Murdered Migrants near the Border: Inconvenient Truth for the US

By Brenda Norrell

Photo: California border by Brenda Norrell.

Updated Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010

The 72 people murdered at a ranch in Tamaulipas State, about 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, were migrants. Thirty-one of those murdered were identified on Friday, Aug. 27. They were 14 Hondurans, 12 Salvadorans, four Guatemalans and one Brazilian.

On Sunday, bomb attacks hit Tamaulipas, as police were investigating the mass murder of the migrants. Four devices exploded in just 24 hours, injuring at least 17 people. The  lead investigator in the mass murder case, and one police officer, have been missing since Wednesday. Bombs also exploded outside a television station and police station in Tamaulipas during the investigation.

Mexican police suspect the Zetas of the mass murder of the 72 migrants. The Zetas were trained by the United States as special forces, according to School of Americas Watch.

"Many of the Zeta leaders have been identified by Mexican officials as former members of an elite paratroop and intelligence battalion known as the Special Air Mobile Force Group, formerly assigned to the state of Tamaulipas, which borders southern Texas, to fight drug traffickers," according to SOA Watch.

The Mexican government confirmed that several of the Zetas were trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

A core of 31 US trained former battalion members are thought to lead the Zetas. Several members deserted the Special Air Mobile Force Group in 1991, aligning themselves with drug traffickers and establishing their own smuggling routes into the United States, according to SOA Watch.

The 72 murdered migrants were mourned throughout the Americas this week. The lone survivor in the attack of mingrants, from Ecuador, was shot in the neck, pretended to be dead, then escaped and reached military forces who stormed the ranch.

Most migrants are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America. They have nothing and are walking north through Mexico trying to survive. They are often kidnapped and help for ransom. Those who have no way of paying the kidnappers are shot, one by one, or tortured in front of the others. They are asked to give a phone number of a person in the US that can pay the ransom, if they have no one, they are killed. This is revealed in the new documentary "The Invisibles," which just premiered in Tucson.

The US fails to admit that it is the US appetite for drugs that creates the drug war in Mexico.

No one tells this part of the story.

The US media fails to tell another story. It is the truth of the displacement of Indigenous Peoples, primarily corn farmers in Central and South America, from their homelands by NAFTA and other trade agreements. The corporate takeovers of their lands for dams, energy development and corporate enterprises, using military and paramilitary units, have created homelessness for masses of Indigenous Peoples.

US corporations, including Chiquita Bananas in Colombia, have admitted in US court that they use assassins to eliminate Indigenous Peoples and poor farmers from their land.

Those who walk north are desperate people trying to survive. 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

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Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.