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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Acapulco Rape Terror: Mexican Spared By Gunmen Because of Her Nationality

    Acapulco Rape Terror: Mexican Spared By Gunmen Because of Her Nationality

    Published February 07, 2013
    Fox News Latino

    • Police investigators work to obtain fingerprints on a door at the home where masked, armed men broke in, in Acapulco, Mexico, Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013. According to the mayor of Acapulco, five masked men burst into this house that Spanish tourists had rented on the outskirts of Acapulco, in a low-key area near the beach, and held a group of six Spanish men and one Mexican woman at gunpoint, while they raped the six Spanish women before dawn on Monday. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) (AP2013)

    ACAPULCO, Mexico – Masked gunmen burst into a Mexican resort in Acapulco, tied up six men and raped six Spanish tourists, but spared the lone Mexican woman in the group because of her nationality, according to new terrifying details of a crime that has further hurt the resort's already battered reputation.

    It was unclear whether the group of 12 Spaniards who fell prey to the attack had been targeted because of their nationality in the three-hour ordeal. The tourists had rented a house on a tranquil beach dotted with restaurants, small hotels and rental homes. Most of the six men and six women were from Spain but lived in Mexico City and were vacationing in Acapulco, The Associated Press reported.

    She says she identified herself to the (attackers) and asked not to be raped, and they told her that she had passed the test by being Mexican and they didn't touch her.
    - Guerrero state Attorney General Martha Garzon

    The five attackers broke into the beach bungalow and held the group at gunpoint, said Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton. They tied up the six men with phone cords and bathing suit straps and then raped the six Spanish women.

    Walton said the Spaniards had been "escorted," apparently under police protection, out of Acapulco on Tuesday.

    Guerrero state Attorney General Martha Garzon told local media that the attackers' motive was "robbery, and to have fun," and they drank mezcal they found at the house after committing the rapes. The lone Mexican woman, who's married to one of the Spaniards, "was saved by the fact that she is Mexican."

    "She says she identified herself to the (attackers) and asked not to be raped, and they told her that she had passed the test by being Mexican and they didn't touch her," Garzon told Radio Formula. While some Mexicans harbor resentment against Spaniards dating to colonial times, the Spaniards may have been targeted for other reasons, like their appearance or possessions.

    Authorities and residents of Acapulco struggled to come to terms with the attack and its near-certain effect on the area's tourism industry, amid concerns that such violence could affect the draw of other, safer Mexican resorts.

    Walton rushed to apologize Wednesday for his comment from Monday that "this happens everywhere in the world, not just in Acapulco or in Mexico."

    "I apologize for having said that," he said Wednesday. "Of course this worries us and we don't want anything like this to happen in Acapulco or anywhere else in the world."

    He added, "We know this is going to affect our tourism."

    It's not clear how much interest there was in Acapulco among international tourists even before the Monday attacks, despite a major effort announced last year by business magnate Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, to rescue Acapulco by building parks and recreational centers.

    Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, some of the last lines making port calls at Acapulco, cancelled them in December, the company confirmed.
    The violence has included drug gang shootouts along the resort's main coastal boulevard and the dumping of severed heads on city streets.

    But the early Monday attack exposed a security situation so bad that horrific violence was possible even in areas that appear relatively safe, like the laid-back stretch of beach southeast of the city's center where the Spaniards rented the house.

    The manager of a small hotel near the house said he heard shouting during the attack just after midnight Monday, but did nothing because he felt it would be too dangerous. The man did want to give his name for safety reasons.

    Other Mexican resorts continue to welcome tens of millions of international visitors every year, even as foreign tourism has largely vanished in Acapulco. Some feared the chilling effect of Monday's attack will be felt elsewhere.

    "We are definitely not as contaminated with the crime issue as other states in Mexico," said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, tourism secretary of Quintana Roo, the Caribbean coast state where Cancun is located and which hosted about 17 million tourists last year. "We are really sorry about what happened with the Spanish tourists ... because in one way or another, it is something that affects Mexico's image."

