Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beat: Military Stand By While Five Men Are Executed: Fifteen Executions in Juarez on Friday

The Rio Bravo shopping center is located just 200 yards south of the Zaragoza international bridge. At noon on Friday a white 1998 Ford Expedition with two men in it parked about 10 feet away from a white burrito van called "La Paloma," right next to the shopping center(see picture). The Expedition was apparently being followed by an assassination squad of several persons. When the men in the Expedition saw the assassins, who were carrying assault rifles, they tried getting out of the cabin. One man was hit by gunfire in the cabin, where he died. The other got out of the cabin and ran to the burrito van, but was shot in the back as he entered. Three other men were killed in the fusillade as well. One was inside the van, another was found dead right in front of the van, and another was found dead in the middle of the street.

A group of soldiers guarding the international bridge took note as they heard the barrage of gunfire and could see what had happened, but they took no action. The assassins walked to a pickup and a sedan waiting for them a few meters away and left the scene. Witnesses criticized the inaction of the soldiers.

Nineteen-year old Daniel Nevarez, who was eating in the burrito van, Jaime Hernandez, 58, the owner of the van, and Isauro Ochoa, 35, who was the coordinator of the Union of Ambulatory Salespersons on Zaragoza Bridge, were the innocent victims killed in the assault. The identities of the two men who were the objective of the attack has not yet been released.

Note: The people who sell candy, velvet paintings, statues of the Virgen de Guadalupe, rosaries, chewing gum, ice cream, scapularies, and the like on the international bridges heading to the U.S. are required to register with the municipal government of Juárez, and pay a monthly fee for the right to be ambulatory sales persons. They are assigned locations at markets, popular street locations, tourist spots, and the international bridges, where they are permitted to sell things. I spent a day once in Juárez negotiating with two other persons on behalf of the municipality against a group of ambulatory sales persons who were protesting the assignments they had been given temporarily in unprofitable locations because they had been ousted from more profitable locations on Juárez Avenue (which used to be full of US tourists) when the street was being repaved and fixed up. I felt a little guilty assuming this role, which fell onto me quite unexpectedly and my selection was completely inappropriate, but it was a fascinating experience and I learned a good deal about the political economy of ambulatory sales persons in Juárez.

Fifteen persons were executed Friday in Juárez. La Polaka (click here) reported 15 killed including a man confined to a wheel chair, owner of the “Pollos Richy” chicken restaurant at Puerto de Palos and Puerto Niza in Col. Tierra Nueva.
Diario reported fourteen dead (click here)

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