from Mexico Solidarity Network: NEW JUAREZ POLICE CHIEF ALREADY SUSPECT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Retired army officer Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola, who was appointed last month to head the Ciudad Juarez police department, was accused this week of "enforced disappearance" in the case of four civilians arrested on March 26. Witnesses told human rights investigators they saw police, dressed in camouflage uniforms belonging to an elite unit that provides body guards for Leyzaola, arrest the four men outside a convenience store. The men have not been heard from since, and police deny they are in custody. Later in the week, federal investigators arrested three of the officers, though little is known about the politically sensitive investigation. The hard-nosed Leyzaola formerly served as police chief in Tijuana where he confronted similar accusations of human rights abuses after reducing murder rates and drug-related violence while reportedly decreasing corruption among police officers. A secret diplomatic cable recently published by Wikileaks accuses Leyaola of destroying one violent drug gang by cutting deals with rivals. He was also accused of participating in and supporting the use of torture, including beating and near-asphyxiation of arrestees and police suspected of being on cartel payrolls. Read more>>>
This is great news. From Frontera Norte-Sur News:
Historic Femicide Trial Gets Underway
Thousands of miles and a continent away, it
I'm reprinting here an important story just out by Kent Paterson of Frontera NorteSur concerning the Juarez femicide. Frontera NorteSur, based at the University of New Mexico, is a great service for anyone wanting news and analysis of border-related issues. However, the only way to get their reports in a timely way is via email (information at the end about how to subscribe.) - I think they should also be posting to a blog, but they're about 7 years behind at getting stories onto their website.
March 30, 2009
Via Mexico Solidarity Network: Ciudad Juarez registered 81 femicides so far in 2008, more than doubling the worst years of 1996 and 2001 in which the city recorded 37 women murdered. El Diario de Juarez provided the following accounting of femicides since 1993, when Esther Chavez Cano, a local human rights activist, first called attention to problem:
Year Femicides 1993 19 1994 19 1995 36 1996 37 1997 32 1998 36 1999 18 2000 32 2001 37 2002 36 2003 28 2004 19 2005 33 2006 20 2007 25 2008 81
Of the 81 cases so far this year, 55 deaths resulted from organized crime, while the Special Investigator for Deaths of Women (FEIHM) is handling the other 26 cases. Sixteen of these 26 cases remain under investigation while the other ten cases have been declared resolved. Two twelve-year-old girls are among the victims.
In other news, I am in the middle of reading Roberto Bola
The brutal murder of young women and girls continues in Juarez. Here is a message from there about the last month of violence:
Please help publicize the disappearance of 15 year old Adriana Sarmiento Enriquez. She is a friend of one of our Amigos. She disappeared on her way home from school on Friday, January 18th. She is fifteen, 55 kilos, 155 cm, has hazel eyes and long brown hair. She was last seen by her friend when they departed from a bus stop on their way home from eating after school. Adriana disappeared sometime on her walk from the bus stop to her home.
Her mother, Tina Enriquez can be contacted in Juarez at 0115265666327463. She has a daughter, Veronica, who lives in El Paso and can be contacted at 915-564-5206.
Most recent murders
The level of violence in Juarez has escalated Since January 1, 2008, there have been 29 murders in Cuidad Juarez. Three of these were women. The latest murders are:
Jan. 18th, Maria Guadalupe Esparza Zavala died of stab wound to the heart. Her 12 year old daughter told police she and her stepfather had been arguing.
Jan. 20th, Mirna Yeremia Munoz Ledo Marin was found nude inside her house, stabbed several times.
Jan. 21st, Ericka Sonora Trejo, 38 and 8 months pregnant was found in the bathroom of her house. Police said her father-in-law allegedly bludgeoned her with an axe.
United Nations and EU meetings
Some members of Amigos [de Mujeres de Juarez] will accompany members of Justicia para Nuestras Hijas and Centro de Derechos Humanos de Mujeres de Chihuahua to Mexico City and meet with delegations from the UN and EU. Both groups have been involved in a bringing the continued injustices to the attention of these international bodies.
The podcast of my documentary about the Juarez femicide continues, with the 3rd installment posted yesterday. I'm getting quite a few hits on it, and a link from Narco News, and other good reaction, which is great to see. The podcast is really turning out to be a great way to encourage a "long tail" to a project, in addition to a "leading edge buzz" for a project in-progress.
I posted and announced this on Monday but i figure i should put it on here too.
My film "On The Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juarez", will become available, in sections, online over the next several weeks. I'm starting a podcast, so that every Monday, beginning this week, another of the 10 different sections of the film will be posted for anyone to watch and download.
The first section of the film, the 7-minute introduction, is available now, at http://panleft.net/cms/ote-podcast1
The podcast page is here: http://panleft.net/cms/taxonomy/term/186
And to subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or another podcast-viewing application, use this address:
you can also watch it in-browser right here:
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
As if life in Ciudad Juarez weren't hard enough, things are heating up even more in Lomas del Poleo, the little colonia on the western outskirts of the city where government and corporate forces want to build a new highway and border port, thus obliterating the neighborhood of lower-income people. This struggle has been going on for a few years now but apparently it is heating up, with the Zaragosa family hiring armed thugs to even stop people from organizing. There are more details on this spanish-language blog, and an english translation of a press release about the Lomas del Poleo "Breaking the Siege" Forum.
The El Paso Times reports that the mothers of Juarez femicide victims are unhappy with the quality and/or fate of 2 recent Hollywood depictions of their situation, J-lo's "Bordertown" and Minnie Driver's "Virgin of Juarez". The latter went straight to DVD and the release date of the former still keeps getting pushed back again and again. Will anyone outside of booing Berlin audiences ever see it, I wonder? Will I ever even get the chance to hand out flyers at a theater that say "You've seen the inept and cheesy hollywood version, now read the facts..."?
The movie flop is the latest setback for the mothers-turned-activists and their Mexican and international supporters, whose global campaign to find justice in the face of endemic impunity is becoming a losing cause.
The 14-year statute of limitations is almost up for some of these killings (14 years? for murder? WTF?!)....