    "Apart from the illegal activities that occur between drug gangs, the idea that they would attack some tourist, that would hurt all the efforts we are making."
    He said his state "certainly could have some cancellations, but given the number of Spanish tourists, it would not be significant."

    Rafael Gallego Nadal, president of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies, said the vast majority of the 50,000 Spaniards who head to Mexico every year travel to the Caribbean coast — and not to the Acapulco area that has been beset by drug violence for decades.

    "This was a terrible attack but it's not the first time that something bad has happened in that part of Mexico. We Spaniards go to the Mexican Riviera" in and around Cancun, he said. "For us, this is an incredibly safe zone."

    Many Spaniards will go to Mexico during the long Easter Week vacation, and Gallego said he's heard no talk from travel agencies or groups about reducing package tour prices because of the rapes.

    Kathy Gerhardt, a spokeswoman for Travel Leaders, a network of independently owned and operated travel agencies in the U.S., said events in Acapulco barely registers on U.S. tourists' radar anymore. "Those individuals trying to lump Acapulco into the list of top Mexico destinations U.S. travelers visit are misinformed. It has been decades since it was a hot tourist destination; today it is more of a destination for Mexican nationals rather than U.S. tourists."

    In the group's recent survey of over 1,000 travel agency owner, managers and agents, "not a single individual chose Acapulco as a top international destination they are booking for their clients," Gerhardt wrote in an email, adding "we do not see any 'spillover effect'" for areas like Cancun, which Travel Leaders lists as the number-two foreign destination for U.S. travelers, after Caribbean island cruises.

    Gallego said it's important for Mexican authorities to make arrests soon to prove that they can punish those responsible. Garzon, the state prosecutor, said "we have strong evidence to lead us to those responsible for this reprehensible act."
    Acapulco is the granddaddy of Mexican resorts. Elizabeth Taylor was married there, John F. and Jackie Kennedy came on their honeymoon, and Howard Hughes spent his later years hiding out in a suite at the Princess Hotel, a pyramid-shaped icon in the exclusive Punta Diamante, or Diamond Point, zone.
    Beheadings and drug gang shootouts, some on the city's main seaside boulevard, became more frequent after 2006, as gangs fought for control of the city's drug and extortion business.

    Read more: Acapulco Rape Terror: Mexican Spared By Gunmen Because of Her Nationality | Fox News Latino

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Acapulco Gang Rape: Mayor Luis Walton Sorry for Dismissive Remarks

    A sign reading "No crossing, P.G.J.E."(Attorney General of the State) hangs from a string to cordon off a crime scene at a beach hotel, where six female Spanish tourists were raped by armed men, in Acapulco (Reuters)

    The mayor of Acapulco has apologised for playing down the seriousness of a gang rape and armed robbery against a group of women tourists at the Mexican resort.

    Mayor Luis Walton condemned the attack against six Spanish women but initially said such assaults happen anywhere and he favoured a positive publicity campaign to restore the resort's reputation.

    "This is a regrettable situation, and of course it is going to damage Acapulco," Walton said.

    "We have to look at an advertising campaign to say that not everything in Acapulco is like that. This happens everywhere in the world, not just in Acapulco or in Mexico."

    A group of armed and masked men burst into a bungalow rented by 13 tourists in Playa Bonfil, near Punta Diamante on the Pacific coast.

    The attackers gagged and tied up six men with phone cables and then raped six of the women, who they had bound up with their own bikinis. A seventh woman, who was Mexican, was reportedly spared because of her nationality.

    According to El Pais, the Spanish tourists were aged between 24 and 30 and had been living and working in Mexico for some time.

    Walton's remarks triggered furious reactions and he later apologised. He said he "very much regrets the misinterpretation of my words, which were never meant to harm the victims, nor minimise the facts".

