Mexico: Genocide against women workers

Since 1993, more than 4,000 women - workers and students - have disappeared in Ciudad Juarez. According to Amnesty International, 327 of them have been found tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered, after having been kidnapped in the centre of the city at the end of their workday in the maquilas [assembly plants in the US border region], or leaving their computing academies, their bodies abandoned on vacant land.

"The murders of these women had not yet been linked up (in the winter of 1999), but most of them had in common the extreme violence with which they had been carried out. (…) It was also clear that the victims were carefully selected and that there was an organised system to kidnap them. They would disappear in the centre of town, in broad daylight without any witnesses. At the beginning it was thought that this was the work of some depraved criminals, who were protected by their connections in the underworld. There were indications that this was the case. No one imagined, back then, that behind the deaths there was something much more complex and murky…"
(From the book Harvest of women by Diana Washington)

Since 1993, more than 4,000 women - workers and students - have disappeared in Ciudad Juarez. According to Amnesty International, 327 of them have been found tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered, after having been kidnapped in the centre of the city at the end of their workday in the maquilas [assembly plants in the US border region], or leaving their computing academies, their bodies abandoned on vacant land. Official figures are kept hidden or manipulated, and it is also likely that some of the disappearances have simply not been reported. Many victims’ bodies have not been claimed, either because they lived alone, were from other states and barely knew anybody in Juarez, or because they have not been identified. In other cases, their relatives, poor workers, have no means to travel to claim the bodies, and there is no official aid. On the contrary, the official attitude is to hide and underplay this barbarism. These facts can only be described as the systematic genocide of poor working or student women.

They are not the "dead" of Juarez. They are the murdered of Juarez. And this is how they should be described. We cannot allow the ruling class and its representatives to twist the language and call them "the dead of Juarez", as if they had died of old age. Some like panista [member of the right wing ruling party PAN] governor Francisco Barrio, or the priista [member of the PRI] governor Patricio Martinez, and also some local mayors, are suggesting that in some way the victims are to blame, that in a sense "they were asking for it", because they were walking the streets at night, when all they were doing was walking home from work (although in many instances the attacks took place in broad daylight in the city centre) - or because they were wearing tight-fitting clothes or short skirts. These slanderous insinuations are designed only to cover up the facts, and only benefit and help the murderers - both those who committed the acts and those who organised them.

The origins of this genocide are not to be found in 1993 when the first body was discovered. They go further into the past. What is really behind the Juarez murders? The deep-rooted origins can be found in the decades of corruption of the PRI regime, but particularly since 1968, with the use of state terrorism, the "disappearances" and political murders; its links with organised crime and drug-running from the 1980s; the growing phenomenon of social decomposition linked to government corruption which guaranteed impunity for the rich thieves and murderers; the alliance and reciprocal protection between the narcos and high officials in the bourgeois state. To this we have to add the increase in crime and insecurity at all levels, made worse by "neo-liberal" economic policies which create hunger, misery and unemployment. Increased crime is in turn used as propaganda in a deliberate attempt to cow and terrorise the workers and the people, so that they lock themselves at home and do not participate in struggle.

Corruption is inherent in capitalism, and this, in its rottenness, allows everything to become a business, shredding any vestige of "moral" or "ethical" considerations. Now in Juarez, women are seen as just another commodity; they are fully exploited and everything in them is used up, even their deaths. One of the investigators who came to Juarez, retired Argentinean inspector commissar Raul Zajaczkowski, said: "The striking feature of this case is that all these crimes take place in this city and against women of given characteristics. The strange thing is that they are still taking place. We are not facing a group of serial killers. There must be some other pattern behind these cases." "The victims are dark-haired women, with long hair, short and with dark skin. Out of every 100, 95 are young women of 16 to 24 years of age. 90 are alone in the city. They are young women without family, who reached this place in order to cross the border or to work in the maquiladoras, the assembly plants. Then there is a third element which is present, but not in all cases: the bodies are kept for some time. They are hidden for a while and then the bones are abandoned. Many times corpses are found together. All this makes the investigation much more complicated since there is little evidence left. In some other cases it is likely that there has been a deliberate tampering with the evidence in order to deviate the attention of the investigators and to protect the perpetrators. (…) All are valid hypotheses that should not be ruled out. But one of the strongest suggests that in this place, there are one or several groups that exploit women, either their bodies or the work that they do. Then they kill them."

