In 2016, Shoebat.com produced a film entitled “Hell across the Border,” which documented the horrors of the drug cartels that have turned Mexico into one of the most dangerous nations on Earth. Drug cartel terrorism is everywhere and the killers are as or more ruthless than those of ISIS. Each day an average of 57 people are murdered by them, and not only is that number rising, but it is right in the USA’s backyard.
A recent report followed a small village in the Mexican state of Guerrero, where drug gangs are fighting for territory. The town has been ripped apart, and nobody knows if when they leave home they will return home:
Blood is spilled almost daily. Also the crying and the despair. Men, mostly, are missing or killed in this low mountain of Guerrero.
The terror of Los Rojos and Los Ardillos leaves empty communities and children who grow up in orphanage. The two sons of María Abarca did not return one day. They disappeared. On different dates, they simply did not return home. In this municipality nobody is certain that he will return with his family after the work day.
It is the law imposed by the drug cartels, Los Rojos and Los Ardillos. The gunmen of both criminal groups are fighting over the square and terrorizing communities, mostly indigenous, before the indifference or open complicity of local and federal authorities.
Those who survive do not even have time to live their grief and search for the disappeared. Poverty does not wait. They must work to eagerly feed and clothe their children, the new generations that grow without hope as it has been for more than a century.
Quickly knit the palm. At the end of the day you will have to finish three 62-centimeter strips in order to earn the nine pesos paid by your buyer, a hat manufacturer. It does not stop, your fingers are skillful; Meanwhile, she talks about her husband Mauro, who disappeared since December 24. “He came to Chilapa and he did not come back.” It was good night’s Eve.
Rosalina is 22 years old and while searching for justice, she weaves together the fiber. Her mother and her mother-in-law, who help her with family expenses, go to her own time. With the obtained, at the end of the day you can buy tomato, chilies or something that will help you to complete the daily food. Poverty is seen in his face full of anguish. Her three-year-old son plays on the dirt floor while she denounces.
Mauro is 28 years old and, until that December evening, was the sustenance of his family. Peasant in the Nahua community of Alcozacán, where the index of marginalization is “very high” and the scarce and precarious work, went out for a group walk with other peasants of his town. He was the only one who did not return.
The young woman takes off her rubber sandals, dresses in a shirt, plaid apron and a bright pink skirt. It has been months of despair, of not ceasing to search. She is also Nahua indigenous from the same community as her husband, located just a few minutes from the city of Guerrero.
Chilapa is one of the main municipalities of the state, governed by PRI Hector Astudillo. In this place violence has caused the suspension of public transport, the continuous record of disappearances and murders. Entire communities have been temporarily empty because of a hostile and threatening environment. Chaos and fear hover at the hands of organized crime.
Here the women are in search of their brothers, children, husbands, they cry as soon as they talk about them, but they follow the talk. They search with their hearts in their hands. Few men are left, most of them elderly, with few strengths and few resources. The poorest and youngest of Chilapa have disappeared. In addition to family losses, there are diseases that start to look like pandemics: stress, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The Rosalia is just one of the dozens of testimonies that are repeated in the area. Spend time; the anguish, the fatigue and the uncertainty increase. There is not a single line of research that gives hope of knowing the whereabouts of Mauro. Fear and silence also grow. There are families who do not report to the authorities, prefer to wait, because they fear more violence.
The Bronco Warrior
Abel Barrera Hernández, director of the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, states that in Guerrero there is a history marked by disputes between caudillos to have their own territory. “This has been the vision of those who have power, and those who have had power in Guerrero are armed actors, illiterate, who bet more on force.”
In an interview, the human rights defender says that the way in which power has been exercised in Guerrero has led us to be a “bronco” state, with belligerence, social and political confrontation. In this state, half of the governors have been deposed throughout history, which speaks of the social and political effervescence that exists here.
“It is an obtuse power that has managed to control the institutions through its armed actors; on the other hand, an indomitable and empowered society. This, unfortunately, has been what has led us to wear out due to internal struggles, “says Barrera Hernández.
In his analysis and community work, Barrera Hernández emphasizes that Guerrero has been bled by the national, local political and business class; but something that has damaged a lot is the institutionalization and participation of the Army in counter-insurgency tasks. “Guerrero has always been classified as a guerrilla focus, as a threat to political stability and, from the harsh vision of power, military intervention has been guaranteed.”
However, it is not only the Mexican Army and the caudillos that appear in the scene of this “bronco” warrior. Organized crime groups have terrorized the inhabitants of different communities who have even chosen to leave their lands in search of security.
The report Guerrero: Sea of Struggles, Mountain of illusions, prepared by the Center for Human Rights of the Tlachinollan Mountain, indicates that in the state the “square” 13 groups of organized crime are disputed. “The way to exercise power in Guerrero based on corruption and the protection of those who commit crimes have led us to create a mafia state. The porosity of the security and justice institutions has accommodated the criminal groups, “the document reads.
The mapping presented by the Center shows that the groups located are: Guerreros Unidos, Los Rojos, Los Granados, Independent Cartel of Acapulco, Independent Cartel of Acapulco-La Barredora, Comando del Diablo, Los Ardillos, Los Tequileros, Los Bosfes or Gente Nueva , Cartel del Sur, La Familia Michoacana, Knights Templar, Jalisco Cartel New Generation.
