The Reyes-Salazar family flee Mexico seeking asylum as entire families flee Northern Mexico

TOMORROW AT THE LAW OFFICE OF CARLOS SPECTOR

LAST TWO MEMBERS OF THE REYES-SALAZAR FAMILY FLEE MEXICO AND SEEK ASYLUM IN THE U.S. AS ENTIRE FAMILIES IN NORTHERN MEXICO CONTINUE TO FLEE

Press release: 10 am – Thursday, June 28, 2012
at the Law Offices of Carlos Spector
1430 E. Yandell, El Paso, Texas 79902

Doña Sara Salazar the 78 year old matriarch of the politically active Reyes-Salazar family refused to leave Mexico as long as any of her loved ones were still living there. Last week, after receiving a death threat, her last grandson, Ismael Reyes-Reyes decided to leave Mexico and seek asylum in the U.S. The departure of 22 members of the Porras family from Villa Ahumada as well as the Mexican federal government’s inability and refusal to protect them convinced Ismael Reyes-Reyes to leave Mexico.

Doña Sara has lived every mother’s worst nightmare: first they killed her grandson; then her daughter; 7 months later her son; and then they threatened her with a gun while they kidnapped another daughter, son and daughter-in-law. Six days after the kidnapping they burned her home. Two weeks after the kidnapping they threw the tortured bodies of her children in the street.

According to AI, the Reyes family was “clearly being targeted in the most brutal way.” Six family members having been killed since November of 2008.
Julio César Reyes Reyes was shot and killed on November 16, 2008. – Grandson
Josefina Reyes Salazar was shot and killed on January 3, 2010. – Daughter
Rubén Reyes Salazar was shot down in the street on August 18, 2010. – Son
María Magdalena Reyes Salazar was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. Her body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Daughter
Elías Reyes Salazar was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. His body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Son
Luisa Ornelas was kidnapped on February 7, 2011. Her body was dumped on the street on February 25, 2011. – Daughter-in-law

Saul Reyes-Salazar and his immediate family were granted political asylum in early January 2012.

Law Offices of Carlos Spector, 1430 E. Yandell, El Paso, Texas 79902

For more information please call Alejandra Spector or Crystal Massey at mexenex@gmail.com or (915) 544-044

Mexico: Family of 20 Crosses into Texas Seeking Asylum after Drug Cartel Murders

This story has been reported in El Diario for the past several days…Two
members of the family–a father and son–were murdered. The son was at his
father’s grave in the Villa Ahumada cemetery when he was shot. Others
received death threats by phone. They left the town early in the week and
have been camped out in the offices of the federal Attorney General (PGR)
in Juarez. In a dramatic move, all 20 family members have crossed into the
US to seek asylum, although the latest Diario article said that the Mexican
Attorney General was going to meet in Juarez and discuss how to provide
protection for the family.
There have also been several recent articles in EL Diario on the lack of
any police protection in many of the towns and villages in northern
Chihuahua since 2008 when many police were killed, many fled and others
were dismissed. In 2009, a gun battle took place in Villa Ahumada in which
more than 22 people were killed. Earlier, in May 2008, the Army entered
Villa Ahumada and killed many more then…
Perhaps this case will bring attention to the ongoing and almost unreported
violence in the rural towns and villages surrounding Juarez…

UPDATE:
the Porras family from Villa Ahumada are all seeking political
asylum in the US.  Several houses and businesses in and around Villa
Ahumada owned by the family have been robbed, vandalized and burned
according to an article in El Diario.

