<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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Police Testify that the Beatings and Arbitrary Arrests in Atenco Were Committed on Explict Orders from Above

Cops Turn Against their Bosses: the Atenco Citizenry Runs Televisa Out of Town in Front of Four State Troopers

By Al Giordano
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Mexico

June 5, 2006

Two reports this morning in the Mexican media demonstrate that the furor from below in response to brutality by government and media continues to turn on the perpetrators of the Atenco atrocity that shakes the conscience of the world. Early last month, more than 200 citizens were arrested, most of them beaten and tortured, and most of the 47 women among them were sexually abused or raped. The titanic efforts by officials of the federal government of President Vicente Fox and that of State of Mexico Governor Enrique Peña Nieto to stonewall, deny responsibility for the crime, and commit new violations of human rights to cover up those committed on the third and fourth of May, continue to unravel as the true facts surge from below.

The front page of Mexico’s largest daily newspaper, El Universal, today reports: “At least fifty” of the state troopers that participated in the police raid on San Salvador Atenco on May 4 have testified that their brutality on that day was carried out on orders from their superiors.

Rogelio Cortez Cruz, state police chief, who directed the raid, gave specific orders to brutalize the population and enter homes without a search warrant to carry out the arrests. He literally ordered the troopers to “break the mothers” of the citizenry, to “fuck them all” and to do so indiscriminately. The troopers testified that they received the same orders via police radio. At least fifty state troopers have testified to it in written statements, according to the newspaper.

The police, themselves under investigation for the rapes, tortures and brutalities of those days, also named the assistant state police chief for the region, Remedos Estrada Colín, as confirming those orders from above.

“According to information obtained by EL UNIVERSAL, practically 90 percent of the police under investigation by the state prosecutor’s office have said that both commanders were ‘explicit’ in their orders to beat, punish and repress any citizen in their path, as well as to enter private homes in order to ‘report good results to Wilfrido Robledo.’”

Robledo, the state police commissioner, has attempted to explain away what he calls “excesses” on the part of his troopers as isolated acts by a few rank-and-file cops. He and his boss, Governor Peña Nieto, have announced the “temporary suspension of police troops to calm the situation.” His effort to deliver the heads of a few scapegoats in order to escape his own debt to justice are thus being countered, now, by the testimony of his own troopers. These testimonies, reports El Universal, were obtained by the state prosecutor, which has solicited handwritten testimony from state troopers and subsequent polygraph (lie detector) testing.

Thus, the initial effort by police to circle the wagons and deny, in a united front, that the violations occurred has now deteriorated into finger-pointing among them. Specifically, in harmony with the message of the Zapatista Other Campaign, the counter-force, even within the police forces, now comes from below.

Atenco Confronts Televisa

If the bloody police raid on the town of Atenco – and the corresponding effort by mass media to demonize the townspeople, who, machete swords raised to the skies, stopped an international airport from being constructed there four years ago – was intended to silence the rebel spirit of the town, that strategy also appears to be falling apart.

Televisa’s own website reports that, on Sunday, “townspeople of San Salvador Atenco in the State of Mexico attacked and robbed a Televisa News Team.”

And, claims the TV station, they did it in front of four state troopers who were parked at the entrance to the town.

This doesn’t sound like a population that has had its fighting spirit beaten out of it.

According to Televisa’s version of the story, three station employees – a cameraman, a “reporter” and their chauffer – were parked along the Texcoco-Lechería highway when they heard the sound of fireworks in Atenco, and so “they decided to come closer to see what was happening.” The TV station website says:

“At the main entrance to the town there was a state transit police patrol car, number 07755, with four officers standing around it.

“Cameraman Antonio Peña began to videotape images of the highway and together with the reporter they entered the pedestrian bridge.

“Two minutes later they returned to their car, parked next to the patrol car, and the cameraman put the camera in the back part of the vehicle.

“The talked for a moment with the police about the situation there and they were about to leave when 30 people on bicycles and bicycle-taxis arrived and began to insult and threaten them so they got in the car.

“With the car already started, one of the aggressors opened the driver’s door to try to pull him out. Suddenly, Adolfo Camarena Ibarra closed the door and locked it. Simultaneously another person opened the back door and took the photographer’s camera.

“The aggressors kicked the automobile and the threats continued such that… the four state policemen who had gotten in their patrol car took off, followed by the Televisa News Team.”

Perhaps the state troopers, having seen how their own bosses set them up to take the fall over the events of a month ago, are having second thoughts about sticking their necks out for two illegitimate authorities – the State and the Mass Media – again.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America