Michelle Bachelet, UN human rights chief, stated on Tuesday that the gangland violence currently plaguing Mexico resembles that of the era of military dictatorship in her native Chile.
Bachelet, who used to be a Chilean president, scheduled a five-day visit to Mexico to meet with government officials along with violence victims. In a news conference, she talked of the dreadful stories of the families of victims, reminiscing of her darkest days under the dictatorial rule of Augusto Pinochet during the 70s and 80s.
According to Bachelet, hearing the words of those victims and their families felt like she was returning to her own history. The dictatorship which plagued Chile from 1973 to 1990 saw the death and disappearance of around 3,000 people along with the torture of more than 28,000 citizens, including Bachelet and her father who used to be an air force general.
Mexico experienced an increase in homicide cases by up to 30% just last year, according to data revealed by the government. Bachelet also revealed other “horrible figures” which include more than 26,000 unidentified bodies and 850 mass graves.
While the Mexican government was able to take down cartel bosses, such action only caused gangs to scatter, thereby resulting to even more killings.
According to Bachelet, the violence in Mexico comes with some unique characteristics, further implying that the country itself has laws that are poorly implemented. She pointed out that there is no lack of laws, rather they are not implemented properly.
When asked about Venezuela, Bachelet said that her office is currently keeping tabs on the human rights violation cases in the country. Just last month, she reported about Venezuelan security forces’ excessive use of force. She mentioned that she’d be scheduling a visit to Venezuela “relatively soon”, though she also pointed out guarding her office’s neutrality.