Cartel wars leave a wake of decapitated, dismembered and burnt bodies in Juarez, lawyers say domestic violence has also resulted in gruesome deaths
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The state of Chihuahua leads Mexico in a dark category: the number of victims of murders or assaults involving beheadings, mutilations, torture, arson and d other forms of extreme violence.
More than 650 people were thus victims this year in this border state of Texas, according to the non-profit association Causa en Comun (Common Cause) of Mexico.
The group tracks violent crime across Mexico, suggests improvements to public policies and publishes a monthly “Atrocity Index”. The four states at the top of the index – Chihuahua, Michoacan, Jalisco and Guanajuato – are sites of drug cartel warfare.
Recent examples of “atrocities” in Juarez include the shooting deaths of seven people whose bodies were burned in September. Police found at least one dismembered woman in February, June, August and September. Body parts were found in garbage bags, suitcases, garbage cans and coolers.
Causa en Comun President Maria Elena Morera attributes much of the blame for the extreme violence in Mexico to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s hands-off approach to criminal gangs.
“The ‘hugs, not balls’ (strategy) failed, without a doubt,” Morera said on social media shortly after the report was published. She recalled how Lopez Obrador recently responded to a question about police ineffectiveness in praising the military. “This is a summary of his public safety non-strategy. […] where impunity, insecurity and corruption reign.
Chihuahua’s former deputy attorney general told Border Report earlier that the cartels’ use of extreme violence was intended to intimidate their rivals.
“These are messages rival criminal groups are using […] They think that by beheading, dismembering or burning the bodies, their rivals will be afraid (of them), ”said the state official. He added that “acts of terror” by the cartels also include dressing male victims in women’s clothing as an insult.
But Causa en Comun officials claim that not all atrocities are perpetrated by cartels. Many women, in particular, suffer serious bodily harm before being killed by their male partners.
“A lot of these atrocities are perpetrated by people who are not part of criminal organizations. The violence itself is criminal in nature, but it is also domestic violence, community violence, social violence, ”the group said in its report.
The group calls for police reform that includes training and accountability, crime prevention campaigns and expanded and affordable psychological services.
To view the full report, visit Causa en Comun website.