Dozens of people held a demonstration in this violence-plagued Mexican border city to demand justice for slain rights activist Marisela Escobedo.
On the one-year anniversary of her death, the protesters on Friday walked a route that Escobedo had covered while seeking justice for the August 2008 murder of her 16-year-old daughter.
Coinciding with the march, the Attorney General’s Office in Chihuahua state, whose largest city is Ciudad Juarez, revealed the identity of the main suspect in the slaying of Escobedo but said the man had been killed in September.
Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the state AG’s office, said Friday the evidence shows that Hector Miguel Flores Moran killed Escobedo on Dec. 16, 2010, and that the same murder weapon was also used to kill a dozen other people in Chihuahua city between April and August of this year.
But Escobedo’s son, Juan Manuel Frayre, who is living in exile in El Paso, Texas, said at a press conference Friday that the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office “conveniently lies” and that Flores Moran is a scapegoat.
“The only witness they have says that wasn’t the man. Let’s not forget that we have a corrupt government that is capable of fabricating guilty parties,” Frayre told reporters during a demonstration outside the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.
Frayre said he received a death threat a few weeks ago while shopping in El Paso and was told to remain silent regarding his mother’s case, adding that the FBI is investigating the incident.
Escobedo died of a gunshot to the head while picketing the governor’s palace in Chihuahua city to demand justice for her daughter, Rubi Frayre Escobedo. The teenager’s boyfriend, Sergio Barraza Bocanegra, had been convicted of the crime in absentia in May 2010 but he had already gone into hiding and remains at large.
The 52-year-old woman staged the protest on that fateful day after learning that Barraza Bocanegra had moved to Zacatecas state and joined Los Zetas, known as the most ruthless of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, following his acquittal in his first trial in April 2010 due to lack of evidence.
Prior to her death, Escobedo had staged numerous marches and other protests in Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, and in Chihuahua city, to demand justice in the case of her murdered daughter and other crimes against women in Juarez dating back to 1993.
More than 500 women have been killed in Ciudad Juarez since that year, according to the National Human Rights Commission, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.
Most of the victims were young women from poor families who worked in the assembly plants, known as “maquiladoras,” that sprung up around the city to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many were sexually assaulted before they died.
Ciudad Juarez also is a coveted drug-smuggling corridor that is being fought over by the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels with the backing of hit men from local street gangs.
The northern state of Chihuahua has accounted for about 30 percent of the nearly 50,000 murders committed in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the country’s drug cartels