“Jalisco has emerged in recent months as a new challenge in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s battle to contain drug violence in Mexico,” news.yahoo.com reports, with characteristic understatement. “The New Generation cartel, led by Nemesio Oseguera, alias ‘El Mencho,’ has violently defied authorities, killing 20 police officers in two ambushes in March and April. It has forged alliances with gangs around the globe.” In the most recent outbreak, authorities reported eight people were killed in the clashes. Nope. borderlandbeat.com reports that 43 people died in the Villa Purificacion confrontation. The following article chronicles the suffering of the disarmed population, defenseless against both the cartels and the Mexican military . . .
Fear and Indignation
According to testimony of the families of the person killed or disappeared after the events of Friday the 1st, the Soldiers piled up the corpses and had them outdoors for two weeks. They removed them when they were already in a state of putrefaction.
It wasn’t until Sunday the 17th, they say, that Authorities started taking samples for genetic testing. Mrs Rosa Mondragon Serrato, wife of Juan Antonio Gaona de la Mora, a worker of the mine of Villa Purificacion, who disappeared on Friday the 1st, says:”from Saturday the 2nd I have been looking for my husband. That day I got a call from a man who told me that he saw when Juan Antonio was shot dead by the Army”, she continues, “Juan Antonio is a working man, he was employed in the mine of Villa Purificacion”.
“He started out in Colima, but after he moved to Villa. He came to my house every 15 days. The last time I saw him was this passed 15th of April, his last call I received on the 30th. He told me that he was well and sent me money for the week, but I had received nothing and this made me suspicious that things were not well”.
“I think that my husband had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. If its certain that they killed him, why have they refused to give me his body”.
“The day that I went there was Monday the 4th of May. I was here in Villa Purificacion, but they wouldn’t give me access. I ran to the Military but they were very annoyed”.
“That day the Military were pushing women back with the butts of their rifles, because of this many people of this town are scared to reclaim the bodies”.
“From what I saw, there were a lot of bodies there, they were stacked in a disorderly fashion. I wondered why they were still there, why they had not removed them. I approached but they blocked my way, and would not let me go further. I saw those bodies, nobody told me about it”.
She says that they had the deceased a little way from Punta Perula Highway, in the Town of La Huerta, by a breach that goes to the mine, “because we left the highway and walked a good distance looking for a breach”.
She continues, “This day we were going to various women and men who were in the same situation.” It’s an old dirt road link old Villa with Los Achotes and other villages, very close to where the helicopter came down.
“The Military said to us, leave and stay away or you will be arrested”. “Already they are not seeking who did this, but who will pay them”.
“Unfortunately its many innocent people who are paying the price”, denounces the lady. She reiterates “What I asked is why we have not seen the DNA proofs so we can know if our relatives are among the dead”.
She recalls that on Sunday the 17th they took DNA samples of the families of the disappeared, and we were called to send a delegation on the 19th to the PGR to see the declaration. The meeting was 10am in the morning, but this day nobody was there to meet the delegation.
Those responsible for communication of social information, then told the delegation that they would be cared for by people from SEIDO coming from City of Mexico. Around noon the relatives of the disappeared were served by a delegate of the PGR, Gerado Vazquez, who explained to them that everything related to the preliminary inquiry 228/2015 was in the hands of SEIDO.
Mrs Mondragon Serrato says that the group of protesters is represented by people who dare to speak out. However she admits that the majority of the people are concerned and angry because neither the Army or the Authorities allow them to identify the dead, others have problems because they cannot move their cattle to their ranches to feed them.
“We have nothing here in Mexico, we don’t have money. Our families are here, to see the DNA test results they took here, we cannot travel to Mexico City” she insisted.
She adds, “I want to say to the President Enrique Pena Nieto and the Governor Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz, why is there not a proper investigation into the events at Villa Purificacion?”. I will ask if they know what happened in the villages and ranches of El Grullo, Autlan, La Huerta, El Limon, Casimiro Castillo, Cuatro Caminos , Tonoya”.
“All of these places are full of Army. We know that there are 11,000 elements and they are waiting for another few thousand Federals. The people are suspicious as this zone has been militarized”.
The complaint against the Military, Semefo, and the PGR is that they ignore the pain and dignity of the families, and obstruct the identification and dignified burial of the dead, if it is proved that the Army killed them.
The balance of the war
After three weeks of failed attempts to capture Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, “El Mencho”, leader of the CJNG, its estimated that no less than 60 people have died, most in the South Jalisco Coast, including nine military that were on the downed helicopter.
According to the families of the disappeared, the Military kept the bodies of the civilians, eight kilometres from the Municipal Capital, located in Tierra Prodiga, there, they said, were kept for 15 days, until Saturday the 16th when Semefo arrived ( Forensics team ), the bodies were in a complete state of decomposition.