In 1992-93 a particular group of characters came together in the area of Ciudad Juarez-Tijuana. On July 1, 1992, cardinal Juan Sandoval, currently accused by the PGR [Mexican National Prosecutors’ Office] of money laundering, was appointed bishop of Juarez. When cardinal Posadas was murdered in Guadalajara in 1993, Sandoval benefited by getting his position. On April 12, 1993, the drug smuggler Amado Carrillo Fuentes, also known as the Lord of Heaven, became the head of the Juarez cartel, after the arrest of the previous chief of the cartel. In 1992 panista Francisco Barrio Terrazas, right-hand man of current president Vicente Fox, and currently head of the PAN parliamentary group, became governor of Chihuahua. It was from these dates onwards that the Juarez cartel spread its operations and became the most powerful group of narcos in Mexico, elbowing aside even the powerful Colombians. The El Financiero paper published news to the effect that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had confirmed that the Juarez cartel had infiltrated the PAN government in the state of Chihuahua in the early 1990s. It just so happens that the murders of worker and student women in Juarez started at the same time. This is all too much of a coincidence to be unrelated.

The Juarez murders were not carried out by one or two serial killers. We are dealing with organised crime, with hired executioners, many of whom are "juniors" rather than common criminals, in order to ensure the highest level of secrecy by applying a mafia-type omerta (law of silence), with a selected club of organisers who have created a crime society in order to satisfy their most obscure vices and at the same time make good business out of it. This group of people have powerful interests in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and El Paso. They exploit women workers in the maquilas; they use the unemployed in prostitution rings, table-dancing clubs, as couriers for drug smuggling, and also for their private parties - orgies organised by these businessmen. Their sons - the "juniors" - have their own separate parties, for obvious generation reasons. One such place is the "La Sevillana" restaurant. Others are "Club 15", "Club Marlboro", and the music house "Paraiso Musical". The "juniors" visit these, located in the centre of Juarez, in the "Zona Roja". There are also private parties to which politicians, high-ranking police officers, members of the hierarchy of the church, and important narco chiefs are invited. Their basest desires are satisfied, including paedophilia (one of the murdered women was only 6). There are plenty of drugs, contracts for snuff movies in which young women are murdered on camera, and there are even instances of organ smuggling (though this is not the main activity). In other words, a real organised crime multinational.

We should not forget that the very word cartel, which is used to describe the modern-day mafia organisations, was originally used to describe the association of big companies to form conglomerates in which they became self-sufficient. Furthermore, once they are able to control the whole process of production in one sector of the economy, they expand their operations to several other sectors. In Juarez we see this concept of business organisation applied to the exploitation of women as a commodity, as if they were pigs from which all parts of their bodies are used. No more and no less. It is not a case of one or two serial killers. Sometimes they pretend to be in order to divert attention. Also, given the high level of impunity, there are also a certain number of copycat murders. They are linked to active duty or retired police officers and army personnel. Even before 1993, the local police participated in gang rapes of women in Lomas de Poleo, which were then burnt down in order to make the bodies and clothing disappear. From there, they moved on and became suppliers of women to satisfy the depraved desires of rich businessmen and politicians. They are the pawns. They know about criminal investigation, about crime scene investigation, and so they are able to hide, destroy and generally confuse evidence. Women are kidnapped and kept in custody for several days before they are murdered. It has been proven that some times the bodies are frozen, the bones mixed up and scattered, or several women are buried together, their clothes are burnt or mixed up, so tactics keep changing in order to confuse those investigators who really want to solve and not cover up the Juarez cases, and there are very few of them.

