The call comes at six a.m. from a fellow photographer at the paper, Gabriel Huge, a man who survived a bad accident and rides a scooter to crime scenes and walks with a cane. He is also a man who does not back down: Miguel has photographs of a swarm of federal police in flak jackets surrounding him for taking pictures without their permission. In the images, his face looks fierce and empty of fear.

Gabriel says, "You need to come to the house. Something has happened."

When he arrives, the city police have taped off the residence.

A crime scene in Veracruz.
Miguel Angel Lopez Solana
A crime scene in Veracruz.

Details

Related content: "Mexico's Magical Homicides"

Gabriel says, "They have killed your father, mother and brother."

Miguel walks up the stairs to the second floor. His mother is outside the door of the bedroom, face down in a pool of blood. His father is propped in a sitting position on the bed, his face destroyed by bullets. Down the hall, his brother Misael, known as el gordo in the family because of his weight, is face down in blood. He is wearing yellow shorts his mother had made for him because it was hard to find clothes in his size. He has three rounds in the back of his neck and head. Miguel thinks of all the times he has come here early in the morning or late at night and tiptoed down the hall lest he wake anyone. He goes back into his parents' room, sits down in front of their bodies and says goodbye. He is weeping now.

The police ask, "Is there any electronic surveillance or closed-circuit TV at this house?"

He says, "No."

Miguel knows what the question means: If there is a security camera, they want to know so they can destroy the evidence.

He helps carry out the bodies. First, his mother wrapped in sheets. Then his father — he remembers thinking as he carries him of reproaching him for not having any security measures in the house. And, finally, his brother, el gordo, the fat one, his brother wrapped in an old red bedspread. It is very hard to get him down the stairs. Miguel breaks down sobbing. He asks himself, "What happened here?" His family has just been annihilated by 35 gunshots fired at close range. While the state police are still at the house, they tell him they will send a special team of bodyguards.

No one asks him for a statement.


At the funeral home, Miguel makes arrangements. A reporter from La Jornada, a major left-of-center Mexico City daily that both he and his father had done work for, tells him he must get out of Veracruz if he wants to live. He remains at the funeral home all day, and just before dawn, makes a quick trip to his parents' house with Vanessa, then his fiancée, to get some clothes. The bodyguards ride with them. On the way back to the funeral home, a taxi follows them for fifteen blocks. The guard draws his gun, tells Miguel to speed through a red light at a roundabout, and they manage to lose the tail. They get back to the funeral home, and it is under 24-hour guard by Mexican Navy troops wearing ski masks and Veracruz state police. At the funeral, he writes down later, "A neighbor told me that he had seen three trucks and two people who had gone into my parents' house. Another neighbor told me she had heard shots and that for about a week before, she had seen a group of people on motorcycles who seemed to be watching.... She had heard them talking on their radios, saying, "We are already here guarding the spot."

None of these neighbors give statements to the police.

Officials are at the graveside, the caskets lowered into the sand that is Veracruz. Navy vehicles escort the cortege. State dignitaries promise an investigation, justice and punishment. The ceremony is surrounded by soldiers. This does not make Miguel feel safe.

The day after the funeral, the security detail escorts him and Vanessa to the airport and they flee the city where his father is famous, where he has spent his entire life. Miguel ponders the military precision he saw at the crime scene and the neighbors' whispered accounts of the killings.

He remembers opening the door to his brother's room that morning and wanting to say, "Wake up! Wake up!"


Miguel goes to the Mexico City headquarters of La Jornada. The editors give him a desk job because they do not think it is safe for him to be out on the street. Simply leaving Veracruz cannot protect him.

Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, Milo Vela's reporting partner, is found at four a.m. July 26. For the past month, she had been investigating Milo Vela's murder and had gone missing two days before. The body is dumped outside another Veracruz newspaper, Imagen, the head cut off. A message left with the corpse advises, "Friends can also betray you." The attorney general of Veracruz announces that this "unusual assassination was due to the fact that the woman and single mother maintained links with criminal gangs." He asserts her murder has nothing to do with her work as a journalist.

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8 comments
scottidee
scottidee

seriously Charles ? seriously  Molly ?  

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

     What kind of deranged, sicko would blame the deaths at the hands of criminals on the USA.   The war on drugs not withstanding the law is the law and murder is murder.   These crimes are committed not for the cause of freedom but for $$$.  The perpetrators are thugs who prefer to take from the law abiding people than being productive members of society.

