Mexico: army general found tortured to death

Retired army Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones, a civilian and another soldier, found dead near the Caribbean resort of CancĂșn, were tortured before being shot, Mexican authorities say. “We have to determine where the execution took place, where the torture occurred, surely in some safe house that the criminal groups must have,” said Bello Melchor RodrĂ­guez y Carrillo, the state attorney general of Quintano Roo.

Quiñones, 63, who served as military attachĂ© at the Mexican embassy in Spain and as commander of the military zone of the western state of MichoacĂĄn, was remembered in a funeral service at a military base in CancĂșn. His remains are to be taken to Mexico City. The general was found dead Feb. 3 in a van on the highway that links CancĂșn to MĂ©rida, capital of neighboring YucatĂĄn state, together with army Lt. Gertulio Cesar Roman Zuñiga and civilian Juan Dominguez Sanchez. “The result of the autopsy shows that they were tortured before being riddled with bullets,” the Quintana Roo AG said. (EFE, Feb. 6)

In response to the reign of narco-terror, Mexico is seeing a growing call for the re-introduction of capital punishment. One unlikely leading proponent of the idea is Mexico’s Green Party, which has plastered posters around Mexico City reading: “Because we care about your life—death penalty for murderers and kidnappers.” (BBC News, Feb. 4)

Violence has only escalated in the northern border city of Tijuana since the arrest of Santiago Meza LĂłpez AKA “El Pozolero”—charged with using acid to dissolve the bodies of hundreds of victims. After his arrest, armed commandos shot up a local police station with AK-47s, apparently in retaliation for his capture.

Victor Clark Alfaro, who runs the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana, says it looks like the narco-violence is going to continue in 2009. “I don’t know who is going to win between them and against the government,” he says. “The fact is that the high levels of impunity and corruption let these people work more easily on the streets of our city.”

Since the beginning of the year, dozens of people have been gunned down in Tijuana, including five police officers. And nationwide, the body count since New Year’s stands at more than 450. (NPR, Feb. 1)

See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.

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