This secret society, was not originally created in order to murder women in Ciudad Juarez, but as a combination of different criminal interests. Only later did it grow and diversify its operations, and in order to protect itself, started to corrupt and co-opt important local politicians, as is probably the case with Francisco Barrio Terrazas. This is the only way to explain the level of impunity and arrogance with which they operate, having gone as far as to throw some of the corpses in front of the Association of Maquiladora Owners building, and also in front of local government buildings. Sergio Gonzales describes this secret society thus: "It is a fraternity of crime, linked to drug smuggling. Most of them are killers who have the protection of police officers and civil servants; from the local, state and national government, and they are also supported by a group of powerful businessmen from the border region. We have a perfect situation, because on the one hand impunity is absolutely guaranteed, and also the criminals have "professional" qualifications to carry out their activities. Therefore we are talking about human sacrifice as a tool of public and even political power".

How is it possible to make these women disappear? 90 percent of them are migrants, just arrived from other regions, and not even known in the local corner shop. This could not be by chance, since following these girls could take weeks or even months. There must be another, quicker, way of getting all the basic information: picture, place of origin, days in Juarez, colour, height, eye colour, address, phone, etc. The kidnappers knew what they were doing and whom they were kidnapping. Most of the murdered women fit the same profile, young worker or student, 1.60 m tall, long, dark hair, dark skinned. Many disappeared in the city centre, coming back from work, near places that have become black holes where these women disappear. There is a network of establishments, bars, maquilas, study academies, where kidnappers and executioners, in a professional division of labour, work. They need reliable data on these women and this cannot be obtained by chance. They could only get it through access to databases. In the maquilas they must have had access to personnel databases. Information from work interviews is commonly sold to third parties (both to advertising agencies and other interested parties). Recently there was a scandal when it was discovered that social security databases had been sold to a US-based company. In the case of students, data can be gathered from computing academies. It is no coincidence that many of the murdered women attended computing courses in ECCO. Who has had access to these databases since 1993? Why is this not investigated? Who are the real owners of ECCO, besides the legal ‘straw men’? Why has a list of the maquilas where these women work not been made public? Who has access to the personnel databases? Why has the Association of Maquiladora Owners (AMAC) not opened an internal investigation? Who are they covering up for? Are any of their members implicated? All evidence points in that direction. Despite all the murders, they have taken no action at all, not even to provide their workers with safe night transport when they finish their shifts early in the morning and have to walk through unlit streets, many of them without proper pavement, sewage drains, or basic services.

Who are the members of the secret crime society in Juarez?

Journalists Diana Washington Valdes, from El Paso Times, and Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez, author of Bones in the Desert, have named some of those involved, either directly or through their covering up of evidence: "Amongst the surnames known to US and Mexican officers as allegedly knowing the facts or maybe being implicated are: Molinar, Sotelo, Hank, Rivera, Fernández, Zaragoza, Cabada, Molina, Fuentes, Hernández, Urbina, Cano, Martínez, Domínguez and others" (Ciudad Juarez, this is how it all began, Diana Washington. La Jornada, 31/10/03).

Who are these people? Amongst the most important of these surnames are:

Jorge Lopez Molinar, vice chief of Public Prosecution in North Chihuahua in the Francisco Barrios panista government;

Manuel Sotelo Suarez, president of the Association of Transport Employers in Ciudad Juarez, as well as of the Business Co-ordinating Council in the city, and also owner of NaftaExpress, a company which had two vehicles repossessed by the Social Security Institute for non-payment of social security contributions;

Jorge Hank Rohn, son of the late chief of the priista dinosaurs [the political heavyweights running the PRI], Carlos Hank Rohn, the biggest owner of casinos and betting shops, a business usually linked to money laundering. He also had control of the Laredo National Bank, linked to money laundering in the "Amigos de Fox" case [a corruption scandal involving illegal donations to the Fox presidential campaign]. Owner of the Agua Caliente hippodrome in Tijuana which was given to him by the late chief of the DFS [Federal Security Agency], Fernando Gutierrez Barrios, responsible for the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968, linked to the dirty war in the 1970s. Hank Rohn was investigated in connection with the attempt on the life of journalist Jesus Blancornelas, when he was investigating drug smuggling and money laundering operations and their links to the PAN and the PRI. Jorge was also linked, along with his father and his brother Carlos, with the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994.