    Soldiers stop a car for an inspection at a checkpoint near a beach hotel, where six female Spanish tourists were raped by armed men, in Acapulco (Reuters)

    Bloody turf war

    Acapulco draws about nine million visitors a year but the overall number of holidaymakers has fallen dramatically recently after a series of gang-related violent crimes in the region.

    Guerrero, Acapulco's state, is experiencing a bloody turf war between two drugs gangs, the Michoacan Family and the Knights Templar although Walton claimed the gang rapists did not belong to a drug gang.

    "From what the attorney general has told me, I don't think this was organised crime," he said. "But that will have to be investigated. We don't know."

    In October 2011 the Mexican government sent 7,000 troops to Acapulco to keep it out of the conflict as part of a multimillion dollar operation named "Safe Guerrero".

    In May 2012, a second attempt to curb gang violence in the coastal town was launched by former president Felipe Calderon with the introduction of 600 surveillance cameras, new street lighting and the deployment of English-speaking federal security forces.

    Officials claimed the murder rate in the town was down 40 percent last year, but episodes of violence remain common.
    Some locals have set up armed and masked "self-defence" squads to defend their communities against drug gang violence, a stance which critics say has exacerbated Acapulco's problems.

    A pair of Mexican tourists recently returning from a beach east of Acapulco were shot and wounded for failing to stop at a roadblock set up by vigilantes.

    Security and drug analyst Jorge Chabat said: "There are a lot of gangs that take advantage of the unsafe situation that exists. They know the government can't keep up."

    On its travel advice bulletin for Mexico, the Foreign Office warns: "Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation does pose risks for British nationals as well.

    "There were 1,137 drug-related killings in Guerrero in 2010. There continues to be a high level of drug-related murders and violent acts in Acapulco and the state of Guerrero more generally."

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    During the same period of time.
    Acapulco: 'I Was Gang Raped and Tortured and Mexican Authorities Did Nothing'

    Police patrol a beach near Acapulco where six Spanish tourists were raped (Reuters)

    Held down to the floor by two masked men, as the gang leader raped her, Sandy prepared to die. Her husband John was lying in a pool of blood in front of her. It was his birthday.

    Memories of the nightmare came rushing back last week following accounts of an almost identical gang rape of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco, hit the headlines. Sandy contacted IBTimes UK, which first broke the story, to issue a stark warning of the lethal danger facing visitors who might arrive in search of a holiday paradise only to find themselves experiencing the worst kind of hell.

    It had been almost a year since Sandy and John - the names have been changed to protect their anonymity - had decided to leave Mexico, where they had been living since 2005, intimidated by the escalating violence that surrounded them.

    Kidnappings, carjackings, extortions and robberies had become too frequent to ignore, even from the apparent safety of their new house, nestled in the verdant tidiness of a golf club on a famous beach resort north of Acapulco, in the western state of Guerrero.

    However, before flying back to the US, the couple of real estate developers had to finish the construction of a house in which they had invested all their savings.

    They were just a few weeks from the work's completion, when, at about 2am at the end of a joyful Sunday spent realxing around the pool celebrating John's birthday, Sandy peered through the big sliding glass doors facing the garden and, to her horror, saw three men with flashlights running towards her.

    Desperate the couple, then in their fifties, set off the car alarm and started yelling for help, hoping that the security guards patrolling the nearby upscale condos would come to their rescue.

    Before one of the attackers could smash the glass door with a brick, Sandy frantically dialled the police's emergency number three times. No one answered and the men invaded their home.

    "There was broken glass everywhere; John and the main guy started fighting and John was beating the crap out of him with the steel bar he used to keep under the bed. Meanwhile the other two were trying to get hold of me, as I was running around screaming my head off," Sandy toldIBTimes UK.

    The man brawling with John took a gun out and, as the two were fighting over it, a shot went off and hit the ground.
    "That kicked everything up a notch. It was frantic, I went in overdrive and one of the attackers got me in a neck lock and smacked me in the head with a gun."

