Militarization and Violence Are “Means of Government Control” – Bishop Raúl Vera
Raúl Vera López, Bishop of Saltillo
Photo: Víctor Hugo Valdivia
Gloria Leticia Díaz
Proceso, 6th October, 2015
In Mexico, militarization and violence "are a means of control and restraint” against the social demands of the populace, reported Raúl Vera López, Bishop of Saltillo, during his meeting with the United Nations Committee on Extrajudicial Executions.
The Bishop, founder of the “Decade against Impunity” Solidarity Network, went to Geneva in September to present two cases that remain unpunished: the massacre in El Charco, Guerrero, where ten indigenous people and a university student were killed by military personnel, and the murder of Armando Chavarría Barrera, President of the Guerrero state congress. Members of the military have been involved in serious human rights violations, and the lives of victims and relatives are put at risk by reporting them, said the Bishop.
This Tuesday, at a press conference, Vera López said that during his interviews with members of the Committee on Extrajudicial Executions and other organizations in Europe, among them France Libertés-Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, he noted that "human rights violations are part of the structure of the Mexican State, and the Army stands out as a permanent presence throughout these".
Recounting cases in which human rights have been violated, the Bishop emphasized that the Army appears in the most serious of them, "in a position of violence against the public; the Federal Police are another group involved in this."
Since General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), has denied access to the soldiers who participated in the disappearance of the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, in September 2014, Vera López regretted that it is not possible to investigate the army because that fact, he stressed, feeds impunity.
He also criticized Enrique Peña Nieto’s government’s tactic of insulting various reports, including the one from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) on the Ayotzinapa case. This tactic was also used with Juan Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and with a group created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), he specified.
To the priest, the government’s strategy has been to "justify itself and reject international observation", while criminalizing victims and their relatives.
After noting that Mexico is the "most watched country in the world", Vera López stressed that organized crime operates in the State’s favour, which explains why Central American migrants may be detained on their way to the northern border, he concluded.
Translated by Emma Brooks