Monday, May 11, 2015

Mexico, then and now

The story goes, that was then, this is now.

Then cops took bribes and were connected to illegal activities. Now a new group has come into power and done away with the old.

Only, I am old enough to remember that is what was being said some thirty-odd years ago, and with each successive administration since.

It was bull shit then. It’s bull shit now.

A friend from San Luis Potosi tells stories about a family member who tried to bring others to the border, planning to cross illegally without paying off the Zetas.

After clearing the official military checkpoint just south of Matamoros they arrived at another informal checkpoint, were stopped, extracted from their vehicle at gunpoint and taken to a compound.

They were tortured, interrogated and then told they had one week to come up with ten thousand dollars.

If they failed to produce the money, they died.

Their vehicle and their possessions were taken.

They say the compound was full of people, including women and children.

Prisoners were given a single cup of beans a day and minimal amounts of water. Nothing else.

Each day, new prisoners arrived, extracted from the same check point.

Others left, to unknown fates.

Payment was made, the men were released.

They were told they must make arrangements with Zetas before leaving their home with migrants. Should they fail to do so, they’d be killed.

I ask my friend how this could go on without coming to the attention of the authorities.

He tells me the authorities are involved.

Payment was made to the military commander in charge of the official checkpoint.

PS. There are differences between then and now. Then, authorities were interested only in drugs and guns, not shaking down businesses or preying on migrants.

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