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Torreon massacre — gay bashing?

19 July 2010

Patrick Cocoran, in Torreon (Ganchoblog) picked up from El Universal a detail in the Torreon massacre that seems to be overlooked in the U.S. and foreign media coverage:

Having surveyed Facebook pages from area residents, El Universal reports that the quinta where the massacre took place appeared to have been rented out earlier that day by a homosexual and lesbian group, but that the virtual invitations indicate that the party was to be finished by the time the massacre occurred.

My link to the “Torreon massacre” in the first paragraph is to Elizabeth Malkin’s article in the New York TImes, which avoids the false impression given by earlier reports in the foreign press, which made a big deal out of the prime victim’s not-uncommon family name — “Mota” — assuming that because mota is also slang for marijuana, that the killing was narcotics related.

Which, of course, it is… if only in a round-about way. There’s no reason a gay or lesbian person couldn’t be in the narcotics trade, nor that people with the apellido paterno of Mota might not be in that business. And, the massacre was in a Salon de Fiestas — an institution here in Mexico, where parties tend to be large and homes small. Reportedly, the gay/lesbian get-together was supposed to be over by the time of the massacre, and it’s still unclear whether the salon had booked back-to-back events.

And, while gangsters lately have engaged in indiscriminate slaughter, over-kill and excessive violence is usually the sign of a hate crime. And this was, no way to spin it, excessive.

If I am even partially right (and gangsters are infamous for their homophobia) this shows what I’ve thought is the main problem with the “drug war”. By making it the priority, and assessing national security solely in terms of the narcotics trade, normal national security issues have been slighted. Bloggings by Boz referenced another article in the New York Times over the weekend, which tied environmental degradation in Guatemala to the narcotics trade. True enough, as Boz wrote,

… this could lead to two conclusions:

  • Fighting organized crime and promoting security is a pro-environment policy
  • Protecting the environment and enforcing environmental regulations is a pro-security policy

One important point is that neither of these can come “first.” They need to be done in parallel and they need strong governmental institutions to pull it off.

Those with a long memory will recall that the Mex Files praised the Calderòn Administration back when it was still new and shiny for promoting tree planting, and pro-environmental policies… which were seen as national security issues (and the Army here has environmental protection as one of its tasks) that fell by the wayside as the present administration tied its legitimacy to a violent, militaristic response to the narcotics trade.

The conclusions I draw, from the Torreon massacre isn’t so much that a “strong governmental institutions” are required, as much as ones capable of multi-tasking and dealing with causes and not just treating the symptoms.   No one says gangsters aren’t bad people (and their homophobic on top of everything else), who need to be tried, arrested and sent for social readaption.

We have the institutions to deal with environmental protection, agricultural production, controlling guns and money that pours in from north of the border, educational reform and social services for unemployed youth… and of guarding human rights. But, we have an administration unwilling or unable to respond to what has been a chronic (but not particularly threatening) problem — narcotics exports — except by escalating the violence.

I always had great respect for the Fox Administration Secretary of Health, Juliio Frenk Mora.  Dr. Mora during his tenure associated homophobia with violence, and — under the rubric of protecting the citizens against a public health problem (violence) — spent government funds to fight the cause of the disease.  The present Secretary of Health, José Cordova Villalobos might be a hero to some for the aggressive response to the over-blown flu epidemic last year, but all it demonstrated is the administration’s reflective need to throw firepower and overwhelming (military) force at a problem in order to control the effects, and not deal with the cause.

Playing musical chairs with the Cabinet, finding someone better at directing violence for the state does not stop violence from the non-state actors.  Creating opportunities for rural people to earn a legitimate and respectable living, to receive an education, to have something to do with their lives (other than joining the cops or the robbers), inculcating respect for others (as Dr. Frenk tried to do),  might have prevented this latest tragedy.  Which, I very much fear, given the state’s response, will just escalate the violence, not reduce it.


Patrick commented below that he thinks the gay party guests were gone by the time of the massacre, and Rolly Brooks comments elsewhere that the owner of the salon was probably the target of this peculiarly cold-blooded form of a business shakedown.  While the title to this post might be misleading, I don’t think I need to change anything in my original post… my point being that state violence against one class of criminals does nothing to prevent crime, nor to create a just and equitable society.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 July 2010 3:32 pm

    Someone told me earlier today that the party from Facebook had been canceled, and the party that took place was completely unrelated.

  2. steve permalink
    19 July 2010 10:21 pm

    Blog del Narco (en Espanol) says today that a commenter warned of this event last month.

    Which may or may not be accurate, or contradict
    the earlier posting. I don’t know if they are an accurate source of info, except that they put it up first, and usually they are right.

    You have steered away from the “blame game”
    which, at this point, I have to agree with.

    It doesn’t matter WHO did it. It’s done. (Zetas? Gulf? La Familia’s insane right-wing fundies?)
    AS IF the central government will catch them.

    It’s depressing, but it’s a whole new kind of depressing. (Back into the closets, everyone.)

    A group of gays and lesbians posing a threat to a Cartel or gang… ?

    (If only!!)

    no, wait– Extremely Depressed.

  3. steve permalink
    21 July 2010 6:37 pm

    It looks like I picked up on an Internet rumor and
    ran with it, and commented on it. But it wasn’t true.

    So now, the massacre was not aimed at gays and lesbians after all; it was just ‘business as usual.’

    I feel better now.

    Wait- no, I don’t feel better.

    I can’t decide.

    (sigh) I do not have Cable, to tell me how I should feel.

  4. el vergel permalink
    20 November 2010 8:25 pm

    down the line it was learned about a woman in a jail house who con inmates to leave prison cells and go on a frenzy of sorts armed, and enter rival hang outs unmercifully take no prisners unless other wise retaliation on gunmens famalies. in neighboring town. who the real shoot callers are ? can justice prevail 2 little 2 late.


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