by Julián Aguilar
Even in a city where residents are used to feigning ignorance about the region’s drug wars to avoid threats, violence or death, the silence here the week that a former mayor was confirmed dead was deafening.
A forensics team in Monterrey, Nuevo León, said on Tuesday that it identified the body of Benjamín Galván Gómez, according to a statement issued by the Tamaulipas attorney general’s office. Galván, who was mayor from 2011 to 2013, disappeared while en route from Nuevo Laredo to Laredo in late February. He and businessman Miguel Angel Ortiz, an associate of Galván’s, were allegedly kidnapped. Their bodies were found on a highway on the outskirts of Monterrey.
The Tamaulipas attorney general’s statement said that the state government “condemns this act and deeply regrets the deaths” of Galván and Ortiz, adding the state would offer its support to the families of the victims and see the investigation to its conclusion. No cause of death was given.
Gauging reaction to Galván’s death from the city’s residents is not easy. “I don’t have anything to say about that. I don’t know anything,” said a snack vendor peddling goods at the city’s market.
“Sorry, but we don’t have anything to say. Not about that, anyway,” added an employee at a nearby patio bar. “You know how it goes. It’s the subject matter.”
Even those who would address the news, on condition of anonymity, said nothing should be assumed to be true. It’s yet another signal that for residents, ensuring safety and survival takes precedent over publicly sharing information and opinions.
The reports about Galván’s death could just be rumors, said a woman crossing the country’s pedestrian bridge back into Mexico from downtown Laredo. “Lots of things happen, but no one pays attention anyway,” she said. “There’s no authority here, so who knows what’s true?” Continue reading here.