Victor Rivera is a local MP for the PRI, currently part of the campaign team of the priista pre-candidate for the Chihuahua governorship Jose Reyes Baeza.

Miguel A. Fernandez Iturriza. Argos, property of the Iturriza family, is the Coca Cola bottling company in Juarez, Sonora, Baja California and Sinaloa, as well as being an important construction company in Ciudad Juarez. Let’s examine Iturriza’s resume. He is the president and director general of Sistema Argos, which in 1997 had an income of 2 billion, 569 million pesos. With a long history in the PAN, he is the archetypal businessman who likes to get involved in politics. He was alternate to Luis H Alvarez as municipal president of Chihuahua (1983-86) and then, after losing the election to the same position in 1986, he was in charge of the national finances of the party for seven years (1987-1994), at the time when Alvarez was the PAN leader. He was a member of the state committee and the national committee of the party, presiding over its national Public Finances Commission. In 1997 he was included in the list of the 100 most important businessmen in Mexico. Fernandez Iturriza coordinated the gubernatorial campaign of Enrique Terrazas, one of the owners of Chihuahua Cementos, a subsidiary of Cementos de Mexico (CEMEX). In 1995 he had co-ordinated Jose Antonio Badia San Martin’s campaign for municipal president of Ciudad Juarez, a notorious member of DHIAC (Wholly Human Development, an extreme right-wing organisation). In 1992 he was the treasurer of Francisco Barrio’s campaign. Some of the women murdered had an inverted triangle marked on their bodies, a symbol of the extreme right. There are many individuals belonging to "El Yunque" [The Anvil] and the old MURO in government positions, as well as in the structure of the PAN (including panista president Luis Felipe Bravo Mena and the more well-known Luis Pazos), as pointed out by journalist Alvaro Delgado in his recent book El Yunque: the Extreme Right in Power.

Several of these businessmen are also in the list of the 100 richest men in the country, compiled by Revista Expansion magazine. Amongst them is Fernandez Iturriza at the head of the Arca-Coca Cola group. Furthermore, some of the businessmen are now supporting the Juarez Strategic Development Plan, amongst them Fernandez Iturriza himself. In 1983 they tried to get hold of political power, through the creation of the Civic Front for Citizens’ Participation (FCPC). The aim was to negotiate with the PRI to secure the candidature of Francisco Barrio Terrazas, at that time CEO of Grupo Bermudez, for the municipal presidency. Finally, after the PRI refused to have him as a candidate, Barrio was the PAN candidate and won the election in Ciudad Juarez. With the support of business interests, the panistas also won the elections in Chihuahua, Camargo, Delicias, Parral, Meoqui and Casas Grandes. Fernandez Iturriza was elected as alternate mayor to Luis H Alvarez in the state capital in 1983. His brother Luis Fernandez Iturriza, is the president of the World Trade Centre El Paso-Juarez organisation.

