, and survivors are demanding justice for these crimes that are approaching nearly a decade of impunity. Too few cases are solved, and there are reports of little attention given to the victims -- and they are widespread. Much of the inattention to the cases and the lack of follow-up are blamed on incompetence, lack of training, corruption and politics. In contrast, the drug cartels and their hierarchies have, on occasion, suffered the wrath of what the Mexican military and federal police have bestowed upon them.  Although being a journalist in Mexico is a dangerous profession, with scores having been abducted, tortured and/or murdered, many ournalists have focused their reporting on cartel nomenclature, the areas under organized crime control, and the personalities of the drug kingpins and their lifestyles. Many of the upper echelons of leadership within the drug trade receive celebrity status within regions, some are praised for their generosity, and there are those  who are even welcomed and supported in the same localities where they have committed atrocities.
 
In Mexico, deputy interior secretary for human rights Lia Limon, in late February of this year, acknowledged a submission by Human Rights
 Watch regarding “27,000 cases of disappeared people.” As well, there were demands to clarify
the circumstances under which the abducted  vanished. In particular, mothers and parents across Mexico are describing years of armed abductions of daughters who have never been seen again. In frustration, coalitions of mothers of abducted children of all ages have begun to do their own investigations where police have failed to do so.
 
In a climate of perceived lawlessness, and with alarming levels of violence and failures to arrest and convict to achieve justice, there is considerable distrust of the authorities. Few
 
cases go to trial and convictions are scarce. Too, a lack of transparency on the part of police and prosecutors about the status of pending cases and investigations certainly undermines confidence.
 
This is certainly not good news for the
immediate future for Mexico’s fight against
transnational organized criminals, and smaller home-based gang confederates and hatchet men, regardless of whether they are drug affiliated or not. If they are not being arrested, not tried in courts of law or incarcerated, they remain fluid and deadly enemies against the state. In this scenario, a military would need to continue to sustain the fight for an indeterminate time.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s recent arrest was
 widely celebrated by the world media. Some Mexican citizens actually could not believe that
Guzman, seen as a “shrewd and elusive  businessman” by some, was caught. Others
expressed opinions to leave the drug traffickers alone. Sadly, few reported the suspected
numbers of deaths and carnage Guzman’s reign
is responsible for.
 
 As well, the media and pundits were quick to speculate who may maneuver to take control, and what areas of Mexico the criminal organizations would fight for. However, the  victims in Mexico remain silent on the posturing, simply asking for justice and an official and reliable accounting of their losses. Justice and the rule of law to prevail require a skilled policing and investigative infrastructure  with competent professional leadership and oversight. Mexico has lacked this necessity for decades. Since the late 1980s it is believed that more than 500 women had been murdered in the state of Chihuahua. Many simply disappeared. The
creation of a Special Prosecutor’s Office in
1998, to investigate the murders of women in Juarez and the State of Chihuahua, failed to achieve the expectations for much needed

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