Outraged Family Member of 9 Americans Slain in Mexico: Like Living in ‘Afghanistan’
Grieving relatives railed this week against the Mexican government’s failure to take action in light of a suspected cartel ambush that claimed the lives of nine American citizens Monday.
Three adult women and six children — all members of prominent family of dual Mexican-American citizens living in a local Mormon community — were killed.
Now, as the dead are being laid to rest, outraged family members are calling on Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to reconsider his denial of U.S. support in combating an overwhelming surge in cartel violence.
“I really believe that the cartels in Mexico have moved to another level of barbarity,” 65-year-old relative Rosa LeBarón told Reuters. “They are as bad or worse than [the Islamic State group]. ISIS have an ideology. These [hitmen], why are they doing it? Out of greed and pure evil.”
“This is so beyond comprehension, we’re living like we’re in Afghanistan, 100 miles from the U.S. border,” LeBarón said.
“They have to wipe these bad men out of Mexico just like the coalition that goes into Syria and these places.”
Members of the Lebaron family mourn while they watch the burned car where part of the nine murdered members of the family were killed and burned during an gunmen ambush on Bavispe, Sonora mountains, Mexico. 📸 @HerikaMartinez7 pic.twitter.com/6BQJ1nnF3c
— AFPMexico (@AFPMexico) November 6, 2019
According to Reuters, a violent crime wave has gripped Mexico over the past decade, claiming the lives of more than 250,000 people since 2007. Many of the dead were victims of cartel- and drug-related murders.
President Donald Trump was quick to offer U.S. support for any Mexican governmental effort to stem the rising tide following Monday’s massacre, arguing it is time to “wage WAR” and wipe the cartels “off the face of the earth.”
But López Obrador said Tuesday his government would respond with “hugs not bullets” and carry on with a policy of non-violent resolution to the cartel problem by way of education reform and a war on poverty.
“This is no longer about force, confrontation, annihilation, extermination or killing in the heat of the moment,” the Mexican president said at a news conference. “This is about thinking how to save lives and achieve peace and tranquility in the country using other methods.”
But the LeBarón family has seen how the Mexican government’s longstanding policy with regard to the cartels plays out in practice.
The LeBaróns, who have resided in a tight-knot community in Sonora since the early 1940s, have on several occasions had prior run-ins with the cartels that maintain de facto control over the region.
In 2009, two other family members, Benjamin LeBarón and Luis Widmar, were kidnapped and murdered by the cartel.
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Now, members of the LeBarón family say their community requires help from a government that will keep its promises.
In fact, relative and local activist Julian LeBarón said the family would take help from anyone at this point.
“If the United States or Canada offers to help us, or if extraterrestrials offer to help us, of course we’re going to accept it,” LeBarón told a local news outlet earlier this week, according to Reuters.
“The [Mexican] institutions are corrupt, they’re rotten to the core.”
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