We should also look more closely at Jesus Alonso Zaragoza Lopez and the Zaragoza Fuentes family, one of the most influential in Mexico right now and close to Los Pinos [the name of the presidential residence in Mexico City]. Eduardo Fernandez, former president of the National Stock Exchange and Banking Commission (CNBV) accused Jesus Alsonso Zaragoza Lopez of being involved in the scandal of illegal donations to the Fox presidential campaign. The Zaragoza Fuentes family, native to Ciudad Juarez, controls the distribution of gas in more than 14 states in Mexico, in Peru, Texas, and intends to invest 90 million dollars in a new plant in Murcia (Spain). Jose Camargo Asencio, one of the former supervisors at the CNBV, told the public prosecutor that "Amigos de Fox" was involved in money laundering, but that "those parts – of the ministerial statement – have been removed from the dossier which has been sent to the Electoral Crime Special Prosecutor". Jesus Zaragoza is not allowed to cross to the US side of the border because of his illicit businesses. A high ranking official in the US DEA confirmed to Proceso magazine that Jesus Zaragoza is under investigation and that they posses intelligence on him. A report of the US Duty Service (dated November 19, 1991), written as a result of the discovery of a shipment of more than 4 tonnes of cocaine in Mesa de Otay, California, mentions the name of Jesus Zaragoza (his surname appears spelt as Zaragosa), "Jesus Zaragosa sent six tankers of Hidrogas de Yucatan to the Mexicali plant and from there to Tijuana". In November 1990, the Federal Judicial Police discovered a tonne of cocaine inside one of the company’s tankers. In April 1997, an edition of 60 Minutes, the CBS programme, featured a documentary on corruption in the US Duty Service in which agents of the DEA stated that at least seven tankers of the Hidrogas company had been modified in order to introduce drugs into the US.

The former US ambassador in Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow, in his recently published book, The bear and the porcupine, explains how a drugs were discovered in a broccoli shipment by a company of [current Mexico president] Vicente Fox’s business group (Vegetales Frescos, Sociedad de Porduccion Rural de Responsabilidad Limitada, a company based in Leon, Guanajuato). This happened just a few weeks before the July 6, 2000, presidential elections [which Fox won]. The investigation was put on hold by the US State Department.

The Zaragoza Fuentes family, owners of Grupo Z, were members of the "Amigos de Fox". "Read the lists of ‘Amigos de Fox’ during the campaign and you will find the Zaragoza Fuentes family. That is where the protection given by the current government to this family comes from," said former PRD federal MP Alfredo Hernandez Raigoza. The Zaragoza family has close links with members of the Fox Cabinet, according to Raymundo Riva Palacio, of El Universal paper. According to Riva Palacio, the former Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Castañeda "put pressure on the Mexican embassies in Central America to support the attempts of the Zaragoza family to obtain control of the gas market in the region". Incidentally, Castañeda was the only member of the Cabinet to attend the wedding of Stephanie Korrodi to Fernando Baeza, the son of former Chihuahua governor Fernando Baeza Melendez, in February 2002.

The family companies control 72% of bottled gas delivery in the country, most of the gas distributed in Central America, and they now also have a plant in Peru. Miguel Zaragoza Fuentes, head of the Grupo Zeta, announced on his website that the group is comprises more than 80 companies in Mexico – where it has control over 14% of the gas market – and has operations in the US, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Peru. The group has now announced a US$ 90 million investment in Murcia, Spain.

Pedro Zaragoza Fuentes, head of the Zaragoza Agroindustrial Group, holds the concession for Corona beer; owns two stadiums in Juarez; several leisure centres in the border region; and more than 80 petrol stations in Juarez alone. He was under investigation for tax fraud worth US$ 2.2 million during the Carlos Salinas government, when the Republic’s General Prosecutor (PGR) accused him of being linked to the Amado Carrillo cartel, pointing out that two of his sisters-in-law were married to narcos Rafael Aguilar Guajardo and Rafael Muñoz Talavera. Despite the fact that the PGR presented more than 38 charges against him in September 1994, the case was stopped in court. The then governor of the state, Francisco Barrio, interceded in his favour, declaring that he was "an honest businessman". The Zaragoza Fuentes family owns land in Lomas de Poleo, one of the places, together with Lote Bravo, where the bodies of the murdered women have been dumped. Another member of the family is Tomas Zaragoza Fuentes, owner of the natural gas distribution company Tomza.

Another person said to have links with this secret fraternity is Arnaldo Cabada de la O, who holds the concession of TV broadcaster Canal 44. He is the owner of the ACASA group, and a prominent member of the local PRI as well as being president of the Ciudad Juarez Association of Journalists until June 10 this year. While he was president, the Journalists Association was involved in a corruption scandal for having received money from the city’s Fair.

