Thursday, January 6, 2011

Open letter to President Calderon.

Dear friends, the New Year has me writing and calling anyone that will listen at all levels

of civic and government levels in Mexico and the US.

I have been trying desperately (since the murders of my two beloved family members

in July and August) to raise US and International awareness of the violence which

has grown to catastrophic proportions in Mexico and more specifically in the border

town of Cd. Juarez across from El Paso, Texas.

This is the third letter I've written to Mexican President Felipe Calderón.


Dear Mr. President, I don't know about you but I am relieved that 2010 finally

came to an end. The murder of two of my beloved relatives have made it difficult

to ignore all the other unsolved murders in Cd. Juarez and throughout Mexico.

They estimate over 30,300 have been murdered since you began your war on drugs,

over 12,500 in 2010 alone. 3,156 of those came from the border city of Cd Juarez

where my family members were killed.

Within the past three years 7,500 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez, all due


to the on-going drug related violence between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.

This does not include the estimated 2,700 reported car-jackings and the unknown

number of people who have been kidnapped or tortured who refused to bring charges

due to fear of retaliation. Then too, the growing extortion phenomena of the thousands

of businesses that are currently being blackmailed by the two cartels as protection insurance.

The city has one of the highest murder rates in the world. How is it that El Paso, Texas


which is located just 25 feet away on the US side be ranked the safest city to live in the

entire United States? They had three murders in 2010 and one was a murder suicide.

All these senseless killings have brought home another aspect of these horrific tragedies.


It made me wonder what is going to happen to the thousands of orphaned teenagers

and children now left behind? What are you doing to take care of our orphans of Mexico?

I am willing to give everything I have to help you work on creating a true support agency

that will bring relief in the form of therapeutic services, counseling and scholarship monies

to these very children.

I have been honored to be a Director of DIF (Desarollo Integral de la Familia:


a government program providing assistance to low income families) and understand

the institutional and federal processes. I have been at Los Pinos in 2001 to present

my five year study to then Secretario Particular Alfonzo Durazo. (top aide and spokesperson

for President Vicente Fox)

The children can not and must not be left behind. They are and will be our future.


Most of these children, as you know, have witnessed shootings, violent crime scenes

and the very murder of their own parent or parents. Most of these children I read about

are now drawing graphic scenes of violence and torture they have either heard about,

experienced, read in their local newspapers or watched on a daily basis on their local

news channels. Many are now orphaned with no type of support to help them overcome

the psychological dilemmas they face and will need to overcome in the years to come.

This is not only the situation for thousands of children in Cd. Juarez, but for many more


throughout Mexico. By one estimate that I read, there are approximately 10,000 children

who have lost at least one parent in Cd. Juarez. According to human rights activist

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, the number of orphans in the entire country could well

be over 50,000.

According to a recent study, in Cd. Juarez there are more than 165,000 children below


the age of six already experiencing psychological post traumatic stress disorders.

Many are suffering with night terrors, are unable to sleep, are experiencing anxiety

and dealing with some type of depression. I also read that hundreds of middle

and high school aged children have already chosen to drop out rather then risk getting

killed going to school or confronting the violence that surrounds them. Many others are

turning to substance abuse to help them deal with the violence they're living.

It is estimated that many are turning to the very same drug traffickers and are also

committing petty crimes.

These teenagers are joining the narcotics cartels in droves and are getting younger


and younger. Kids like Edgar Jimenez, nicknamed \"El Ponchis\" who was apprehended

recently and worked for the South Pacific Cartel since he was 11 years old. Mexico

is falling into a spiral that will scar an entire generation. Life for many, as they say,

was already tough but now it’s horrendous.

Mr. President you visited Cd. Juarez four times last year. You also earmarked


700 million pesos, or roughly $55 million dollars for economic development

and approximately 117 programs aimed at developing more educational, cultural,

health, safety and economic programs. However, the new Juarez Mayor,

Hector “Teto” Murguia, and Chihuahua’s new Governor, Cesar Duarte, can't even

promise that a positive change is coming.

Where is the change that will establish a new strategy to fight this organized


terrorist crime? When will you establish a new strategy with in-depth alternatives

and solutions to the on going security crisis now being lived by every soul in Cd. Juarez?

"Teto" Murguia has already told you that Juarez, a city of 1.3 million, needs at


a minimum 7,000 police officers and yet he has only been able to hire 3,000.

He has told you what you already know - that he needs better paid and better

trained officers immediately. Whose life is worth $500.00 US a month? (which is the

average salary for a hard working Juarez policeman) Yes, what is needed are more

officers with anti-abduction and anti-extortion training and with an intelligence unit

focused on identifying feuding cartel targets and engaging them with precision strikes.

Sadly there have been two direct attacks on the children of Cd. Juarez. You are well

aware of the one that occurred at the beginning of last year on January 30th to be precise,

The other occurred as recently as October 22nd. On the January 30th attack, 18 masked

men arrived in seven trucks and broke up a party where middle and high school students

who attended the CBTIS 128 (a local technical arts high school), and the Baccalaureate

College # 9 of the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua system were in attendance.

They were attending an end of the school semester celebration and also celebrating a

classmate's birthday.

