The shocking lynching of a Mexican targeted by angry mob through WhatsApp rumors

The shocking lynching of a Mexican targeted by angry mob through WhatsApp rumors

BBC

BBC General

Posted on 06/15/2022 2:12 PM / updated on 06/15/2022 2:13 PM

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As he had done several times before, Daniel Picazo González left his home in Mexico City to visit the estate his grandfather inherited in a small town in the state of Puebla.

The house is located in the town of Las Colonias de Hidalgo, about three hours from the Mexican capital, and as a 31yearold man who loved to travel, he enjoyed his days off in this community in the Sierra Norte mountains. . .

This happened on June 9th. Picazo González told his parents, Ricardo Picazo and Angélica González, that he had arrived safely.


The next message they got from their son was that something terrible had happened to him.

That Friday evening, Picazo González was arrested, beaten and lynched to death by about 200 residents of the town of Papatlazolco, the neighboring town of Las Colonias de Hidalgo.

A rumor spread days earlier by Papatlazolco’s WhatsApp and Facebook groups claimed that outsiders were kidnapping children to trade their organs. And the 31yearold was a victim of a mob’s public trial, according to preliminary investigations by the authorities.

False information of this nature has already been used to instill fear in communities willing to believe it and taken to extremes, as happened in this community in Puebla.

What happened?

Picazo González was a lawyer and worked as an adviser to a federal congressman until last March.


Daniel PicazoDaniel Picazo Daniel Picazo worked for Deputy Joanna Felipe Torres

He had just finished his master’s degree and on June 9 tried to “escape” the stresses of the city by visiting his home in Las Colonias de Hidalgo, according to his father.

But the climate in this region was not the same as before.

Two days earlier, news began circulating in chat rooms and social media groups that outsiders were kidnapping children.

There were even images with logos of institutions that no longer exist as such (for example the PGR, which is now the Fiscalía General de la República). These photos allegedly indicated that criminals were being searched for.

“This information has been circulating for a number of years. The same photos were circulated not only here but in other parts of Mexico across the country,” Huauchinangobased journalist Pablo Torres tells BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanishlanguage news service , municipality where Papatlazolco is located.


One of the images circulating in the communityBBC One of the images released was this one, which does not correspond to any warning from the authorities and has already been used without support in the past.

That Friday night around 9 p.m., a local resident spotted a truck with outofstate license plates and alerted the community via WhatsApp that “there are already foreigners and they’ve probably been talking about them for two days,” he told journalist Torres.

“They labeled the young man as an alleged child kidnapper without anyone verifying anything,” he added.

About 30 residents initially gathered, according to Huauchinango Mayor Rogelio López.

“The police received a call and immediately rushed to help, but then more than 200 people came. There were six police officers for just over 200 people,” said López.

Images posted on social media show Picazo González being violently led through the streets of Papatlazolco with handcuffs and marks of beatings.

“An Act of Barbarism”

What happened before the death of the young man “intelligent and hardworking”, as his father puts it, was not clear to the authorities.

The mayor claims police “rescued” him until “more than 200 people” arrived to attack the agents.

“And unfortunately they couldn’t help it.”

Picazo González’s mother told the Mexican press that a man who witnessed the incident tried to help him by revealing his identity and origins.

“The boy said my son told him, ‘Help me, help me!’ They tied him up, handcuffed him and left him on his knees,” Angélica González told Milenio TV.

“Almost dying, he said: ‘Take my wallet, it’s in my pants’. And the witness saw that he had his ID card from the Chamber of Deputies. (…) He wanted to defend my son, but the residents wouldn’t stop State and city police, but they also framed him.

Picazo González’s body was found charred, having allegedly been doused in petrol and set on fire while he was still alive.

Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa said an investigation into the case had already been launched.

“It’s a barbaric act, a total aberration where there is prejudice, ignorance, rumors and an environment where you don’t believe in authority,” Barbosa lamented.


Daniel PicazoDaniel Picazo Daniel Picazo loved to travel

However, the family says they have not yet received any new information. Authorities did not say as of Tuesday if there had been any arrests or any progress.

“The only witness came to us, brave, explained everything that had happened. But we didn’t see the people who were responsible for clarifying these questions and answering our questions,” complains Angélica González.

A phenomenon of Puebla and the country

The government of Puebla has registered 11 cases of attempted lynching, in which the authorities managed to save 15 people, government secretary Ana Lucía Hill said on Monday (13 June).

“Personnel training was carried out in 144 municipalities [de 217 no total]which has significantly reduced these cases and is now reporting on people being held back,” he explained.

But the local press reported several other deaths and according to the Ignacio Ellacuría Human Rights Institute there were 600 cases between 2015 and 2019 and 78 people were killed in the state.

Previously, in a 2019 report, the National Human Rights Commission counted 336 lynchings between 2015 and 2018, with 561 victims.


A burning vehicle in Puebla in 2018In 2018, two men were lynched in Puebla who were also accused of “kidnapping children”.

Huauchinangobased journalist Pablo Torres explains that this is not common in Papatlazolco, an indigenous community of around 2,600 people.

“I know these communities and have traveled through them. These populations are not characterized by this recurring behavior. I think it was an event caused by people’s misinformation and euphoria. But these populations are not marked by enduring violence,” he says.

“They already have potential for development, but there is a certain delay. They are people who mostly lack a good education, which in most cases leads to ignorance.”

Meanwhile, Picazo González’s family awaits justice.

His sister wrote the following text on Facebook:

“I chose my favorite photo to say goodbye to you. Discovering how they took your life makes me the most disgusted by the people who have done this unfairly, not knowing that you were a professional, unable to harm anyone, lover of travel and life, with a bright future, fly so high, my Dany.”

“I trust that God will do justice to all those people who have clipped their wings… just because they were in the wrong time and place. You have enjoyed your short life as you enjoyed it best, rest in peace …”.


Daniel Picazo on the wayDaniel Picazo

This text was originally published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral61811741


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The shocking lynching of a Mexican targeted by angry mob.br]

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