The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

Drug War Herbicide Kills 2-year-old Girl in Mexico

From Frontera Norte-Sur News

Monday, August 7, 2000

PGR Allegedly Sprays Marijuana Field, Killing Child and Injuring 300

Aerial spraying of a marijuana field near a Rarámuri village carried out by the Federal Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) left 300 sick and injured and may have killed a two-year old girl according to the Chihuahua State Human Rights Office (Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos, CEDH).

Personnel from the Chihuahua Institute of Health (Instituto Chihuahuense de la Salud, Ichisal) and the Tarahumara State Coordinating Office (Coordinadora Estatal de la Tarahumara) went yesterday [8-4-00] to the Rarámuri community of Chorowi to take care of the injured and to perform an in-depth investigation.
The death of a minor, Armida Muela Loera, was mentioned in a report made by the inhabitants of Chorowi, according to CEDH president Oscar Francisco Yáñez.

The events occurred on July 12, 2000 but the complaint was not filed until July 31. The report states that Federal Judicial agents (Judicial Federal) and PGR air support sprayed herbicides on a field planted with marijuana.

Attempting to explain away the Rarámuri's complaint, antidrug officer Herrán Salvatti denied to the SUN news agency that his agency had undertaken an operation of this nature. "The most recent PGR campaign in the Tarahumara [region], specifically in Guachochi, was July 28. Thus it is clear that our planes were not in this zone on July 12," he said.

According to the CEDH's Yáñez, federal agents undertook a series of actions including knocking down homes and maltreating the town's population such that their human rights were violated. "In fumigating this area, the herbicides fell over the inhabitants of Chorowi, over their houses, their belongings and their animals. According to the report, this has caused them a series of injuries and problems, including skin sores and sores on their scalps, damage to their vision, airways and mucous membranes."

He added that the Rarámuri allege that they were not advised of the spraying before it took place and that no precautions were taken to guard their health.

Translated from El Diario, 8-5-00. Article by Silvia Macías Medina.

Another report on this story from the daily El Norte:

PJF Kills Girl with Herbicide and Leaves Hundreds Sickened

One dead child, hundreds sickened, houses leveled, terror and confusion: these were the results of an operation undertaken by two groups of Federal Judicial Police (Policía Judicial Federal, PJF) in the town of Chorowi, county of Guachochi, in Chihuahua state.

What was supposed to be a PGR (Procuraduría General de la República, Federal Attorney General's Office) military action against narcotrafficking ended up as an abuse of authority and an abuse of the Tarahumara whose only crime is to live far from where justice is imparted. [Editors note: an accompanying map of Chihuahua shows Chorowi to be in the far southwest of the state. The map also states that the town is a 24 hour walk from where the nearest road ends.]

In their direct testimony to the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission (Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos, CEDH), those affected by the spraying said that on July 12 two groups of PJF agents showed up in Chorowi, one group on foot, the other overhead in helicopter. According to José Luis Armendáriz, the technical secretary of the CEDH, the complaint was made by 45 fathers of Chorowi families. They stated that a group of PJF agents flew over their town and sprayed herbicide, supposedly to damage marijuana fields. What actually resulted was the death of a two-year old girl who was in grave condition for two days from breathing the poison that fell from the sky. She died on July 14. This same poison that according to the townsmen killed the girl, caused the chemical intoxication of hundreds of other people and killed livestock like chickens and pigs. Furthermore, the group of PGR agents that arrived by foot into the village are accused of leveling homes, and causing panic and terror.

Article by Edgar Prado Calahorra. Translated from El Norte, 8-5-00 by Greg Bloom, Frontera NorteSur editor.

Narco News Background Information: The Tarahumara are among the poorest indigenous ethnic groups in Mexico. They are allied with the Indigenous National Congress and with the Zapatistas. The Mexican government continually harrasses them and accuses them of marijuana trafficking. But there is no evidence of narcotics activity by this ethnic group, nor any sign of the kind of wealth -- most don't even drive cars -- that comes with the drug trade.

While Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox tells the world he is going to take the military out of the drug trade it is important to note that this herbicide spraying came from civilian officials -- the attorney general's office -- and that a change in agencies doesn't solve the root problem: US-imposed drug prohibition.

As 300 people were injured and a child killed by this herbicide spraying, Vicente Fox's "anti-drug" advisors Francisco Molina Ruiz and José Luis Reyes were in Washington DC -- from where the orders come to execute the policies that killed this child.

According to Proceso magazine, they met with Attorney General Janet Reno, Assistant AG Erick Holder, Subsecretary of Treasury James Johnson, Assistant DEA chief Julio Mercado, Assistant FBI chief David Alba, Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly, State Department spook Randy Beers, State Department Mexico attaché Lino Gutiérrez and Assistant DEA chief Richard Phiano.

Who are the criminals here?