Mexico: 44 Kidnapped Guatemalans Rescued Near Massacre Location

By Dialogo
February 10, 2011

Three kidnapped Mexicans and forty-four kidnapped Guatemalans being held in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas (in northeastern Mexico), near where seventy-two immigrants were massacred last year, were freed on 7 February, an official from the Secretariat of Defense told AFP.

“We were carrying out a reconnaissance operation (…) when we observed the occupants of two vehicles acting suspiciously, and upon investigating, we managed to locate the people who were kidnapped,” explained the Defense Secretariat official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The operation took place in Reynosa, on the border with the United States and located 147 km from San Fernando, a Tamaulipas community where seventy-two undocumented migrants were murdered at the end of August, allegedly by the Los Zetas cartel.

One of the survivors of the massacre told the Mexican authorities that the drug traffickers kidnapped them when they were on their way to the United States, and when they failed to obtain ransom money, they tried to force them to join the cartel. When they refused, they were shot, and some also suffered torture.

The state of Tamaulipas has been severely affected by conflicts among drug traffickers, who are expanding their sources of financing through kidnapping and extortion, among other crimes, according to the authorities.

There has been a resurgence of violence in Tamaulipas since 2009, when the Gulf Cartel split from its armed wing, Los Zetas.