Last week my husband’s nephew L. was kidnapped and tortured. He was taken from the street along with his mother’s moto and held just a few blocks from his aunt’s house. He was stabbed twice in the back and had his ear nearly cut off with a machete. He escaped after 3 days of torture, naked and handcuffed. He was picked up and taken to the hospital where he was stitched up. Three of of the four sequestradores (kidnappers) were arrested according to police. His mother sent L. into hiding. He has just turned 20.
Being the mother of a son, this incident awoke a deep-seated fear in me, albeit my son is only 12 and a good boy. But you see, when I met L. he was 12 and a good boy too. So as parents, my husband and I began rationalizing away our fears. L. must have done something to deserve this treatment. Therefore it was karma, justice, etc. And as our son hasn’t done anything so bad that he would be kidnapped and tortured, he would be ok.
We had rationale for our thoughts. This isn’t the first time L. has been involved in a violent attack. A few years back, his liver was damaged during the 13 second initiation beating rite of Sur 13. (See On Safety and Security) Then his mother’s boyfriend did a stint in jail for possession not so very long ago. (See Failing at your own business–Taxi Service) Part of his gang membership obligations included selling pot. He also used pot to cope with the constant pain he still has from his injuries. Is that enough to deserve torture? It hardly seems so.
If it wasn’t something he himself did, perhaps it was who he was involved with. As a street pot distributor, he would know who brought the drugs into town. Three days after L. escaped, two suspected drug distributors were murdered in Moroleón, one of them a transito (traffic cop).
You won’t find much of this information in the local newspaper, although other newspapers in Guanajuato have picked up on some of the assassinations and have reported on them or rather reported the gory details after the bodies have been found. But as Moroleón is a small town, no matter how much it wants to believe it is a city, the information spreads, although in whispers now.
The story being told is that someone turned traitor against those who previously were in “charge” of Moroleón and have been given permission by los estados (State Police) to eliminate those still remaining with the understanding that future control will be given to this person. These bodies that are “found” are executions. No one is ever arrested. No one is brought to justice.
The body count has become so high, that the powers that be have prohibited the local radio station to announce “fallecidos” which is how most friends and family members learn the day and time for the funeral and novena. (See La novena) I expect their reasoning is, see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.
So as parents of a pre-teen boy, we hope that the executions end soon. We increase our vigilance over our son, although he resents the restrictions. We look for talismans to hold out as wards against evil. Be home before dark. Come straight to where your dad is working from school. Don’t visit L. Bring your friends to our house rather than going to their houses. Will it be enough?
My son is not involved in gangs or drugs, but that wasn’t protection enough for the students in Iguala. And we already know that there is no justice to be found in México. (See On Life and Liberty) (See Justice for All) What more can we do?