Ordered to Declassify Human Rights Information, Prosecutor Releases First Document from San Fernando Case File
Accused Cop: Instead of Jail, Police Delivered Detainees to Los Zetas
Proceso Article Explores Similarities between San Fernando, Ayotzinapa
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 499
Posted December 22, 2014
Edited by Michael Evans
For more information contact:
Michael Evans 202/994-7029, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC, December 22, 2014 -- With the Mexican government facing widespread public outrage over the alleged role of police and other officials in the September forced disappearance of 43 students, and the killings of at least six others, from Ayotzinapa Normal School, the country's federal prosecutor (PGR) has for the first time declassified a document on the suspected participation of police in the kidnapping and massacre of hundreds of migrants in San Fernando massacres of 2010-11, according to a new Electronic Briefing Book published today on the website of the National Security Archive.
The new revelations, along with key U.S. documents on how violent drug cartels gained control of local police forces in parts of Mexico during the last decade, are the subject of "San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: las similitudes" ("San Fernando-Ayotzinapa: the similarities"), an article published online today in Mexico's Proceso magazine in collaboration with Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau of the National Security Archive.
According to declarations from members of the Los Zetas drug cartel named in the newly-declassified "Tarjeta Informativa" ("informative note" or "information memo"), the police acted as "lookouts" ["halconeo"] for the group, helped with "the interception of persons," and otherwise turned a blind eye to the Zetas' illegal activities.
The release of even one document from the San Fernando case file marks a huge step forward for transparency on human rights violations in Mexico, and on this massacre case in particular. The prosecutor has long refused to release any information from the file, claiming protection under an exemption in Mexico's transparency law that permits agencies to withhold information pertaining to an ongoing investigation.
At the same time, declassified U.S. documents, including a number of cables from the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey (along with a few and diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks), provide an intriguing look at how the Zetas established control over the police and other officials in the state of Nuevo Leon (which borders Tamaulipas to the east) and how these corrupt police were often the main targets of the rival cartels. Indeed, the available documentation leaves little doubt that municipal police in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere were in many cases little more than cartel enforcers, caught up inâ€”and often the main casualties ofâ€”the inter-cartel violence that plagues northern Mexico.
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