Veracruz journalists–living in terror–Marcela Turati in PROCESO

A long article in Proceso on the situation of journalists, esp. in the
state of Veracruz, Mexico. A major point of the article is that while
Mexico has a lot of laws, state institutions and non-governmental groups
that say they exist to protect freedom of the press, they don’t do anything
to stop the killing and terrorizing of journalists. A google translation is
posted below. molly

GOOGLE TRANSLATION

In Veracruz is not strange that a journalist is threatened. Not be picked
up, tortured and murdered. Or, if it saves life, which means that hired him
to fire you … Being a journalist in the state is like bringing a target
painted on the back. Y-governmental bodies responsible for civil-union
protection to simply wallow in inaction. It is so serious and scandalous
state of Veracruz press is already known internationally and is the subject
of forums. In one reporter summed Veracruz: “We are living in terror.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Process). – Minutes before the end of the forum dedicated to
discuss the challenges of journalism in Latin America, a Mexican reporter
spoke: “In Veracruz we are living in fear. The journalists not only kill
us, torture us and we also cut up. There you stand, you’re stuck, you do
what they want. ”

It was Miguel Ángel López Solana, who on June 20 last year survived the
murder of his father, the deputy director of Notiver, Miguel Angel López
Velasco-investigator of drug-trafficking and political corruption, his
mother and brother, photographer of the same daily. This fact opened the
spate of killings since then cripples the lives of journalists in the state.

“I just ran away, ran away, ran to where I could, to the darkness of the
night I reached, I was there,” he told journalists and officials of
organizations present at the forum. And, apparently, has not stopped
running for his life.

His testimony revealed that journalists in Veracruz that are known risk no
justification. Notiver accused, the local newspaper for which labored, to
have fired him. The House of Journalists Rights, created with public funds
to shelter journalists in difficult situations, gave less than a week’s
stay. The organizations he claims to have attended, the said house of the
journalist, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters
Without Borders, could not agree to help.

The many government institutions created to protect journalists, including
the National Commission on Human Rights, sinned away.

The reporter spent six months in the Federal District waiting for someone
to help him leave the country. Desperate, to be known without help, he
returned to Veracruz and then traveled to the border of Tamaulipas and the
United States where for a month asked for a visa. Since April is in this
country with his wife, seeking asylum. His only support, he said, has been
the newspaper La Jornada, which was a correspondent.

Some of his remarks were “a war zone Veracruz no worse than (…) There is
an immense impunity nurtures violence. From the time they killed my family
should have changed things and we would not be mourning the death of
others. No one did anything. Neither the newspaper did a follow-up note. ”

Bore witness to the corruption of local government, in addition to not
protect reporters ‘leaked’ to the press the list of journalists
executables, which was fulfilling-the collusion between officials and drug
traffickers, the indifference of the media owners to local reporters
threatened or killed, the removal of government institutions and NGOs
should protect and institutionalized impunity that encourages new crimes.

He was saved but not the same fate his three colleagues Guillermo Luna,
Gabriel Rodriguez and Esteban Huge, although after the first killings left
journalism (or ran their means to distance himself from them), in some
cases fled the state or tried unsuccessfully to obtain a visa. In May were
killed. Their bodies were dismembered.

Less than a week earlier, on April 28, had been killed the correspondent of
process in that state, Regina Martinez, known for his work against the
powerful, in what appeared a hunt against journalists.

This period was called by the UN the “tragic week in the Mexican press.”

On Friday 1, Notiver-which has four journalists killed Lopez Solana replied
that the company itself has required
justice for the murder of his father, denies that the reporter was hired by
the newspaper, accusing him of “walking down the wrong path” and asks him
to tell the U.S. authorities “everything he knows” (“we are sure that if
anyone knowswho murdered his family and why you, “he said).

The Forum organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
were several things clear: No one understands what happens in Mexico, a
country with strong institutions and monetary resources and allows murder
and gagging their journalists. And that Veracruz is the state where
violence has been merciless with the guild.

Diluted Resources

Research Studies Center and Freedom of Expression (CELE) of Argentina said
the nonsense: In Mexico there is a proliferation of organizations dedicated
specifically to the protection of journalists and investigation of crimes,
and that is not reflected in results.

They include the Program Attacks against Journalists and Human Rights
Defenders of the National Commission of Human Rights, the Special
Prosecutor for the Investigation of Crimes against Freedom of Expression of
the PGR, the Special Committee to Monitor Attacks on Journalists and Media
in the House of Representatives and the Unit for Promotion of Human Rights
Department of the Interior.

Among the burdens that drag on the whole, the CELE detected operating with
a limited legal framework, depend on political decisions, their powers are
limited by jurisdiction, have a tight budget, small staff professionalized,
have serious difficulty in coordination, are hostages of jostling among the
parties and the government, which pays just-concluded-there is more to
impunity.

