Tuesday 5 February 2013

After six Spanish women raped in Acapulco, mayor says such incidents "happen everywhere"

Playa Encantada -  not the Diamond Zone

After news broke that six Spanish tourists had been raped in a beach bungalow near the Mexican resort of Acapulco early Monday morning, the city’s mayor, Luis Walton, said that such incidents "happen everywhere”.

The response has caused a storm of protest, and forced the mayor to backpedal. It has also caused many in Mexico to wonder if the victims had all been Mexican if there would have been the same – if any – response.

The attack occurred after armed masked men entered a building on Playa Encantada where the women were sleeping. The intruders tied up several men and a Mexican woman with phone cables and bikini straps, and then attacked the Spaniards.

After the attack the women went to the nearest police station accompanied by local tourism officials. Police quickly sealed off the scene and began a manhunt which, so far, has resulted in no arrests. Military checkpoints have since been set up in an effort to catch them.

The mayor has theorized that the attacks may have been carried out by five common delinquents active in the Barra Vieja V Bonfil area, which is near the airport and just south of Acapulco’s Diamond Zone.

After staging a symbolic work stoppage to stress the need for state and federal assistance to bailout the city’s finances, Walton stayed on message by trying to shift the responsibility for the city’s security to higher levels of government.

The mayor said that he was meeting with Joint Operation Safe Guerrero (Operación Conjunta Guerrero Seguro, or “OGS”) to look into improved surveillance efforts in the Barra Vieja V Bonfil area. He acknowledged what has been known for months: the OGS has been a dismal failure, with Acapulco plagued with daily murders linked to the drug trade.

Entering into damage control mode, Walton said that he had contacted both the Spanish Embassy in Mexico and the Consul in Acapulco. Despite shifting some of the discussion to state and federal authorities, he did assume personal responsibility should the Spanish government warn its nationals of security issues in Acapulco.

One oddity of the assaults is that the criminals seem to have been aware that their victims were Spanish, and may in fact have spared the Mexican woman due to her nationality.

This is not the first attack on Spaniards in Mexico this year. In January, two Spanish men were kidnapped in Morelia, Michoacan.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For related stories from Acapulco see:

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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