Tourists traveling the picturesque Copper Canyon circuit in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state got a far different look at the country this weekend from the one promoted in glossy brochures. Taking to the streets for more than three hours on Sept. 13, hundreds of angry residents of Creel and neighboring communities prevented the Chihuahua-Pacific train from passing through Creel.
Protesting impunity in the murders of 13 people—including an infant—in Creel on Aug. 16, demonstrators demanded the resignation of Chihuahua State Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez, Mayor Ernesto Estrada, and other officials. Most of the murder victims reportedly belonged to the family of Eliseo Loya Ochoa, Creel’s sectional president.
Greeting train passengers was a large bilingual Spanish-English banner that welcomed visitors to a place where “justice is (sic) not exist.”
Protestors charged that the assassins were identified and holed up in the town of Panalachi, but that state police were afraid to detain the culprits. One news report suggested the mass slayings which shattered the peace in the mountain town had to do with illegal horse racing, a favored pastime of drug traffickers.
There was no immediate comment from the Chihuahua state attorney generals’ office or Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas on the Creel uprising. Mestizos as well as indigenous Raramuri participated in the mass action.
Edgar Peinado, a reporter for Ciudad Juarez’s Lapolaka Internet news service, was reportedly roughed up by Chihuahua members of the Cipol state police force during the protest.
Protests continued on Sunday, Sept. 14, as demonstrators temporarily blockaded the highway into Creel before allowing traffic to resume. The citizen movement was expected to call a truce for Monday, Sept. 15, but plans were in the works for another demonstration on Sept. 16, Mexico’s day of national independence. Creel residents have announced they will parade through the streets with coffins to symbolize the lives cut short almost one month ago.
The conflict is the latest example of how Mexico’s public security crisis is now a political one.
Meanwhile, a new mass killing was registered in the Chihuahua mountains on Sept. 11, when four passengers of a truck, including two teenage males and one teenage female, were shot to death in the municipality of Guazapares. Eighteen-year-old Armando Corona Maladonado, the son of a former National Action Party city council member from Cuauhtemoc, Marcela Maldonado Ochoa, was reported among the victims.
From Frontera NorteSur, via Newspaper Tree, El Paso