jueves, 22 de agosto de 2013

Mexico's Guerrero state accused of "harrassing" civilians, ignoring crime

The Citizens Council for Public Security and Penal Justice, a non-governmental body observing security trends in Mexico, observed on its website on 21 August that residents of Chilpancingo, the capital of the western state of Guerrero, were living under a "systematic" regime of extortion and threats from criminal gangs, and state authorities were doing very little about it. The body reported that civic groups from Chilpancingo denounced on 14 August that all those earning a living in the district - from taxi drivers, to businessmen to the self-employed - had to pay extortion money to the local mafia or face retaliation against themselves or relatives. Retribution could take the form of kidnapping, property destruction or murder; the website reported on 16 August that 14 businessmen from the state or district were "presently" believed kidnapped. It stated on 21 August that many locals suspect that at least certain district or state officials were collaborating with criminals, as suggested by the fact that citizens were sometimes threatened by phone while meeting with officials to report criminal activity. The Citizens Council observed that the state governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero was protecting criminals "by omission," or by failing to act against crime, while residents of Chilpancingo were "sick and tired, desperate and ready to resort to arms to defend themselves," as in other parts of Mexico. Businessmen and activists in Guerrero were separately reported to have accused the Guerrero government of harrassing them for complaining about crime and insecurity. Members of a local grouping the Citizens Council for Security and Development (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad y el Desarrollo de Guerrero) - lodged a complaint against state governor Aguirre for harrassment, while the local president of the national employers' association Coparmex complained that state prosecutors had summoned him and demanded he "prove" allegations that criminals were extorting money from businesses in Guerrero. Jaime Nava Romero said the Guerrero government had better prosecute crimes not "delegate its responsibility to society," and said the state was responsible for his personal security, Proceso reported on 21 August.

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