In Mexico, despite all the bureaucracy assigned to the case, only 3.7% of
crimes are solved and in 59% of cases, the PGR has been declared
incompetent to investigate.

“Unlike other countries in the region, Mexico has strong institutions and
there is clear evidence that when the Mexican government wants to take an
action on an issue, gives institutions the power to act. But as for
protection of journalists and investigation of crimes there is a
proliferation of overlapping institutions and not conducive to good
operation, “said Natalia Torres, lead researcher of the CELE.

Document institutional designs for the effectiveness of protection policies
and investigating crimes against journalists states that one of the most
emblematic of this inefficiency is that institutions have not even been
able to agree on how many assaults are committed each year against
communicators. Each institution has its own, and incomplete account.

“The study did not assess the mechanism of protection (recently approved),
perhaps the mechanism can turn it around and create a coordinated, open to
civil society participation and generate statistics, but until 2011 in this
way has been running,” said researcher in an interview with Proceso.

Meanwhile the annual report of Article 19 states that in 2011 were assigned
to the Interior Ministry 25 million pesos for measures to protect
journalists, which is unknown to what was used 24 million. We only know
that 22 thousand dollars were assigned to protect a journalist from Sinaloa.

Silence The report forced the state complicit in violence against the
press, the international organization said that the NHRC has poor
accountability and offers dubious figures that do not meet the emergency. If
true the little we have, then each trade that sent that cost 226 000 pesos
advocacy.

In the prosecution of the PGR agency calls it “no skills and no
achievements”, and notes that despite the seriousness of the situation has
presented a budget under-spending. A legislative committee is described as
“ornamental” because its members have dedicated themselves to go to forums
instead of adopting the necessary reforms.

Meanwhile, the rapporteurs of the UN and the OAS for Freedom of Expression,
Frank La Rue and Catalina Botero, respectively, present at the forum and in
2010 traveled to the country to know the reality, which issued
recommendations to the State Mexico, called for the end of impunity in the
investigation of crimes.

Process Botero says: “We worked with the UN rapporteur to try to understand
the situation in Mexico, which is complex, is one of the countries with the
highest rate of violence against journalists in the region and made a
series of recommendations believe urgent. The situation in Veracruz is
extremely serious. ”

Botero also made an urgent appeal to the federal government to adopt all
the mechanisms of protection, it implements the newly adopted law on
protection and prevention and that independent and qualified authorities
investigate crimes committed in Veracruz.

“It is urgent that federal investigations take, take all the mechanisms at
its disposal to advance research and convicting those responsible for
crimes against journalists that all they were doing was fulfilling its duty
to inform. Each murder sends a message that can not speak of what happens
in Veracruz and Mexico are entitled to know the results of the
investigations that they, and especially Regina, being developed, “he says.

La Rue for his part said that the increase in violence against journalists
in the Americas, the most serious cases are Mexico and Honduras, and noted
that Veracruz lives at critical moments.

“The common phenomenon of these acts is that of impunity. The State’s
obligation to investigate each fact itself, where it comes from, who
executed it, investigate and establish a criminal trial. Every one that
remains unresolved but does not generate a lot of violence. Is a multiplier
effect because the message is that anyone can get away with it, “says
Guatemalan.

Guy Berger, head of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media
Development UNESCO Process says that while Mexico appears to have
institutions that could curb impunity, require coordination to be effective.

“It’s great to have these mechanisms, now need to begin to work,” he says.

He also notes that if the media do not protect their own members or come to
their defense, journalists can not expect society to do.

At the forum, Heriberto Cantu, editor of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo
Laredo in May was attacked with explosives, reiterated the editorial
decision to cancel the coverage of drug violence.

“Four hours from now imagine a newspaper that has to work behind
bulletproof glass barricades or as a result of the bloody disputes,” the
newspaper editor beaten that he has lived a decade of attacks since the
murder of Roberto Mora, director editorial, strafing, verbal and written
threats, intimidating messages and attacks with explosives.

