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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm EST

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china welcomed in in 2015. celebrations were captured on a sea of mobile phones. >> reminder you can always catch up with the latest news and sports. the address is www.aljazeera.com. >> we're in the mexican state of veracruz, one of the most violent areas in the country. this is el diamante ranch - it is here where the remains of 31 people were found a month ago. the bodies were dumped in a mass grave just below this house. those who were killed are believed to have been held here after they were kidnapped. only a few of the bodies have been identified.
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kidnappings have increased dramatically in mexico over the past few years - thousands taken and never seen again. chili's, clothing, candles... more than 22,000 people have disappeared- since the mexican government launched it's war against cartels in 2996 their families left in limbo wondering if the're dead or alive fault lines is here to investigate one of the worst crises of disappearances in latin america and to meet the families searching for answers - and a justice that never seems to arrive.
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a sign with details of sara cruz's son - jose rodolfo - hangs in front of her house - in case anyone can help her find him. the last time she saw him, it was a tuesday evening. she had just gotten home from work and he asked her if she would take him to a local motorcycle show. jose spent afternoons working in his uncle's mechanical shop in the front of the house
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they rode to the show on jose rodolfo's bike it was here in this small plaza - just a short ride from their house in the town of tierra blanca. when sara went to the police they told her she needed to wait 3 days to file a report. so she started searching
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herself- something as simple as looking on facebook for that, not authorities all her money now goes to searching for jose - traveling to different places around veracruz - to meet prosecutors searching for possible leads - or worse to see if bodies discovered in mass graves...might be him. it's left sara a single mother, almost in debt.
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states like veracruz - where sara lives - are key areas of control for criminal groups - it's an important transit point both for central american migrants heading to the united states - and for trafficking drugs. kidnappings are a source of income for cartels serving as a way to extort civilians - but also to force people to work for them jose rodolfo is now one of the thousands that have gone missing in recent years, as the mexican government struggles to battle cartels
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families of the disappeared across mexico have organized networks to support each other and try and help advance each other's cases.
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>> with so few investigations here one of the most important questions - why was this person taken - is rarely, if ever answered. >> why do you think there are so few investigations around disappearances here in mexico?
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>> watch more "faultlines" on demand or visit aljazeera.com/faultlines.
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much of the mexican government's attempts to combat cartels has been through its security forces... ...since 2006, when then-president felipe calderon launched the government's fight against the country's criminal organizations
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- federal security forces were deployed by the thousands onto mexico's streets. but violence has only gone up since then. and under the current president, enrique pena nieto kidnappings have reached record levels in some regions. like the state of tamaulipas just across the us border with texas... we've come to the town of nuevo laredo. this is the headquarters of one of mexico's most violent cartels - the zetas ... we've come to meet raymundo ramos he runs one of the few human rights groups remaining in tamaulipas.
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in most of the cases of disappearances that have been brought to raymundo, families believe it's not cartels that are responsible... ...but the government's own security forces. oralia last saw her husband here in their home - it was around 1am and they were sleeping.
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the marines told oralia and her husband they were misinformed and left. but a few minutes later, they came back. when she went outside, neighbors told her that they'd seen the marines put her husband in their car and drive off. she got in her car and followed the convoy and finally she arrived here a motel in downtown nuevo laredo this is footage shot by local journalists that night - oralia can be seen with her children as well as relatives and friends of other men that had been detained during the same operation. masked men in uniforms that say ├┤marina' - navy, in spanish -
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stand watch outside oralia's son told her that he saw his father in the window - but then the curtain was drawn. in the aftermath the navy would change their story about the events of that night numerous times - first saying they had no contact with the men. later, they would say they had questioned them - and found the men were innocent- and that they dropped them off in a different town nearly 2 hours away. jose and the other men detained that night were never seen or heard from again. the marines have never explained why they left them in a different town.
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>> what is the objective by the navy or by authorities to disappear people? what is the logic behind it?
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the allegations of disappearances by security forces have continued into pena nieto's administration. and not just in tamaulipas but around the country. we were told that there are people who have been released after being held by security forces - but that they rarely speak about the experience...out of fear. but we finally found someone willing to tell us their story. so we had to change cars twice to be able to get here. so we gonna go and talk to this woman who was detained allegedly by the police and taken to a detention center that was run by the police. so this is very important - because it shows in a way. the complicity that exists between security forces and criminal organizations. and how difficult the corruption situation here in this country.
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she agreed to speak with us if we protected her identity. two months before we met her she was with her son in the car, driving home after work when they were stopped by armed men and thrown into a van. she says she and her son were beaten repeatedly and moved to different locations through the night and into the day - until their family realized what happened and was able to have them released.
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just a few days before this interview, her son was gunned down on the street. they still don't know who killed him - or why
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pena nieto came into power promising a shift from the past administration calderon, but the corruption that plagued the previous government seems to have carried over to the current administration >> what worries me the most is that you have a complete vacuum of state institutions that are supposed to investigate to prosecute to prevent such level of forced disappearances like is happening in mexico. >> the issue of disappearances is handled by the attorney general's office
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in mexico city as well as the interior minister... ...who under pena nieto has assumed more responsibility - and power. miguel osorio chong is one of pena nieto's closest advisors. we wanted to ask the minister about the cases of disappearances we found during our time in mexico - especially those allegedly involving government security forces.
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a month later, the mexican government would release their latest figures saying that nearly 10,000 people disappeared in the first year and a half of pena nieto's administration alone. >> calderon threw, more gasoline into the fire and now we have a disaster - because in the end despite all this window dressing and pr, the administration of pena nieto is engaged with the same strategy as calderon. a perfect storm is taking place
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where the cost of kidnapping a human being and killing that human being is almost zero. >> watch more "faultlines" on demand or visit aljazeera.com/faultlines. >> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america
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as the number of disappearances rises, hope of finding loved ones - has often turned to a fear of finding only their remains. but identification of remains found in mass graves across mexico has been rare - and has often left families with more questions than answers. we're in t monterrey - and we're heading with a group of forensic experts and with the relatives of a young girl who went missing in 2011. they will exhume the remains of who the state says is their daughter - but they don't believe them. this is the first time an independent forensic test is
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being carried out to verify the state's work in a disappearance. franco mora, a peruvian forensic expert is leading the inquiry. he was asked by juana solis to exhume the remains that the state gave her almost two years ago, when they found the body along with others in a mass grave. officials told her the remains were that of her daughter - brenda damaris. she was 25 when she went missing. juana says she became suspicious after officials suggested that she cremate the bones immediately. the remains lie in a grave marked by a cross with no name.
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the results won't be known for months. the remains will be compared to dna samples from the family.
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but resolving these cases through mexico's justice system is rare. and human rights activists we spoke to believe change can only come from outside pressure. >> international pressure is very hard to obtain in a country like mexico that is having an open arms policy towards the most powerful private sector oligopolies in the world. from europe, the us canada mining companies oil companies - so you don't see that international pressure. the most powerful enterprises in the world are doing great in mexico. so there is a conflict of interest there is an international complicity that explains why mexico is not moving forward. >> the road that leads from monterrey to juana's home is lined with factories and companies that have made this area one of mexico's main
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economic centers... the last time the family heard from damaris she had been driving on this road - and called to say she had been in a small car accident - and then a policeman told her to turn off her cell phone here it says i'm still alive - find me... according to juana the last people that saw damaris were the transit police - another reason why she questions the official investigation - and the remains that were given to her. just like in all the other cases we found and the families we met in mexico, no one has been prosecuted for damaris's disappearance. until the results of franco's
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test come back they say they'll continue to wait for her to return.
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