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Reports and References


Washington Office on Latin America: A civilian's guide to US defense and security in Latin America
New report: Abused and afraid in Juarez
......."In the introduction of the report, the authors write, "This report gives voice to some of the victims of the war against organized crime in Mexico: in particular, individuals who have been abused by the very security forces who are supposed to protect them." Five cases are described in the report involving acts of torture, forced disappearance and sexual harassment of women by Mexican soldiers deployed in Ciudad Juarez. Here is one of the cases:

In August 2008, Roberto drove down the road to the company in Ciudad Juarez where he had worked on the night shift for 25 years. Before he got to work he was stopped at a military checkpoint. The soldiers took him out of his car, inspected it, and in a violent manner asked him questions. What was he doing out in his car at this hour? Where was he going? Why was he nervous? Although he tried to answer in the best way possible, the fear of what had happened to many other people in Ciudad Juarez made him nervous. After the soldiers searched the car, they showed him a packet of drugs [that Roberto did not recognize] and began another interrogation. Where did he get the drugs? Who had sold them to him? Roberto was not able to answer. He had never used drugs, bought or sold them — he was simply going to work.

Roberto was blindfolded, tied by the wrists and taken to an unknown location, that he experienced only by sounds, hard footsteps that came and went, questions from the soldiers, violent blows, and the screams of others being tortured.

After three days of interrogations and beatings, they released him with a warning: "If anyone asks you what happened to you, tell them that you were kidnapped. Remember that we know where your family lives."

"Abused and Afraid in Ciudad Juarez" concludes with this:

While institutional strengthening has been part of the Mexican government's security strategy, the central element has clearly been the deployment of military-led security forces in counter-drug operations. This focus has failed to decreased drug-related violence in Mexico, while also resulting in a dramatic increase inhuman rights abuses.