WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
18 Apr 2011 | News

WOLA Urges Punishment for Those Responsible for the Massacres in Northern Mexico

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) joins the voices condemning the killings in the municipality of San Fernando, Tamaulipas. WOLA asks for clarification of the events that took place, identification of the victims, and punishment of those responsible so that these crimes are not repeated in the future.

In recent weeks, the violence in northern Mexico has reached an alarming level. A series of hidden graves containing around 145 bodies was discovered in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. It appears that these people were bus passengers travelling northward. It is believed that some of the victims were migrants, mostly from Mexico and possibly from Central America.

The Mexican government has begun an investigation and has indicated that the Zetas, a criminal group, may be responsible for the massacre. On April 14, authorities announced the arrest of 16 municipal police officers from San Fernando who had supposedly covered up the kidnapping of the passengers.  A few days later, the army presented Martín Omar Estrada Luna, known as “El Kilo,” as the alleged intellectual author of the murder of the 72 migrants and the 145 people found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.

“The fact that such a large number of people disappeared without anyone realizing it is unacceptable,” said Kristel Mucino, communications coordinator at WOLA.  “The fact that this occurred months after 72 migrants were executed in San Fernando demonstrates the gravity of the situation in this northern state, as well the ineffectiveness of the police in combating criminal groups”.

According to WOLA, it is shocking that the kidnapping, disappearance, and death of so many migrants and other people could occur with the full knowledge and collusion of certain members of the police. Such corruption creates an atmosphere of impunity that allows crimes and abuses to occur. This climate of impunity must end.

WOLA urges the Mexican government to punish the government officials who allowed themselves to be corrupted and, through negligence or participation, allowed the killings to happen. In addition, the government should punish those directly responsible for the massacres with the full weight of the law. This is the only way to end the violence.


Kristel Muciño
Communcations Coordinator
[email protected]
+1 (617) 584-1713