Impunity is a part of Torture

Today marks two years since the repressive events suffered by the population of San Salvador Atenco, a village near the capital of Mexico. The repressive events were a response to civil strife against various economic projects in the area. Since several years ago the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra (In english, The Peoples Front in the Defence of the Land) had protested in a peaceful manner over the building of an airport on their lands and the managed to finally get the project paralysed.
In 2006, during the repressive events, the FPDT supported the struggle of the local vendors who opposed the construction of a large shopping mall, a WalMart, that would kill their small businesses. The police operation, authorized by the federal government, state and local governments – which implies the participation and agreement of the three major political parties in Mexico: PRI, PAN and PRD – consisted of some 3000 troops of military police who suppressed 300 people. As a result of the operation there were two deaths, one of them a child aged 14 who died from a bullet shot by a police officer, there were numerous burglaries, much abuse and more than 200 people were arrested and tortured. 47 were women suffered sexual torture at the hands of the police.
In this operation a Spanish citizen was arrested, tortured and subsequently illegally deported from Mexico. At no time was there a statement made by any of the bodies that make up the Spanish state regarding these events.
We understand that this attitude has to do with the fact that there are numerous trade agreements between Mexico and Spain, and that Spain should not “mess” with news about human rights violations. An example of this relationship comes from the reopening of the new Mexico City airport project in Atenco, whose construction will be carried out with the help of the Spanish companies OHL, FCC and Abertis. On the 25 of January there was a denouncement made in the Spanish National High Court on the case of San Salvador Atenco. \line \line Still today no police or any public office has been punished for these acts, nor has any investigation been conducted into the Federal Mexican Republic to investigate these acts despite numerous recommendations in this regard from Amnesty International, the International Civil Commission on Human Rights and endless human rights organizations, lawyers, civil organizations and so on. The aggression suffered by the people of Atenco has not been repaired in any sense and, quite the contrary, 16 people remain in prison and more than 100 of those arrested were prosecuted for crimes of which there has not been any evidence.\line \line The sexual torture in this case directed mainly against women was not a spontaneous act, nor is it an isolated event in the long history of repression against social and political movements. Sexual torture is a strategy designed to humiliate and demobilize, particularly women, with major impact on individuals and communities that this kind of torture is used against. Within our Christian and patriarchal societies, where sexuality – particularly female – has been somewhat guarded, controlled and muted, sexual torture tries to produce a strong impact on the self-esteem of women and on their surroundings, attempting to silence and disgrace them, and to make women themselves feel guilty for what has been done to them and to get them away from the streets and active protest. That is precisely what we do not want to do, what we do not want that to happen, and therefore we scream loudly about what happened and about the impunity that permeates these events. That is why we find ourselves naked before a violent state and the complicity of another.

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