Skip to comments.Crime in Mexico: Fear of captivity (Kidnapping is a blight)
Posted on 06/17/2004 3:09:48 PM PDT by sarcasm
JUAN (not his real name) had a cruel May. In that month alone, seven of his friends and acquaintances were kidnapped, and three of those were killed. This came on top of the kidnapping of two members of his immediate family. He is now thinking of selling his share of the business that he co-owns, and going to live abroad. If he does, he would be following other members of his family who have already emigrated for the same reason.
Mexico, especially its capital, is suffering an epidemic of kidnapping. For the first time, ordinary citizens are organising public protests against a crime that they feel is out of control. Shoppers and local residents held a demonstration this month at a mall in the south of Mexico City, demanding tighter security after a rash of assaults and kidnaps in the car park. Several such groups have joined forces for what they hope will be a big rally on June 27th.
Many of the protesters are not in the habit of organising anything bigger than family weekends to Acapulco. They are mostly well-to-do, strangers to the ritual demonstrations by teachers, farmers and electricity workers that often swamp Mexico City. The leaders of these novel protests, such as José Antonio Ortega, a lawyer, are tapping a new mood of anger. He argues that for too long the crime of kidnapping has been brushed under the carpet by politicians, and that none of the pledges to do something about it has ever been fulfilled. It is up to potential kidnap victims to get the issue taken more seriously, he says.
In Argentina, the kidnapping and murder of a young student in March prompted huge public protests that have forced the government to react. Will the same thing now happen in Mexico?
Kidnapping is a big problem throughout the region, though just how big and whether it is worsening are disputed. Kroll, a security company based in New York, estimates that half of all the world's kidnappings occur in Latin America. Colombia has long been the world leader: Kroll reckons 4,000 kidnaps took place there last year (just 2,043, says the government). But Mexico is now in second place, with 3,000 cases, ahead of Argentina (2,000), according to Kroll. Security consultants say that while the trend is falling in Colombia, it is rising in Mexico.
Mexico's government disagrees. Its figures show kidnaps falling, from 568 in 2001 to 531 last year. But these are only the reported incidents. Many families are terrified of reporting cases to a notoriously corrupt police forcesome of whose officers have been found to be involved in kidnaps themselves. Even the official figures display some alarming trends. In Mexico City, for instance, they show kidnaps rising from 141 in 2000 to 185 in 2003. In the State of Mexico, which surrounds the capital, the numbers rose from 65 to 135 over the same period. In the past three months alone, 33 businessmen have been kidnapped in Mexico City's downtown areas.
Until recently, kidnappers would target very wealthy victims, in military-style operations. Now they are preying on the middle classes. Having moved to a mass market, they are settling for smaller ransoms: $100,000 is now deemed to be a worthwhile haul. The government has had some success in dismantling some of the prominent kidnap gangs, but smaller, amateurish outfits have proliferated.
In addition, kidnappers have become more violent. In the past, victims were rarely molested. Now female captives are usually raped, and men are often beaten and mutilated. Ears and other body-parts are sent to the victim's families. One security consultant speculates that this is a kind of class warfare. He says that the kidnappers, usually poor slum-dwellers, hate their victims, and so this contributes to the violence.
Police collusion, and the consequent fear of reporting kidnaps, mean that this crime epidemic has failed to receive the kind of relentless media coverage given to drug trafficking. The protesters argue that politicians, too, have ignored kidnapping because its victims make up a relatively small middle-class constituency. But its cost to Mexico goes much wider. Who wants to invest money and effort in building a business if their reward is to risk losing their life and/or their money?
Mr Ortega argues that the numbers of kidnappings can be reduced quite easily, by rooting out corruption and applying laws that already exist. But that, he argues, is a matter of political will, at a federal, state and local level. It remains to be seen whether the politicians are listening.
Ah yes, those Latin nights coming to a neighborhood near (living abroad my arse, he,he,he) you soon.
Folks, we are laying the groundwork for our own destruction while fools and idiots sleep.
They should ply their trade in el norte...wide open borders....special treatment for illegal aliens
even if you get caught you get deported and get to come back later...just buy a new ID card
The USA is the new world for narco and other illegal alien terrorists.....
They've already brought some of this to the USA --- they've found houses in Phoenix being used to hold the victims until their families paid up their ransoms. Wait until the criminals figure out how easy it is to kidnap Americans and get them into Mexico where the criminals have the protection of their government. These guys don't mess around either --- if the money isn't paid quickly they kill the victim and move on.
It's interesting but not surprising with Mexico that a number of the kidnappings for ransom have actually been staged by the victims. Kidnapping insurance for one is common for businessmen in Mexico --- but stage your own kidnapping --- have either your kidnapping insurance or a wealthy relative or boss pay the ransom, give your fake kidnappers a cut and yourself the rest.
It's a lot riskier kidnapping Americans. Half of us are armed--and more than willing to shoot the abductor to remain a free people.
Another reason why Mexico should adopt our Second Amendment and offer the people subsidized weapons training.
I thought Fox was going to fight human rights violations in the US. Mexico is a mess and he'll import it here.
So true. And the sad lack of response to this thread suggests that nobody cares.
It would be easy enough to kidnap American children --- they can't bring guns with them to school or to the playground. Near here they kidnapped a 9 year old boy (or maybe he was 5) while he was out playing with his friends. A car drives by, grabs him and he's gone. The family was told to pay up a very large ransom, the father was a used appliance repairman, the family didn't pay up immediately and the boy was killed and his body dumped in the arroyo. One of the 5 kidnappers and the actual killer of the boy was a Mexican policeman.
Here are a few highlights from the article linked below:
February 19, 2003
A non-binding referendum...
The issue "grabs you at a visceral level, and I think the PRI is going to run with it," said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. "I think it's going to be an issue that gets nationalized largely because people are fed up with crime."
I know it sounds bad but until some affluent white girl like Elizabeth Smart gets ransomed off nobody will care.
Honestly, I wonder if we'll do anything even then. We've had a number of cases where illegal immigrants committed horrendous crimes and I don't notice our "leaders" doing anything to control the borders.
This has actually happened. A child of 11 was kidnapped and taken to Mexico from Houston. The child had 2 babies before she escaped.
There is no doubt in my mind that kidnappings will begin happening alot more in the US.
"Mexico kidnappers target Americans" there would be more interest.
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