These masked cowards (sicarios) ended up slaughtering 15 and wounding 13 others,


leaving most of these with brain injuries due to the horrific gun fire of the automatic weapons.

Most recently on October 22nd, there was another violent and senseless attack that left


16 teenagers dead. All were massacred by large caliber bullets from assault weapons.

19 others were seriously wounded with the youngest just 9 years of age. All were attending

a birthday party for one of the 14 year olds.

There are no words to describe these tragedies. The deep sadness and anger felt by


the families of young people that have been massacred is compounded by the fact that

there just one man has been indicted and no new leads on who else was responsible

for these horrific acts.

One has to ask, just how many more children and teenagers will be murdered before


your authorities can regain control? What will it take before you influence public opinion

on both the national and international levels to begin a new strategy? The sad reality

is that cartels are not going to disappear as a result of your on-going war.

It has been estimated that $40 billion to $50 billion come from drug trafficking and will


continue to flow into our Mexican economy for years to come. I read somewhere that

70% of our businesses are in one way or another influenced by these cartels.

I have to ask respectfully, will you finally step forward and rescue Mexico from Mexico?


If not you then who will stop this genocide? With the state of despair that all Mexicans,

including myself find ourselves in, we can no longer remain silent.

It has been a heartbreaking and painful year for my family. We still have hundreds


of relatives bravely going about their lives - always looking over our shoulders and

surviving this war zone. Although we will continue to pray for that miracle, we cry as we

await; hopeful that you will one day deliver a more secure and peaceful country.

We wait in agony while more innocent people continue to be brutally decimated


each hour.

Mr. President, I seriously doubt that anyone in any particular city in the world would stand


by and watch even one child murdered without an outcry. Where else in the world would

this occur several times a day and on a daily basis and it not be declared a state of

national crisis and a beleaguered state of emergency? The situation in Ciudad Juarez,

much like other cities around Mexico, is now in a state of social catastrophe.

In Cd Juarez 27% of homes have been abandoned and 230,000 of its residents


have fled. 46% of its businesses have closed.. Those businesses that remain are forced

to pay extortion payments. Payments that are so common now, that they've become known

as "cobros del piso" or "floor charges." Payments just to enable a merchant to do

business in his own store in Juarez. A million or more too poor to leave Juarez remain there.

Those with jobs and temporary passports are now crossing into El Paso more frequently


for services that are no longer available in their neighborhoods. It is estimated that

they are spending an average of $220 million a year there. An estimated 60,000

residents, mainly the rich as well as the Mayor have moved to El Paso as well.

Many have brought their assets and started up new businesses. Hundreds of business

owners and professionals created a group called La Red or "the net" to network and assist

them in starting up new businesses - its membership grew from nine members to 300

in an eight month period last year.

Still, it appears to all observers that even the judicial and governmental powers are


also in disarray. How else would a peaceful demonstrator Marisela Escobedo, a 52

year old woman, be killed in plain site of a Governor's office?

So far everything that has been attempted has shown little progress or failed.


Twelve mayors were assassinated throughout Mexico in the last year, six in the last four

months since Aug. 16th.

Mr. President it is evident that your war on drugs has failed. Little that you have attempted


has been effective in putting an end to these senseless tragedies. Our family lost two loved

family members in the last six months. We grieve for them and yearn for the day that we can

bring their killers to justice. Justice for their senseless murders.

Today I am raising yet another voice for the thousands of families who, like my own, have


suffered the pain of losing a loved one. I am demanding justice for the murdered.

The children and teenagers of Mexico are the new martyrs in this endless war.

I am pleading for you to affirm your commitment to each of these children, our children.

The people of Ciudad Juarez and Mexico are living on their knees. Praying and pleading


for justice, for security and for peace. Paying with their blood from the violent drug war

that has completely taken over every waking moment of their lives.

Today I am pleading for that Peace that can only come through a governed state.


With all due respect, we don't need any more promises, no more projects no more half

measured confrontations! What is needed is for your government to mobilize every ounce

of intelligence and force and dismantle all the cartels that govern openly throughout

our beloved Mexico.

Our people have shed enough blood. They, I ... we, have lost more loved ones then


anyone should ever have to, in a lifetime. If ever a government needed to take action

it is yours, Mr. President. If you are to save our country you need to take decisive action

to take down these cartels!

You must act to reassure us that our country is capable of defending its basic principals,


our sovereignty and more importantly safe guard each of your citizens.

President Calderon, our beloved Mexico is on its knees and headed into an abyss.

No one should have to live under siege and threatened every time they step outside their


home, go to school or walk to church. NO ONE!

No one should fear going to bed wondering if tomorrow is the day that they will be killed.

No one should be killed for refusing to give up their life's work and property like seventy


seven year old Don Alejo Garza Tamez did on Nov. 14th. He fought back against some

fifteen attackers with nothing but his hunting rifles. Where was his help?

Where was the help that all those innocent children needed on the day they were


massacred? Where? I don't know about you Mr. President but I have trouble sleeping

knowing and continuing to watch what is happening right before our eyes.

Mr. President we're still here waiting on you.


Atentamente,

Tomas