Voces: What Can We Do When Justice Fails Us?

Hegel Mariano Ramirez is a human rights defender at a Guerrero human rights group within the human rights network “Todos los derechos para todas y todos.” The network is composed of 55 civic organizations that work in 19 states throughout Mexico and in the Federal District. In a coordinated effort, they promote and defend human rights by sharing information and upholding their role as a critical mediator between social actors and the Mexican government.

The following excerpt was taken from a brown bag lunch entitled, “Criminalization of Social Protest in the Mexican State of Guerrero,” held on October 21, 2008 at the Washington Office on Latin America in Washington, DC.

Now, with the Merida plan, we are opening the door to have the military expand throughout the country. On average, there are 15 to 20 executions every day due to narco-trafficking. The policies that the government uses to fight against narco-trafficking are a complete failure. The institutions created to investigate such crimes are failing. The infiltration of narco-trafficking into the federal and local governments is a situation that makes you shiver and gives you terror.

We are documenting how narco-trafficking has infiltrated the halls of government…. What can we, as human rights lawyers, do when the foundation of the justice system is deteriorating, when organized crime infiltrates the higher commands of the police? We remain completely vulnerable. When we denounce these officers that violate human rights by torturing and through arbitrary arrest, we do not know if behind this is the head of a drug cartel.

So, this leaves us in a position of enormous vulnerability. The government is unable to guarantee justice for everyone, or to make stronger the institutions within the justice system as a whole. It has been brought down by organized crime and, even worse, it is society that is suffering the deaths, that has become the victim.

-Tracy Vris & Diva Sanabria

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