The January 29th
headlines touted “Coahuila launcehes a massive search for the missing”
In a collaborative effort between the PRI driven state and the PRI federal administration, a search for the thousands of persons who have disappeared in the state in the last decade.
Coahuila is notorious for its disappeared. But in a widely known case, irony was not lost. In 2008, in the capital city of Saltillo, American kidnapping expert Felix Batista [left] was kidnapped, his body never has been found, and never will be found. Bastista, an ASI Global consultant, was in Saltillo to speak at a conference of businessmen. He was to give advice on how to avoid being kidnapped. What was not made public is his trip to Saltillo was twofold; he was also assisting in the release of a kidnapped victim. On the day of his kidnapping, he was eating with colleagues at a Saltillo restaurant, when he received a phone call. He told his group that he was going to meet people in a white truck, that would be forwarding him information. He left the restaurant and was seen calmly leaving with persons. He was never seen or heard from again. The big question was why he would leave with complete strangers, but that was answered when it was revealed he was in Saltillo on a case.
None of the facts were known untilWiki Leaks
released a 2009 cable. In the cable it reveals a meeting on June 23, when Consulate Monterrey officials traveled to Saltillo, to meet with Governor Humberto Moreira [below left] and his new law enforcement team including the attorney general of the state.
The session was principally intended for law enforcement agency representatives to meet their Coahuila counterparts, however, after the meeting, a side meeting took place. In that meeting the Governor and the State Attorney General gave information into the December 2008 kidnapping of Felix Batista.
They stated that their intel information indicated that Mr. Batista had been killed shortly after his abduction; they expected to arrest individuals identified as the perpetrators ”shortly”.
From the cable posted on WikiLeaks:
“Per intel information they had uncovered, Mr. Batista was murdered a few days after his abduction, with the body being `cooked’ to dispose of the remains. — The state had identified the Gulf Cartel Saltillo plaza boss, `Tatanka,’ as the intellectual author of the crime.”
As to why Batista was taken, state authorities had not uncovered information to answer that question, and no ransom was ever demanded. The kidnapped victim is one of thousands missing in Coahuila, those the authorities contend they are searching for.
In the search, teams consisted primarily of state soldiers, mostly of GATE the state special forces agency, and federal experts with “state of the art” equipment. Initially, it was announced 200 elements (soldiers and experts) would be deployed. Magically the number grew to 250, and ended with reports of 300.
Whatever the number, I am calling the search bogus. A public relations move. Governor Ruben Moreira,[left] as his governor brother before him, reaches for showy PR moves to reflect competence and concern for the suffering by Coahuilenses.
Coahuila is the third largest land mass in Mexico. The border it shares with Texas is 318 miles long, and approximately 50 thousand square kilometres comprises the northern region of the state, the very area of the “massive search”, by a whopping 200-300 elements over a 12 day period.
The search team mobilized to a prison in Piedras Negras, they explained “information” gleaned from persons, hearing of dead bodies being buried within the prison and that the informants had obtained the information from incarcerated persons, while those convicts were free. Based on that “information”, the search spent time investigating within the prison.
Authorities announced the discovering of remains at a ranch in Zaragoza, The photos with discovered remains were never brought forth nor updates given once the headline faded.
Subsequent to the ranch findings, additional discoveries were never mentioned, or the results of the prison search. So it is stunning that at the end of the search it was announced that remains were found in 7 cities, including in Monclova 158 miles south.
Ridiculous photographs graced Coahuila newspapers in its coverage of the search. Photographs of 8 men watching one man digging a hole. Or another photo with several elements watching a dog doing likewise. It was what was not depicted in photographs that are all telling. No photographs of the high tech equipment being used in Coahuila and no photographs of the remains found in 7 cities.
I contacted friends in 3 of the cities where “remains were discovered”, I asked about mobilizations and search teams in or in the area bordering the cities. Not one could acknowledge this as occurring. There was a slight build up in deployment of GATE but nothing out of the usual.
|This is the photo authorities released as proof bodies were incinerated
“Saltillo -. Remains of bodies were found in the municipalities of Allende, Guerrero, Acuña, Piedras Negras, Monclova, Zaragoza and Morelos through the search operation conducted by the Deputy for Research of Persons. Juan José Yáñez Arreola , head of the agency, said the evidence located in pits shall be classified and sent to the laboratories of the Scientific Division of the Federal Police in Mexico City, to analyze DNA and determine if the remains are human. “the operation was carried out with the information we had of 11 municipalities which were reviewed and the possibility of returning to this region of the state is not ruled out, “he said.”
Don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, authorities insist fragmented remains were found belonging to 500 bodies. Since the findings were in bone and skull fragments, one wonders how they know they were derived from 500 people? They, themselves reported yesterday of not yet conducting tests that will determine if the fragments are human and have not done DNA.
Some information used to write this post was sourced from: WikiLeaks, Zócalo, Borderland Beat, Vanguardia and info from my pal Lacy