Of these 60 fallen one can add the 43 civilians killed on Friday the 22nd in an alleged confrontation between Sicarios of CJNG in Ecuandureo, Michoacan, on the border with Jalisco. According to the official report, various unknown people had a gun battle with a group of Federal Police and after took refuge in the Ranch “El Sol”.
The antecedents of said battle, according to the different versions, is that the Helicopter was brought down with a Russian made type 7 RPG ( Rocket propelled Grenade ).
On Tuesday the 19th, four Military elements died close to a Natural Spa El Salto called La Isla, in the village of La Eca 20 kilometres to the North West from the Municipal Capital, on the side of a dirt road that goes to Talpa de Allende, at the foot of the mountains. The primary belief was that they had been shot, SEIDO maintains the case under reservation.
Without doubt, with a base of testimony from witnesses in Villa Purificacion and in the Spa, the reality is a cascade, Proceso knows that the Soldiers had been drinking alcohol and started to argue among themselves, one of the four Policemen pulled out a weapon, shot his three colleagues and then in an act of suicide turned the gun on himself.
Other soldiers turned up and started to hide the evidence, “taking away the bodies and the spent cartridges”, said one of the interviewees from La Eca.
Until Friday the 22nd, the number of fatal victims of Operation Jalisco is 104 including the civilians of Villa Purificacion whose clothing were camouflage fatigues and allegedly formed part of the bodyguard of “El Mencho”, according to testimony of reporters.
One of them, agreed one of the interviewees, had a black cap with the legend “Fuerzas Especials, CJNG”.
The psychosis in the South Coast started in Autlan and is prolonged for the rest of the villages located on both sides of the highway to Barra de Navidad, and extends principally to the Towns of Casimiro Castillo, La Huerta, Cuautitlan de Garcia Barragan, and in particular Villa Purificacion.
During the day, the streets and squares are almost permanently deserted and many businesses are closed in the larger Towns and Ranches. During the night, there is fear that there will be new confrontations that will escalate so the Towns are empty.
On Friday the 15th the FUR disarmed the Municipal Police of Villa Purificacion for alleged links to organized crime. The same occurred in Union de Tula in an operation that ended with the detention of 30 Municipal agents of the two Towns and with the retention of the two Directors of Security.
The agents were arraigned , but on 22nd they were returned to their homes. Two days after, the Bishop of Autlan, after a reunion with a colleague with title, Monsenor Gonzalo Galvan called on all populations to mobilise for peace in all villages.
In La Concepcion (La Concha), Town of La Huerta, Sedena has sent tanks of war (Otis: I think he means the pan hard armoured personnel carriers), also to Purificacion.
After crossing a road block and celebrating Mass, the Priest of the place, Martin Pelayo, commented that the Bishop said that ” we should not let the sheep scatter when the Wolf comes”. Because of this they have arranged marches in all their Jurisdictions, the same places where “El Mencho” has carried out his major raids.
The images of tanks, pickups replete with Soldiers, pick ups with machine guns mounted in boxes, and the constant movement of Helicopters into Autlan and Villa Purificacion and Union de Tula, has ruined the tranquility of the zone.
“I was carrying my child, when they asked me to put him down, so they could search me. When I put him down he started crying. I though there were going to let me go on my way with my child, but no. They continued their search and later returned my baby, commented a inhabitant of the South Coast Region. She added, this how it is, a State in War.
Sales in the region fell by 60 to 80% so far in May, say Traders. If the situation continues many establishments will go out of business.
The reporters searched for the Mayor of Villa Purificacion, the Priista Valentin Rodriquez Pena, but they couldn’t find him, but found his Secretary Jose de Jesus Carrizales, who assured that the Functionary continues working normally.
The ground floor of the principal office entrance is guarded by two security agents with rifles. On the second floor is a sniper of the FUR, and by his side a tripod mounted machine gun looking out into the principal square.
According to Carrizales, the Municipal Police detained by the FUR, have had money deposited for them to help out their families for two weeks, they don’t know when they will be freed.
Some people have commented that a man called “Mario” arrived on various days to free one of his three sons that were detained by the FUR on 15th of May, they were Police officers.
The inhabitants of Purificacion assure that the Jalisco Ombudsman, Felipe de Jesus Alvarez Cibrian, instructed his collaborators in this region, not to receive any complaints about the Army in relation to the events started on Friday the 1st. It follows, until Friday the 22nd no Authorities have said that individual guarantees have been suspended.
” To us they said, return to your houses, and don’t go out in the streets as we are maintaining the shutting of roads”, said one of the interviewees.
Along with the building of the town hall, there is a religious place where the central figure is “Santa Muerte”, it doesn’t lack clients, around there are taco stands and pickups cruising with the sound of narco corridos.