In Chilapa de Álvarez operate Los Rojos, Los Ardillos, Los Jefes or Gente Nueva. While in Chilpancingo, the nearest municipality, are Guerreros Unidos, Los Rojos, the Independent Cartel and Los Caballeros Templarios.
Héctor and Jorge, missing brothers
María Abarca Nava is the mother of Héctor and Jorge Jaimes Abarca, both disappeared since 2015. The first search began on March 18 of that year. Hector did not arrive home as he had promised. Two months later, Jorge did not either.
Héctor Jaimes Abarca is an anthropologist, graduated from the Autonomous University of Guerrero, and was part of the human rights defense body of the Morelos Center for two years. The day of his disappearance he traveled to Chilpancingo very early to collect a payment he had pending in his new job.
Months ago, he began to participate as an official in the Program of Inclusive Prospects, dependent on the Secretariat of Social Development, to serve the beneficiaries of it (the poorest in the state). That same month he would get his academic degree.
María tells her testimony hastily, she must go to work. Now he is the only breadwinner of his family. Hector was not a person who liked to drink or walk in the street, he says. If he stayed at the house of one of his friends in Chilpancigo, he would call her so that she would not be distressed by his absence.
On March 18, Hector left in a hurry, he said goodbye from his mother’s street, he no longer reached the transport, his boss had quoted him in Chilpancingo because they were going to pay them there. “I still spoke with him at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, he told me he would be home after 7 o’clock at night. I called again, to see why it did not arrive, what had happened. He did not answer anymore. I called him all night, I did not sleep anymore, “María Abarca says through tears.
The tracking began in the early hours of the morning, among his friends, co-workers, girlfriend and nothing. “I have given many testimonies since my son was lost and I have not been able to know anything about him”, he says in the middle of the crying.
In the violence that lives in the region, the youngest of his children also disappeared: Jorge. It was on May 9, 2015, when alleged police from neighboring communities arrived in Chilapa and remained until the 14th day, destroying the city. In the course of the hours people were disappearing.
The Morelos Center has documented 16 cases of that episode, Jorge is one of them. At that time, says Maria, “the governor came to negotiate arms with the community, but not our children. We saw how they took people and we could not do anything. I asked the Gendarmerie to look for my son, but they did not pay attention to me, “he complains.
The atmosphere of violence and hostility has pushed for a double search for María. Anguish and sadness are reflected in the thinness of his face. Her family’s economy is also in decline: her husband stopped working the taxi he had because of the insecurity in Chilapa, there are daily reports of people killed. Now, they keep the little they get with the sale of stew tacos in the market of that city.
Between poverty and helplessness
Lorenzo is another of the testimonies that are heard among dozens of people who are looking for their children. He is monolingual, Nahua. He hardly utters a few words in Spanish. He has lost everything.
Roberto Campos Cruz is the son he’s been looking for since December 30, 2016. He had come to this city to buy medication, days ago he remained in bed, ill. He was accompanied by his mother, aunt and cousin. The women went to the market to sell their merchandise, a few vegetables grown by themselves, the young people waited a few blocks, parked in the vehicle they were carrying.
When leaving his sales, the aunt of Robert got to see that he and his cousin were taken by armed men dressed in civilian clothes, says Don Lorenzo. They have not heard anything else from them. The man over 70 years old came into contact with the people of Centro Morelos to help him look for his son, they went to the zone hospital, to the public ministry, with relatives and there was no sign of the young farmers.
Don Lorenzo had to get rid of the only good he could have at the time: a yunta, to cover the necessary expenses that would allow him to continue searching for a few more days. In the public prosecutor’s office they told him to wait eight days to make the complaint, the days passed to do the process. It opened a file that only hopes.
Roberto is a farmer, dedicated to planting corn, squash, beans. He supported his economy with the sale of firewood. It was the sustenance of his wife, of his small son and support of his parents.
A few kilometers from this city are the indigenous communities of Tetitlán de la Lima, Ahuihuiyuco and Tepozcuahutla. To reach these areas is to meet with abandonment, to run into silence. Only a few people walk between the gaps, stealthy and elusive. A military checkpoint remains seasonally at the Ahuihuiyuco entrance. The schools remain empty since July 15, 2016. The church without any soul. The Health Center closed. Nothing works anymore.
The fear began to spread through social networks. Relatives who live out of the state began to warn about a possible attack on the communities, the people just picked up a few personal things and, in groups, left the villages. Entire families have preferred to emigrate to other states or localities, fleeing the criminal groups that threaten them.
The Morelos Center documented that indigenous communities, victims of forced internal displacement are characterized by their marginalization and poverty, do not have the most basic services such as health, education, food, public policies for the development of production. The inhabitants survive from self-consumption agriculture, without a better future.
Manuel Olivares Hernández, director of the Regional Center for the Defense of Human Rights José María Morelos y Pavón, based in Chilapa Guerrero, said that it is necessary to maintain the demand for the government and the different agencies to do their work and to make the rights of the victims; Let there be truth and justice. (source)