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Mexico: Videos raise awareness of kidnapping crisis

Categories: Latin America, Mexico, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Human Rights, Humanitarian Response, Protest

Mexican Flag [1]Mexico has seen a steep rise in kidnapping for ransom cases this year, and a group of videobloggers have decided to take a stand and make videos proposing solutions for this problem.

According to the Analisis a Fondo [2]blog, according to the Dutch NGO Pax Christi and local authorities, Mexico has surpassed Colombia in the number of kidnappings, which take place mostly in the capital and neighboring areas. According to official statistics, in the first half of 2008 there were 323 kidnappings in Mexico City, and these numbers could be higher, since families of victims are afraid to contact the police, who have been proven in the past to be connected with kidnapping rings.

In Solution to Kidnapping in Mexico [3], bunnymango [4] proposes citizens to stop paying taxes until the government takes care of the kidnapping situation. The text in Spanish on the video says:

In the first 5 months of this year, in Mexico more than 232 kidnappings were reported. However, this number is uncertain, many are not reported due to mistrust in authorities. With our taxes we are maintaining corrupt politicians and murderers and kidnappers in jail.It is the duty of our government to provide an educational system, social security and support to prevent crime and give people opportunities. Lets stop paying taxes, until they respond and we see results. If we don't have the courage to demand the authorities to act we will be kept waiting and this won't change.

The latest high profile kidnapping was of 14 year old boy Fernando Martí, whose father owns a major chain of sportswear and equipment. Even after paying a hefty ransom equivalent to 500 000 USD, the boy appeared murdered inside the luggage compartment of a stolen and abandoned car. What has shocked Mexicans is the fact that it seems that high ranking officers and ex officers were responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the boy and his two bodyguards during a fake police checkpoint where they were intercepted.

In El Justo Reclamo [5], Fernando Martí and the plebeyan blood, Martín Velez writes about how the media and government seem to have been blind to police abuses until now, and provides a possible reason for this:

El asesinato de Fernando Martí parece ofrecer una respuesta: La situación se ha degradado a un punto tal que inclusive la casta empresarial se ha vuelto vulnerable, eso es lo que hace singular este homicidio que es tan lamentable como los otros veinte de hoy y los veinticinco de mañana.

The assassination of Fernando Martí seems to bring an answer: The situation has degraded to such a point that even the business caste has become vulnerable, that is what makes this homicide unique, although it is as deplorable as the other twenty that happened today and the twentyfive of tomorrow.

The following video was made by Jocelyn Negrete [6], the text reads:

Mexico is the latin american country with the highest risk of being kidnapped. Mexico has the second place in the number of kidnappings. In the country between 3 and 4 kidnappings take place each day.Sometimes we need something to happen se we can reflect about our reality. Kidnappers have among their main targets businessmen and people in the middle class. In 2007 there were a total of 297 kidnappings. Most of the victims don't survive the abduction. Victims suffer physical abuse or the amputation of parts of their body.Fear, family suffering, pain, mourning, psychological trauma… are some of the consequences from being a kidnapping victim. DON'T KEEP QUIET!! Lets demand the renewal of the police forces since most of the cases are committed by the police. Lets work together.Lets fight to strenghten the offices in charge of public safety. Together we can accomplish great changes. For a better future!