Entering Honduras

At the forum held from 20 to 22 May last in this city attended by more than
70 journalists and officials of organizations defending freedom of
expression representing Latin America and the Caribbean, who were given the
task of making a diagnosis of the challenges facing you and press to take
practical measures to reverse the crisis situation.

Knight Center director, Rosental Alves of Brazil, began the meeting called
Security and Protection for Journalists, Bloggers and citizen journalists
with the claim that “the serious problem of safety and security of
journalists has acquired unprecedented catastrophic proportions” and is fed
by the serious illness of impunity. If you do not care for journalists,
said, cut the chance of having informed societies and endangered democracy.

The cases of Mexico and Honduras were the most alarming about the growing
violence against its journalists. According to statistics from the
organization Artículo19, 47 journalists have been killed during the
presidency of Felipe Calderón and 14 were missing and at least 565 offenses
were committed against the press in 10 years.

Daniela Pastrana, executive director of Journalists Network of Foot, of
Mexico, told a story about the situation facing journalists Veracruz: the
week following the four murders came to that entity to provide a
professional training workshop and found colleagues desolate, without
support from organizations, government or business.

“I asked them what they need and one of them replied: ‘A gun, but not
because I want to do anything to anyone, is to not catch me alive.’ That is
the level of fear that have (…) They understand that there is persecution
and that they will pursue as journalists and wherever. Of the desolation
that level, “he said.

The forms of attacks on the press released or recrudecidas this
administration, the reporter mentioned the bombings, disappearances, exile,
self-censorship and infiltration in the newsroom, attacks against users of
social networks and torture after the murder .

He noted that vulnerability is accentuated by reporters in the provincial
media where, generally, these are little known in its day, earn an average
of 3 thousand 500 pesos per month charge for less than 100 pesos note, they
drawup to 10 per day and their means are in line with local governments.
“The journalist threatened, run. Threat is synonymous with unemployment,
“he said.

The forum which brought together the highest authorities in the protection
of journalists at the international level, the Mexican case was widely
discussed.Although in May, following the murder of Regina Martinez, were
approved mechanisms to protect journalists and a new law requiring the
federal government to attract and investigate crimes against journalists,
Benoit Hervieu, the head office the Americas to Reporters Without Borders,
expressed doubts about the extent of such modifications.

“The federalization of crimes to investigate the attacks are very late and
incomplete because it is accompanied by a substantial reform of the justice
system and the police investigation. The situation with Mexico is
desperate, and in other countries achieve results but in countries like
Mexico and Honduras all worse, “he complained.

In an interview with Proceso also referred to the murder of Regina Martinez
who said: “It’s hard not to imagine a relationship between what is revealed
Regina and her murder, one of his publications was an article about the
arrest of nine policemen allegedly linked to drug trafficking . He had also
been summoned to appear in court as a witness in Veracruz. ”

 

 

Mexicanos en Exilio–Austin presentations

Many Mexicans need asylum to escape government persecution

Jorge Luis Reyes Salazar remembers when soldiers arrived in March 2008 in Guadalupe, a small Mexican farming community along the border in the Juárez Valley about 50 miles from Juárez.

They swept through the streets of his hometown, he said, terrorizing families and ransacking homes in what they said were searches for drugs, guns and money.

“A war began, but not against narco trafficking — against civil society,” Reyes, 19, told an audience of about 70 people Wednesday at a forum held by the Texas Observer. “The people — people like my family — began to protest.”

The young man was among four survivors of the drug war ravaging Mexico who were in Austin this week to share their stories and call attention to the struggle of thousands of families who have been forced to flee their country in a mass exodus. They have not come to the United States in search of the American dream, they said. They have been forced to abandon everything to save their lives.

To win an asylum case, a person must show a fear of persecution resulting from membership in a certain social, religious or political group, among other enumerated grounds…

Read more at Statesman.com

Justice in Exile

Mexico’s drug war is often presented in the Mexican and U.S. media as a battle among government forces and the drug cartels. Seldom do we hear about the deep and systemic corruption of Mexican officials that allows the violence to flourish. Four members of a recently formed nonprofit in El Paso called Mexicans in Exile said Wednesday night they were forced to flee their country because of government corruption.