Jorge Molina Espinoza, a former president of Renata is currently in the campaign team for a PRI pre-candidate to the Chihuahua governorship, Anchondo.

Valentín Fuentes Téllez, from the powerful Fuentes family, is also in the gas distribution business. The heads of the Fuentes family were Don Valentin and Clara Varela. Their sons formed the Imperial Group, now led by Angelica Fuentes Tellez. Valentin Fuentes Tellez is married to Karla Korrodi, the daughter of Lino Korrodi, the financial brain of the "Amigos de Fox".

Milenio newspaper published a note on July 24 about the intervention of Angelica Fuentes in a meeting about the murdered women in Juarez: "Immediately afterwards, against the wishes of the local human rights organisations, a young woman spoke, Angelica Fuentes, who belongs to one of the most powerful families in the city. She talked a lot about the city’s economy, but she forgot to mention the reason why we were all in Juarez: the murdered women, violence and drug smuggling."

Angelica Fuentes is a director of the Imperial Group, the main distributors of natural gas in Mexico. She was named as one of the most influential women in Mexico by Expansion magazine in its February 2003 edition. She was twice president of the Mexican Association of Natural Gas for a total of 4 years, until December 2000, and is currently president of the Energy Business Network of the Asia Pacific Cooperation Agreement. She is one of the main supporters, together with her family, of President Fox’s plans to deregulate the energy sector. Her family would be one of the main beneficiaries of such a reform.

Salvador Urbina Quiroz is the president of the Bar and the Lawyers Association of Chihuahua and has been one the most vocal critics of the appointment of Commissioner Guadalupe Morfin. "The State Prosecutor’s Law and the Penal Code do not allow her access to the dossiers or even to get copies of them", he said to the bourgeois press.

Alberto Cano is the mayor of Chihuahua.

Patricio Martinez is currently the priista governor of the state of Chihuahua.

Jorge Dominguez is the owner of Teleservicio Dominguez, in the rancho El Becerro Street, the place where the kidnapping and murder of Lilia Alejandra Garcia took place. Dominguez is also allegedly linked to the Juarez narcos.

The murders of women do not only take place in Juarez. Since Vicente Fox won the election in 2000, crimes similar to those in Ciudad Juarez have spread throughout the country. There have been five homicides in Chihuahua (north east), five in Nogales, Sonora (north west), and 16 in Leon (centre). There have also been some cases in Tlaxcala, and internationally in Guatemala where 600 women were killed between 2001 and October 2003, in crimes linked to the maras (gangs), the narcos and to "death squads".

There is an Ariadne’s thread which links Ciudad Juarez in 1993, Lomas Taurinas, the murder of Colosio, the murder of cardinal Posadas at the Guadalajara airport, the murder of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, and the suicide of his brother Mario in the US. The main actors in this drama illustrating the decomposition and rottenness of the ruling class in Mexico are the same: priista and panista politicians, bishops, narcos, big businessmen in the list of Mexico’s 100 richest. Drugs, corruption, orgies, political murders, snuff movies… The spider’s web which comes out of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana leads to Guadalajara, the DF, Hermosillo, Sonora, Quintana Roo and Yucatan (to its governor Mario Villanueva Madrid; or Fox’s holidays in the residency of banker Roberto Hernandez in the midst of the "coca peninsula". Hernandez was, at the time, owner of Banamex; the residency was then sold to Citibank, tax free, after the US embassy in the Dominican Republic leaked information about the links between Hernandez, the narcos and money laundering).

