Skip to comments.Missing people's kin feel deserted [more than 60 Americans kidnapped in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico]
Posted on 06/05/2007 2:47:37 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
LAREDO Mexican President Felipe Calderón's offensive against drug cartels has been ticking off small victories, but progress is at a standstill for families here whose loved ones have disappeared across the border.
More than 60 U.S. citizens from Laredo have gone missing in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in the past four years, many presumed kidnapped by drug traffickers.
Their stories grabbed the attention of politicians and the media during the peak of the violence in Nuevo Laredo, becoming the faces of the victims of the drug cartels.
Relatives formed a group Laredo's Missing that became a lobbying and information clearinghouse for Americans who crossed into Mexico and never came back.
Now the group is trying to restart its campaign to bring attention to their cases and is pressuring elected officials to renew the public support that was evident when they started.
"We are feeling abandoned, like the authorities have left us on a waiting list," Danielle Ortiz said last week. Her husband, Sergio, a private investigator, was last seen in Nuevo Laredo in January 2003.
Ortiz was referring to Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, two politicians who had been the most willing to offer help to the victims' families.
In response to questions by the San Antonio Express-News, Salinas met with the group Monday and renewed his pledge to help the families find justice.
Homero Villarreal, whose two sons were kidnapped in Nuevo Laredo in front of their families three years ago this month, said Salinas asked the group to write a letter detailing their cases and promised to use diplomatic channels to get the letter to Calderón.
Though the crimes happened in Mexico, Laredo's Missing hopes that U.S. pressure will give its pleas for help a stronger voice.
Cuellar defended the actions of U.S. authorities, saying they are doing all that can be done.
"What makes this a very difficult, complex issue is that these crimes happened in Mexico, in another jurisdiction," he said last week.
Nonetheless, Cuellar said that during a recent trip to Mexico City he personally handed the chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration at the U.S. Embassy a package with information about the missing Americans.
There has also been discussion of a toll-free tip line and a U.S.-Mexico task force on these specific cases, Cuellar said.
"I wish we could do more," he said.
The timing of the families' new efforts follows the arrest in April of Eleazar Medina Rojas, also known as "El Chelelo," in Nuevo Laredo.
Families of the kidnapped Americans said witnesses and authorities put Medina behind many of the snatchings, though it is not known what evidence backs that up.
Mexican authorities paraded Medina in front of the media in Mexico City, identifying him as "principal hit man and kidnapper" for the Gulf Cartel in the state of Nuevo León.
But that hasn't translated into resolutions of the border kidnappings since his arrest.
No one at Mexico's federal attorney general's office, known by its Spanish acronym PGR, in Mexico City was available to discuss Medina's arrest.
"I don't have a hunch I am sure that he was one of the ones who took my sons because we have witnesses," Villarreal said, adding he knows of people who told PGR investigators as much.
But repeated calls to the PGR and its attaché in San Antonio were fruitless, he said.
Ortiz of Laredo's Missing said FBI officials have mentioned Medina's name as a suspect to several families.
"We want to sit down (with Mexican authorities) and discuss how we can help each other, but it has fallen on deaf ears," said Salinas, a former FBI agent who became mayor here last year.
Salinas said he has discussed the issue of kidnapped Americans in Mexico with his Mexican counterpart, the mayor of Nuevo Laredo, but that those talks were "not for public dissemination."
The FBI and the local sheriff's and police departments said they have followed leads to the international boundary, but have been stymied by their Mexican counterparts.
Rotations and firings of rogue cops in Nuevo Laredo removed many of the investigators familiar with the kidnappings, Laredo police spokesman Joe Baeza said.
"We've lost some communication with some people we thought we could trust," he said.
Still, the families said they would remain on the offensive until tangible results appear.
"There is a tremendous silence," said Priscilla Cisneros, whose daughter Brenda was last seen at a Nuevo Laredo concert almost three years ago.
"It's harder now than it was at the beginning," she said. "Time is our worst enemy."
Just collateral damage in the quest for oneness with such a peaceful nation.
Send Nancy Pelosi to Nuevo Laredo. This cannot but help the situation.
60 in four years?
One would think that the message ‘Don’t go into Nuevo Laredo’ would come in loud and clear before the numbers got anywhere near 60. — unless of course these 60 were themselves involved with drugs. If that’s the case, I have little sympathy for them.
Los dos Laredos ping!
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Nothing to see here, move along, move along.
Meanwhile as our dumbass leaders continue along the road to a unified North American Union.
Like Pink Floyd so eloquently stated,”MONEY MONEY MONEY, MONEY.”
Why did you post this? Are you some kind of racist?
A border sheriff said last week they are kidnapping people on the US side now and taking them to Mexico.
Just as soon as she finds Natalee Holloway, Greta will be on top of this.
Just have faith, and hang in there; it is just a matter of time.
Our relationship with Mexico is a 2 way street. We keep giving and they keep taking. Sometimes Mexico has certain “requests” which we are always agreeable to do. We never ask anything of Mexico.
“More than 60 U.S. citizens from Laredo have gone missing in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico..”
President Jefferson sent the Marines to deal with Muslim pirates who were kidnapping US citizens. But that was another time and another place. Our current president will write off these US citizens in his quest not to offend the pirates and kidnappers in Mexico.
Don’t go Nuevo Laredo! The cheap prescription drugs aren’t worth the risk.
Actually, most people don’t KNOW about this. When I tell them, they flat out don’t believe me—until I show them the articles about this that I have collected.
Tell that to the dolts on shows like Wheel of Fortune, which constantly gives away vacations to Mexico—although so far, not N.L., but frankly, I wouldn’t take even a free vacation to that country.
They don’t give away vacations to the border region of Mexico. There are wonderful archealogical sites around Mexico City and the Yucatan.
I figure it won’t be long before the kidnappers start hitting tourist areas too—that’s where the money is.
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