The panelists—Saul and Jorge Reyes Salazar, Juan Fraire Escobedo and Cipriana Jurado—told their harrowing stories at The Texas Observer’s forum “Government Persecution, Human Rights and Mexico’s Drug War” on Wednesday night at the Texas Hillel Center in Austin. Their El Paso attorney Carlos Spector spoke about winning political asylum for the exiles and the nonprofit group’s goal to build civil society in Mexico and to seek justice for victims of the violence.

More than 100 people attended the event, including several human rights attorneys, immigration attorneys, members of the Mexican Diaspora and community activists…

Read more at TexasObserver.org

 

 

 

 

Mexicanos en Exilio–Asylum Project events in Austin, TX, March 26-29

A series of events will be held in Austin, March 26-29 regarding political
asylum for Mexicans fleeing the violence.
Details are available at the Mexicanos en Exilio Facebook page and in the
attached flyer. An outline of the scheduled events is below.

Mexicanos en el Exilio Facebook

Mexicanos en el Exilio Twitter

The Asilo/Asylum Project seeks to inform the University of Texas and
off‐‑campus communities about

the injustices and violence in Mexico by sponsoring a weeklong set of
activities around asylum cases

represented by *Mexicanos en el Exilio*. We also intend to build long-term
support in Austin for future

cases of asylum seekers from Mexico. Our asylum guests have faced
incredible life-threatening

violence and have been forced to leave their homes. We are offering them an
opportunity to voice

their concerns, fears, and hopes for themselves, their families, and their
nation.

*SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: MARCH 26‐‑29, 2012*

*Monday, March 26*

*Limited Space Available*

*Welcome dinner hosted by the*

*Project Asilo Committee at Takoba*

*Restaurant, 1411 E 7th Street, Austin,*

*78702 at*

*7:30 p.m. RSVP required at*

*alejandraspector@utexas.edu by*

*Monday, March 19.*

*Tuesday, March 27*

*Event Free & Open to the Public*

*Panel Discussion on Asylum for*

*Mexico*

*Chair: Carlos Spector*

*SAC 1.118*

*3:00—5:00 p.m.*

*Wednesday, March 28*

*Free & Open to the Public*

*Public Forum on Asylum for Mexico*

*Sponsored by The Texas Observer*

*UT-°©‐‑Austin Hillel Center*

*7—9 p.m.*

*Asylum Speakers: Cipriano Jurado,*

*Juan Escobedo, Jorge Reyes; Chair:*

*Carlos Spector and Melissa del Bosque.*

*RSVP required at:*

*nelson@TexasObserver.org*

*Thursday, March 29*

*Limited Space Available*

*Passover Seder*

*Aside from ceremony, special guests*

*and invited asylum speakers will speak.*

*For more information, please contact:*

Emilio Zamora, Professor, Department of History, University of Texas at
Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-0220 512 475-8706, 512 739-0168
E.zamora@mail.utexas.edu*
*

Texas Observer: Tyrant’s Foe Carlos Spector

See the attached profile of Carlos Spector and his political asylum
practice in the current issue of the Texas Observer. This is a companion
piece to the story about the hyperviolence in the Valle de Juarez that was
posted last week. That story is online here:

The Texas Observer

The Deadliest Place in Mexico

Tyrant’s Foe by Carlos Spector


Threats follow asylum seeker across Texas border–KVIA

Below is the posting from Frontera List on April 8 2011 with the
original Diario article that I believe describes the event that caused
Christina Roman to leave Juarez and seek asylum in the US. Kudos to
the Spector law firm and others in the area who are working to help
those seeking asylum from the criminal and government-sponsored
violence in Mexico. For information on how you can help these
refugees, see:

http://mexicanosenexilio.com/mexilio_welcome.html
Mexicanos En Exilio
Mexicanos En Exilio (Mexicans in Exile), founded by the Law Offices of
Carlos Spector, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those
forced to leave Mexico because of the Mexican government’s failure or
unwillingness to protect them. These individuals have risked their
lives for truth and justice in Mexico. These individuals include
reporters, photo journalists, political activists, human rights
activists, businessmen, and former members of law enforcement.