     What the author has done is akin to blaming the government for an accident caused by someone running a stop sign.  After all the government placed the sign.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

 @Anthonyvop1 

 

The CIA's role in the international drug trade, dating back to 1949, is not a theory but a well-documented "fact." The sources include former CIA and DEA agents.

 

"CIA are drug smugglers." - Federal Judge Bonner, while head of the DEA

 

In 1989, 'The Kerry Committee' found that the United States Department of State had made payments to drug traffickers, concluding that members of the U.S. State Department themselves were involved in drug trafficking. Some of the payments were made even after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies, or even while these traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.

 

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY:

 

* Shortly after World War II, The OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) formed a strategic alliance with the Sicilian and Corsican mafia. 

 

* During the 1950s, In order to provide covert funds for forces loyal to General Chiang Kai-Shek who were fighting the Chinese communists under Mao Zedong, the CIA helped the Kuomintang (KMT) smuggle opium from China and Burma to Thailand, by providing airplanes owned by one of their front businesses, Air America.

 

* During the long years of the cold war, the CIA mounted major covert guerilla operations along the Soviet-Chinese border. In 1950, for their operation against communist China in northeastern Burma, and from 1965 to 1975 [during the Vietnam war], for their operation in northern Laos, the CIA recruited (as allies) people we now call drug lords. 

 

* Throughout the 1980s, in Afghanistan, the CIA's supported the Mujahedin rebels (in their efforts against the pro-Soviet government) by facilitating their opium smuggling operations. - A small local trade in opium was turned into a major source of supply for the world markets including the United States. This lead ultimately to Afghanistan becoming the largest supplier of illicit opium on the planet, a status only briefly interrupted when it was under Taliban control.  

 

* Also during the 1980s, the Reagan Administration funded a guerrilla force known as the Nicaraguan Contras (even after such funding was outlawed by Congress) by cocaine smuggling operations. - An August 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News (by Pulitzer Prize-winner Gary Webb) clearly linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the CIA and the Contras.

 

* In November 1996, a Miami grand jury indicted former Venezuelan anti-narcotics chief and longtime CIA asset, General Ramon Guillen Davila, who was smuggling many tons of cocaine into the United States from a CIA owned Venezuelan warehouse. In his trial defense, Guillen claimed that all of his drug smuggling operations were approved by the CIA.

 

* The Dirección Federal de Seguridad was a Mexican intelligence agency created in 1947, and was in part a CIA creation. DFS badges were handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers and were a virtual license to traffic.' "The Guadalajara Cartel" (Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s) prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nazar Haro, a CIA asset.

 

For far more detailed information kindly google any of the following: 

 

"The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic" by former DEA agent Michael Levine

"Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb

"Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press" by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair

"The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade" by Alfred W. McCoy

"The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Governments Embrace" by James Mills

"Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA" by Terry Reed, (a former Air Force Intelligence operative) and John Cummings (a former prize-winning investigative reporter at N.Y Newsday). 

 

StanTheMan
StanTheMan

 @Anthonyvop1 "What kind of deranged, sicko would blame the deaths at the hands of criminals on the USA."

Knowing the truth hardly makes someone a 'deranged sicko'!  These criminals were created by- and are financed by our horrible misguided laws.  None of this would be going on without the US or its prohibition.  The only 'deranged sickos' are those who support the Drug War and want this disgusting carnage to continue forever.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

 @StanTheMan Always blame the victim.  Are you part of the PR wing of the Democratic Party.

 

Sure.  The murders and rapes are not the fault of the criminals.  We forced them to be bad. 

drdlrmd
drdlrmd

 @Anthonyvop1 Gosh, i typed conspiracy theory in google and none of these were in the top thirty.  And i'm not paranoid, they really are out to get me.

StanTheMan
StanTheMan

 @Anthonyvop1 "Always blame the victim."

Huh?  Who is doing that?  The blame lies both on the perpetrators AND the cause.

 

"Are you part of the PR wing of the Democratic Party."

That is laughable.  The Democrats are equally to blame for the Drug War.  The Liar in Chief has ramped it up, especially against medical marijuana to levels never before seen.  You should note that the only candidates in the upcoming presidential election who support ending the Drug War are Republicans and Independents.

 

"The murders and rapes are not the fault of the criminals."

Of course they are, but our laws which created them, fund them and give them the only reason that they do it are also to blame.  What rapes?

 

"We forced them to be bad."

We didn't force them.  We give them the reason to do it.  Without that reason, they would not.  You and your ilk are giving them the incentive and you want to continue to do so for some reason.  Why?

 
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