Drug War 40

The global war as seen from the center of North America

Human rights official: “What is this about, Mr. Attorney General?”

From the Frontera list-serve maintained by Molly Molloy, a statement by Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, ombudsmen of the Chihuahua State Commission of Human Rights:

What is this about, Mr. Attorney General?

Mr. Arturo Chavez Chavez
Attorney General of the Republic
Via Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Delegation

Some one told me that when you were Attorney General of Chihuahua, you
first read the daily newspapers and at the end of the day, you would
look over the documents going through official channels that your
secretary would pass on to you.

With the hope that you still have that good habit, I take advantage of
this space to comment on the course this city is taking from the
perspective of the PGR, as well as deliver the corresponding legal
document.

We Juarenses have put up with the worst two years that any one could
live through. And at the end of that ordeal, 5,000 federal police drop
on top of us.

There is great dread, because now one has to fear la linea, el chapo,
the soldiers and the federal police, there is no safe place!

Some members of that last group are dedicated to invading homes
without arrest warrants, and under the pretext of looking for drugs
take everything of value that they can find, leaving the residents of
the homes beaten and threatened.

The Victims Services Office (visitaduria de attencion a victimas) has
received reports that this is happening, but no one has the nerve to
make a formal complaint.

Finally a family, victims of armed robbery, presented a complaint and
have given us concrete information. We communicated with the
go-between of the Federal Police, Internal Affairs. They provide
follow-up of those who dishonor the corporation. They arrest them with
the stolen goods in their possession and open an internal
investigation. They need witnesses.

We struggle with the neighbors, and we spoke about civic valor with
them, of the responsibility to Juarez, and they finally decide to make
a declaration.

They miss the first day of work, and provide their testimony at
Internal Affairs. They are there all day in the offices of the
Federal Police. To encourage each other, they gathered 6 witnesses,
yes sir, six witnesses.

The issue is turned over to the PGR, and again the next day they are
summoned to appear, and once more they must be convinced. They argued,
“but now it’s two days without pay.” Who is going to pay us, and
“frankly we are now frightened,” and “the federal police are passing
by here and they stare at us with dirty looks.”

We informed them vehemently
-“now it is only about ratifying what has been said,” “this time if
won’t take long,” “it is only a formality” and we appealed to emotion
“they left the poor woman without anything,” and “Pedro was really
beaten up,” etc.

They make their decision and show up at the offices of the PGR
delegation, where they are received with unfriendly faces, “you came
after all?” “sit down there!”

They make them wait more than an hour past the appointment time, and
finally begin taking in one at a time, two hours with each one, and
they don’t just ratify, but instead they conduct an absurd
interrogation, treating them as if they were the delinquents, the
pressure them to fall into contradictions and they have them there
until nightime. While they are there agents arrive and tell them
“Don’t be ungrateful, can’t you see that police have families,” “the
investigation is poorly done,” “there is not sufficient evidence,”
etc. etc.

I communicate with the PGR delegation, “give me your phone number, the
boss will call you when he’s not busy.” He never called me.
During the morning of that same day, we had made an agreement of honor
by the board of Justice to all work together against crime
and to respond to our phone calls immediately,with the commitment that
they would not be impertinent. At 8:00 that night, they had only seen
three of the six witnesses and left the most important for the next
day.

Another day and there go the witnesses, now more frightened and they
retort:
“I’m going to use up all my days, don’t be mean, my friend.” We call
the workplace and they are given permission, but one of them flat-out
refuses. “I am afraid, I’m not going,” and there is no way humanly
possible to move him. Finally, the Sub-delegate of Processes
(procesos) communicates with me, and very kindly speeds-up the
paperwork, and from two until seven in the evening,
they finish the testimonies, including a seventh witness that we
located.

After hearing them and seeing them now truly frightened, and
remembering the President’s commitment to rebuild Juarez, I dare to
ask you: What is this about Mr. Procurador? If things are not
simplified for the citizens who are motivated to make a denouncement,
when will we ever end this tragedy?

By the way, we still don’t have the number of organized crime expert
investigators that were promised; there used to be one, but it
appears that he returned to Mexico (DF).

That’s why I repeat the question:
What is this about Mr. Attorney General?

Sincerely,
Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson
Ombudsmen
State Commission of Human Rights
Attention to Victims, Assigned to Joint Operation

Filed under: Analysis, News, opinion

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