Threats follow asylum seeker across Texas border
by ANGELA KOCHERGA / KVUE News
kvue.com

FRONTERA LIST posting from April 8 2011
[frontera-list] survivor of El Castillo massacre accuses federal
police of involvement in the crime

Diario presents an interview with a survivor of the massacre at the
bar El Castillo last week where 10 people were killed. She is a woman
who worked at the bar. Before the attack, some federal police entered
the bar and started searching some of the clients. They also took away
their cell phones. The witness says one of her coworkers argued with
the police, asking them why they were molesting the clients and the
workers. She was warned, “You will be the first…”
The police left and shortly afterward, a single gunman described as a
young man of about 20 with an assault rifle–a sicario– entered the
bar and committed the killings. Among the victims was the young woman
who had talked to the police as well as the owner of the bar. He had
previously run the La Pantera bar in the same part of town and it had
been attacked for not paying protection money earlier.

The witness also said that after the killings, the federales returned,
robbed the dead of personal belongings and took other things from the
bar–bottles of imported liquor, furnishings, etc. And the report
from the Fiscalia said that the clothing on the bodies of the victims
had some of the pockets turned inside out …

The witness said that no one had denounced the behavior of the federal
agents; the owner of the bar was dead and the relatives who came to
the scene were concerned over the condition of their family members.
In this testimony she says that “supposedly they (the federal police)
are here to protect us, but it isn’t like that.”
There have been no advances in this homicide investigation. The crime
scene was completely manipulated by federal agents who took away
evidence and moved the bodies.
There is more… I posted a google translation below…

There is video of this witness’ testimony at the link. molly

‘Tú vas a ser la primera’, la amenazaron federales, y luego un sicario desató masacre en bar: testigo
Staff
El Diario | 08-04-2011 | 00:22

“A BETTER LIFE” showing set for March 10 in Las Cruces….

This message from Alianza para Solicitantes de Asilo Político
(Political Asylum Seekers Alliance):

A showing of “A Better Life” to benefit asylum seekers journalist
Emilio Gutierrez Soto and his son Oscar will take place Saturday,
March 10 at Alma d’Arte H.S., 5-8 pm. The evening will include a
Skype interview with director Chris Weitz. We’re still in the
planning stages but I do know this will be a low cost event because we
want as many people including students to see this important film
about a Mexican immigrant to the U.S. Copies of the film will be on
sale at the event at a minimal cost.

This event is sponsored by Alianza para Solicitantes de Asilo Político
(Political Asylum Seekers Alliance), formerly known as Comite de
Amigos de Emilio.

MORE ABOUT THE FILM:
Director Chris Weitz directed one of my favorite films starring Hugh
Grant, About a Boy. Here are links to info on the award-winning movie
A Better Life and its star, Academy Award and SAG nominee for Best
Actor Demian Bichir. [YES!!! He’s nominated and will attend the
Oscars just like George Clooney!!!]

http://www.allrovi.com/movies/movie/a-better-life-v534710
http://www.allrovi.com/name/demián-bichir-p132125
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-demian-bichir-a-better-life-287262

Oscar-nominated star of ‘A Better Life’ hopes film spurs action on immigration
Matt Sayles/The Associated Press
Demián Bichir is nominated for best actor in this year’s Oscars for
his role as a gardener in “A Better Life.”
By ALFREDO CORCHADO Mexico Bureau acorchado
Published: 24 February 2012 10:17 PM

Reyes Salazar Family Press Conference

There are several video clips at the link below to the press conference announcing the grant of political asylum to Saúl Reyes. In  one clip is a statement from Jorge Luis Reyes, the son of two family members kidnapped and murdered last year. The main video clip features Sara Salazar speaking about how the killings of her sons and daughters. “I had 10 children and only four remain alive, they have killed them all, and  I can’t do anything… my heart is dry, I don’t have any more strength to do anything else”, said Doña Sara Salazar.

Mi corazón está seco, dijo Sara Salazar, El Diario de Juárez, February 8, 2012