Medical school graduates refuse to serve in cartel-controlled cities


Juarez doctors stage protests after two of their peers were gunned down in rural communities

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Doctors in Juarez are refusing assignments to rural communities in northern Mexico where criminals have murdered two of their peers in the past two weeks.

“The situation is worrying,” said Dr. Daniel Garcia, an internist who took part in a protest last week outside the Social Security Hospital in Juarez. “We cannot wait for another martyr before acting. […] We don’t want what happened to (Massiel) or our colleague from the University of Durango to happen to us.

Doctors and medical school students carried signs reading “The Dead Can’t Hold a Consultation” and “How Much Blood Is Needed to Bring Change.” It was the third protest in the past two weeks. The latest took place Monday outside the office of the Human Rights Commission.

Juan Alberto LG (State of Chihuahua)

On July 11, a man wielding an AK-47 rifle allegedly went on a violent predawn spree in San Juanito, Chihuahua, firing shots in the air and breaking into at least two homes to sexually assault women. , Mexican media reported. One of his victims fought and he allegedly shot her. The victim was Dr. Massiel Mexia Medina, a single mother and anesthesiologist at the local hospital.

Police arrested the suspect, 19-year-old Juan Alberto LG, after receiving an anonymous tip later that day. They found the man tied to a power pole, badly beaten and with a sign next to him saying, “This happened to you for killing the doctor and raping a woman.” An AK-47 was left next to him.

The Chihuahua attorney general’s office said a judge ordered the suspect to stand trial for Mexia’s murder. Authorities did not say who captured and tied up the man.

On July 15 in the neighboring state of Durango, three vehicles carrying armed men who were allegedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol parked in front of the El Salto hospital. Dr. Eric Andrade, an intern, came out to escort patients and was caught in the crossfire when the men in the cars started fighting, Mexican media reported. He was shot in the head.

Peers said Andrade had two weeks left before completing her internship and Mexia was preparing to travel to her native Sinaloa to attend her daughter’s kindergarten graduation.

“It’s not new. It didn’t start when Massiel died,” said Dr. Pamela Morales, a graduate of the Autonomous University of Juarez who took part in the protests last week. The new professionals are asking the Department of Health to stop sending them for mandatory one-year internships in communities where drug traffickers seem to be rampant.

Women hold a portrait of Jesuit priest Javier Campos Morales as the funeral procession for Morales and fellow member Joaquin Cesar Mora Salazar arrives in Cerocahui, Mexico, Sunday, June 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

Mexican authorities and U.S. security experts say a battle has raged for at least three years between Juarez and Sinaloa cartel cells for control of marijuana growing areas and transportation corridors to the United States. United in the western mountains of Chihuahua.

Each cell is almost self-sustaining, so when one of its members goes off the rails, there’s little accountability, say drug experts like Scott Stewart of TorchStone Global. Last month, a drug trafficker in Cerocahui, Chihuahua, allegedly killed two residents and two Jesuit priests following an argument over a baseball game. The man, Jose “El Chueco” Portillo is still at large.

The organizer of the Juarez protests, Dr. Jose Antonio Garcia, said medical interns have been threatened, assaulted and sometimes kidnapped by members of organized crime gangs in rural Chihuahua since at least 2015.

Dr Jose Antonio Garcia

“Madera, Bocoyna, Guadalupe y Calvo, Guachochi, Batopilas…these are all high crime towns where we know our fellow interns have been placed in dangerous situations,” Garcia said. “We passed this on to the (health authorities) and they gave us a lecture on the importance of community service. They told us it was okay to be in danger, but we don’t want to be in danger.

He added that some of his peers who have been threatened by drug dealers or even abducted have reported such incidents to health officials. But instead of contacting the authorities, officials “tell you that you are lying, that you probably missed work because you got drunk. It’s a total lack of respect. »

Garcia said the latest list of internship destinations released this week did not include “dangerous cities.” However, he said health officials made similar adjustments for the Class of 2017 after students went on a hunger strike, to reinstate destinations in 2018.

Guillermo Asain, head of the Juarez Mesa de Seguridad Public Safety Watch Group, said he supports establishing a safety protocol to protect medical personnel in isolated communities.

“We know that rural communities are extremely (dangerous),” he said. “We can’t tell medical authorities ‘you shouldn’t send them there’, but we believe this dialogue will benefit our communities.”

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