Crime & Justice

Mexico is not forgetting Narvarte mass murder

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Jul 31 (EFE).- On Sunday, it has been seven years that the so-called Narvarte case – in which five people were murdered in Mexico City, four women and photojournalist Ruben Espinosa – has been under investigation in Mexico without resolution and with the authorities presumably covering up the crime and its perpetrators.

The families of the victims are saying “The truth can’t wait” in the murders.

“We think that there’s something behind (these murders), perhaps something political. We can’t prove it but it seems very strange to us,” Patty Espinosa, Ruben’s brother, told EFE noting that progress in the case has been scanty and what progress there has been has resulted from the investigative work by the families themselves.

Although the mass murder took place on July 31, 2015, the families over the years have found new inconsistencies in the administration of the current investigation into the deaths of Espinosa, activist Nadia Vera, domestic worker Alejandra Negrete, Colombian model Mile Martin and makeup artist Yesenia Quiroz.

And on Sunday, just as every year, relatives, friends and colleagues recall the five victims and, demanding justice in assorted events, including the “Arte para no Olvidarte” (Art so as not to forget you) festival, where relatives will hold a ritual remembrance ceremony and music will be provided by Jose Leobardo, Mexican Soundsystem, Musas Sonideras and rapper Mare Advertencia Lirica, among others.

The event is being held in front of the apartment where the five were killed, on Luz Saviñon Street in the Narvarte neighborhood in south-central Mexico City.

“Year after year, a way to be with them is found, a way to build a collective memory, to demand justice and not to leave the five (victims) or their families behind. We believe that art is politics and this event is a loving protest that has become a tribute,” Erika Lozano “Kuru,” who has been part of the festival organization for the past six years, told EFE in an interview.

Like her, Itzamna Ponce, who was Espinosa’s girlfriend at the time of his death, said that when the tragedy occurred it became necessary for the families and friends to “redesignate the space” and hold various events and encounters to offer one another mutual support.

“(We had) to resignify that space of so much pain and … it’s always been the aim to fill it with life … and that’s very significant, with that joy that filled their lives and to pay tribute to them,” Itzamna said.

That unity and love shown by those who miss the victims remains, along with their demands for justice, despite – so far – the lack of resolution and the lies told by the authorities.

“After seven years it might seem that we’d get tired, but no. Every time there’s more strength, and this tireless search for truth and justice for them and for their families (goes on),” Ponce said.

This year, the festival has a clear message that “The truth can’t wait,” given that the families, after in March presenting the newly discovered elements to the case and continuing to hope that the authorities will take this new evidence into account in their own investigation, have said that they don’t want any more lies.

“The problem is that we’re presenting it and the police tell us ‘We’re going to investigate it in depth’ and that … is taking them a really long time, and it’s useless for us to provide the (evidence) if they’re just going on like before,” Patty Espinosa said at the events in memory of her brother and the others.

Mexico was shocked when the photojournalist and the four women turned up brutally murdered in Narvarte, a middle-class district of the capital.

The then-capital government arrested three people two months after the crime but never fully cleared up the case, and the new administration that came to power in Mexico City in late 2018 promised to completely resolve the matter via the revamped General Justice Prosecutor’s Office of Mexico City (FGJ-CDMX), which replaced the Prosecutor’s Office.

But, after being allowed to access 22 volumes from the investigation, along with videotapes, the families discovered on their own – as they announced in March – inconsistencies such as the participation of five suspects instead of three, a second vehicle that accompanied the perpetrators and telephone calls with the presumed intellectual authors of the crime.

In addition, they found omissions by the authorities, irregularities, gaps in the investigation, the hiding and destruction of evidence such as the victims’ clothing.

And the revictimization of the dead has not stopped.

“We were told that it happened due to drugs, but that has been completely ruled out. The (authorities) said it from the start to revictimize (the victims)… but that’s been disproven because there’s no evidence for it,” Patty Espinosa said.

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