Sending soldiers to do the job of police has led to widespread abuses
Nov 12th 2011 | MEXICO CITY
A cure worse than the disease?
ISRAEL ARZATE was walking to his home in Ciudad Juárez in February 2010 when a truck pulled up. Two men forced him into the back seat. When they got out, he says, they blindfolded him, made him strip, and applied electric shocks before suffocating him with a plastic bag. He finally broke when they told him that without his co-operation, his wife would be found “dumped and raped in an empty lot”.
Gangsters rich on drug profits have brought hell to Juárez, a dusty border city full of such grim tales. Yet Mr Arzate’s alleged torturers were not criminals but soldiers. As part of a crackdown on organised crime, Felipe Calderón, the president, has sent 50,000 troops to police the streets of Mexico. They have helped to kill or capture some of the country’s most wanted kingpins. But poorly trained and under pressure to get results, some have resorted to the same tactics as the criminals.