Skip to comments.Mexicans demanding a cure to the plague of kidnappings
Posted on 07/22/2005 4:46:19 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
MEXICO CITY When kidnappers sliced off businessman Pedro Galindo's first finger, he felt pain; the second, fear.
By the time he lost his fourth, he felt full of strength enough to now publicly display his wounds and demand the government get busy and deliver this city from fear.
"If their hands are shaking, I can lend them mine," the thick mustached and stern-voiced Galindo, 51, says as he holds up his mutilated hands, three digits snipped off the left and the pinky from the right.
Millions are watching.
Galindo, who survived his kidnapping ordeal in 2001, offers a chilling testimonial now appearing in a television spot airing nationwide, urging Mexicans to grapple with a problem that claims hundreds of victims annually.
The idea was to shock people's senses and motivate them to demand change, said María Elena Morera, president of a group called Mexico United Against Crime, which prepared the 30-second Galindo piece.
The pressure is on for authorities to take a stand against a kidnapping rate that rivals Colombia's.
Some say Mexico City's crime woes even could provide an Achilles' heel for Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who's to leave office soon to campaign in the 2006 presidential race.
There were at least 197 kidnappings reported in Mexico City last year, according to another anti-crime group, citing statistics it secured under Mexico's new open government laws.
They were not the so-called "express kidnappings" in which victims are forced at gunpoint to use bankcards to empty checking accounts.
They weren't drug traffickers imprisoning rivals, as the government suspects occurred when 43 people were discovered held in houses recently in Nuevo Laredo.
They were the for-profit kind, whose victims are held for weeks under brutal conditions as a ransom is demanded.
In another spotlight on the trend, Rubén Omar Romano, head of the prominent Mexico City-based soccer team, Cruz Azul, was snatched off the streets Tuesday afternoon as he drove from practice.
He remained missing Thursday. His team took the field in the state of Hidalgo and rival fans dressed in white a symbol here for society to say no more to crime to show their solidarity with the coach. It was unclear if the kidnappers have demanded a ransom.
The inability of the government to stop the practice has frustrated Mexicans, especially upper-class business owners, entertainers and sports figures most prone to being victims.
Among the more famous cases here are the 2002 kidnappings of pop star Thalía's sisters, for whom a multimillion-dollar ransom reportedly was demanded. They were released and appeared to be unharmed.
And then there was singer Vicente Fernández Jr., son of an even more famous entertainer of that name. He was kidnapped in 1998 and released after four months, minus two fingers.
"In some cases, the level of cruelty is horrible," said Guillermo Zepeda, a researcher who wrote a book, "Crime Without Punishment."
He said kidnappers know they're adding pressure on the police when they grab high-profile victims, but believe they still can get away with it.
Victims often are kept blindfolded, their hands and legs bound or chained. Sometimes, they aren't allowed to disrobe to use the bathroom. Periodically, they are stripped and sprayed with a water hose.
Victims also face psychological challenges, Zepeda said. Long after their release, they can be afraid to drive or even leave the house.
Galindo declined to be interviewed for this article, but his family discussed the case.
Held 29 days, he was rescued by Mexican federal agents the same day a ransom was to be paid.
As kidnappers demanded money, they left his fingers one by one in small boxes along a highway at specific mileage markers.
His captors, including the doctor who performed the amputations, are in prison, but have yet to be convicted,
Although Galindo has gotten on with life and was even playing golf Thursday, he had avoided the public eye. He decided to join Mexico United Against Crime's campaign to try to make a difference.
The group was among organizers of the famous 2004 march that drew an estimated 1 million people dressed in white to walk silently through the streets here to demand government action against kidnapping.
Morera said the idea isn't to get tougher prison sentences approved for kidnappers, but force authorities to do their jobs.
She said many families don't even report kidnappings because they figure authorities are incompetent or corrupt.
Among the specific changes she would like to see is for victims to be able to type their own statements into justice-system computers so they can be read directly by judges.
Although laws are changing including widespread reform championed by Mexican President Vicente Fox most trials are not public and testimony is written.
Video: Watch a commercial featuring Pedro Galindo on recent kidnappings in Mexico
My solution: Cut off a kidnapper's finger for each one of their victims, and if you run out of fingers then start cutting off toes and whatever else you can find!
And no anesthesia!
As long as someone doesn't pee on their Koran, it's not inhumane treatment.
So does the government of Mexico enforce ANY laws?
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.
including widespread reform championed by Mexican President Vicente Fox
** Now there is the joke of the day!!! **
Overthrow your corrupt govt.
I'll take easy questions for $200, Alex.
/h just so I don't get flamed
Appeasing the criminals...
Government, whether in Mexico or Washington, D.C., is in the business of self perpetuation, not governing. Anyone who looks to government for protection is naive. Kidnapping will stop when ordinary citizens arm themselves and resist. Any form of government, whether it be democracy, communism, or theocracy will succeed or fail depending upon only one thing ... the character of the people being governed. Don't look to government ... look to yourselves.
Just criminalize (and enforce) paying off kidnappers. Problem solved.
Well, what do they propose?
Arrest the criminals, or arrest the police?
Or find some third agency to arrest both?
A perfect example of Turd World reality.....
I can't WAIT for CAFTA to pass! Let's have a race to the bottom and import as much turd world crap as we can.
I understand that they enforce their immigration laws and control their southern border pretty aggressively
1. This IS going to start happening here. They'll think about it for a while and figure out a way to do it and not get caught or find victims willing to keep it quiet for various reasons. First, you set a precedent. You go to the authorities, your little child.loved one is DEAD. That stops the talking on subsequent attempts.
2. U.S. authorities have ways of tracking ANY electronic communication. Cellphones can be tracked right to the person and a missle then sent to greet him/her. If they wish, in a matter of minutes they can pinpoint my house and where this message came from. Minutes. They know this and will avoid such communication. It will be hand-delivered messages left at given locations.
3. More than likely, in Mexico this is a family-driven enterprise. It takes a team to pull this off, it's not a one-person operation. That culture has the family structure to plan, organize and execute this type of operation. They also have large family units here in the U.S. Family can be trusted and manipulated far better than a "gang" of friends.
4. Public execution of kidnappers is about the ONLY thing that will stop this. This includes not only the kidnapper, but the entire immediate family of same. THAT will deter people from getting involved. If a kidnapper is caught, his/her entire immediate family will die. The very same strong family structure that might concur with doing this can also discourage it.
"So does the government of Mexico enforce ANY laws?"
I don't think so. Remember the guy who was in there before Fox, his own brother was a suspected murderer. At least Fox is not THAT bad.
And, if they live by the philosophy they apply to the extradition requests, there is NO CRIME that warrants even life in prison, much less the DP. So really, it is no wonder all Mexicans want to come here.
That country has gone from bad to horrendous in my lifetime. It's a shame. I wouldn't set foot in it on a bet.