The threads at the centre of this web are those spun by supporters of (former president] Salinas (it has been said that he was chosen by Carlos Hank Gonzalez for the post of president); those who supported Barrio; those who participated in the murder of Colosio, so that there would be no change in economic policies; those who engineered the murder of Posadas so that he would not implicate them (the same reason also explains why Ruiz Massieu was murdered); and the Vatican, which appointed as its representative a mafioso with religious robes by the name of Girolamo Prigione. There are also those who gave money to "Amigos de Fox" so that he would be elected president, advised by the US. The general staff of the Fox campaign in 2000 was not located in Mexico but rather in Atlanta. Incidentally, one of the Arellano Felix brothers, of the Tijuana cartel, is a priest and lives in Rome in the Vatican.

The spinning out of this web has brought the corruption and social decomposition of the ruling class in Mexico (which led the US State Department to call the country a narco-state), to a new and higher stage: the deliberate and planned murder of poor and working women. All the actors in this drama know all about one another, since they are all part of the same web at different levels and they all cover for and protect each other. It is a game of mirrors in which they all watch each other and if anyone opens his mouth they shut him up with a bullet or a dossier. This is the reason for impunity: they are all involved to one degree or another. Otherwise it would not be possible to explain how all these state crimes since 1993, starting with the murder of cardinal Posadas all the way to the Juarez murders, are still either unsolved, or scapegoats have been found under the theory of the "lone killer". This is the case of Mario Aburto in the Colosio murder case, or the Egyptian Sharif and the Ruleteros gang in the Juarez murders. In this way they try to divert attention, destroy evidence, and to slander organisations claiming justice for the Juarez women, like the "Bring our daughters back home" organisation. The PAN remains silent and the PRI does not say anything. In this way they become accessories. They only pretend to be doing something under pressure, or when Amnesty International releases a report, or when Spanish judge Garzon says he would be prepared to investigate the Juarez murders, or when there are worldwide demonstrations on the issue. When AI released its report on the Juarez murders Chihuahua governor Patricio Martinez was in charge of publicly rubbishing the report. In 2001 he had been the victim of an attempt on his life, also blamed on a "lone killer", just to make sure he would not talk. When Garzon made his statement it was the turn of Jose Luis Soberanes, spokesperson for the government National Human Rights Committee, to rubbish his proposal.

Why is there such impunity for businessmen like the Fuentes or the Zaragoza? It is not just because of their substantial donations to the Fox campaign which we have already mentioned. To this we must add the control they have over resources of strategic importance for the country. 70 to 80% of the distribution and storage of natural gas in Mexico is under the control of the Fuentes and Zaragoza families. The government knows who they are but covers it up and does not take any steps to prosecute them. Justice under capitalism is just a commodity that can be used in negotiations. The government is not using this knowledge as political blackmail against these families, as the El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington thinks, or in any case this is not the fundamental factor. There is a clear cover up and complicity. Some of these businessmen are amongst the 100 richest men in Mexico, they are part of the real "shadow government" that takes decisions over our lives and seeks to increase the exploitation of workers. They control strategic sectors of the country’s economy, like natural gas, and on top of this they control horse and dog racing tracks, betting, gambling, all very useful businesses from the point of view of money laundering. Was the knowledge of these activities used by the US during the 2000 election to pressurise these businessmen to shift their allegiances from the PRI and donate to "Amigos de Fox"? At that time "Amigos de Fox" had its headquarters in Atlanta (Georgia) and was run by US advisors who designed the campaign that brought Fox to Los Pinos. This is a lead that should be further investigated. The aim was clear: prevent Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and the [left wing] PRD from coming to power and at the same time replace the PRI, which was no longer useful from the point of view of the ruling class, since it could no longer prevent a social explosion.

Only the action of the working class and the youth in putting an end once an for all to this criminal capitalist system and its nightmares can eliminate corruption and impunity and prevent any more working and student women from being murdered, not only in Ciudad Juarez, but also in Mexico in general, in Central America and worldwide. The trade unions, student organisations and the PRD must actively join in the struggle to put an end to the murders of women workers in Juarez. Workers democracy is the only real alternative that can guarantee justice. The struggle to find the disappeared women and to put an end to this nightmare can only advance in the direction of the overthrow of this rotten capitalist system. There is no other alternative: socialism or barbarism.