    Harrassment and torture
    Terrified for his wife, John gave up the fight. The robbers pulled him to the ground and started

    "I started screaming; "Stop! Stop! You are going to kill him!' And then they stopped. They knew they had us under their control at that stage. They covered John with a carpet and placed a chair on top of him.

    "They put me on the sofa. One guy held us at gunpoint, while the other two started ransacking our house and doing horrible things to me.

    "They began harassing me, sticking their penis in my face, putting a gun in my ear and just tormenting us."

    One of the attackers was about 18 years old while the other two were in their late 30s, Sandy said.

    "They wouldn't let us talk. If I asked John if he was OK I would get smacked. They were laughing, they thought it was funny."

    Sandy and John were held hostage in their own house and tortured for more than three hours.

    "We were completely at their mercy. There was no point in the brutality other than they enjoyed doing it."

    The assailants drunk all the booze they had in the house, smashing the bottles to the ground, and "wrecked everything".

    Undisturbed, they loaded the couple's car with all sorts of goods, from ceiling fans to computers, passports to cell phones.
    Sandy was forced to give up their debit cards' passwords. One of the three attackers had the time to go to a nearby ATM, check the codes and come back unnoticed.

    "The whole time we were thinking someone will help; a neighbour would come or call the police."
    Nobody came.

    A valet in a neighbouring building later said he had heard everything but wasn't able to call for help as he hadn't topped up his mobile phone. However Sandy can't blame him too much.

    "Mexicans are afraid to call the police, as they don't know who the good and bad guys are. You never know whose toes you are stepping on."

    "Nobody would come to your assistance, because what they are going to do? Walk unarmed into an armed situation? There is nothing they can do but lock the doors and hope someone doesn't come to their house."

    Rape and stabbing

    As they had finished loading the car, one of the attackers took a set of kitchen knives John used to nourish his cooking passion and started sharpening them, one against the other, behind Sandy's head.

    "We both thought: 'this is it'. They are going to kill us and cut our heads off because that is the way it happens there."
    A couple of months earlier, three severed heads were found in bags in the tourist resort of Acapulco, Guerrero, in one of the violent episodes that convinced Sandy and John it was time to leave.

    They had moved in the Central American state in 2005, after a life spent in between the Wylye Valley, Wiltshire, in the UK (John is British) and the US - Sandy is a Washington state native.

    "At that time there was some nastiness going on at the border but nothing like it is now."

    According to Sandy, who first visited the country aged five on a summer holiday with the family, things in Guerrero started deteriorating, as a turf war between two recently formed groups - the Michoacan Family and the Templar Knights - erupted.

    "Everybody says that if you have nothing to do with drug business you don't have anything to worry about but that's simply not true."

    "Things were getting bad even in our area. We stopped going to some beaches and we lived a very low profile life. We hardly ever went out at night. What we didn't know was that it was going to visit us on our doorstep."

    However, instead of beheading them, the attackers started playing a sick game.

    "The guy came around the sofa and started stabbing the knife all around my body into the couch - as close to my body as he could get without actually hitting me. I was trying to make myself as small as I could - they were laughing."

    The gang leader approached John, who was still lying underneath the carpet and stabbed him in the back.
    "Then the young kid and the other guy held me down and tore my clothes off. The leader raped me."

    Then they left. "We heard our gate opening - it is kind of creaky - and then the car drove away."

    A Mexican police officer takes pictures at a crime scene (Reuters)

    A new ordeal

    Sandy and John stayed motionless in the silence of their ransacked house for a few minutes, fearing the attackers would come back. They finally found the courage to stand up and go to look for help, but a second ordeal was about to start.

    Wrapping a towel around John's wound, the couple walked supporting each other on the journey to a nearby condo, where the security guard - who claimed he had been sleeping during the whole assault - called them a cab that took them to the nearest hospital.

    Unbelievably, they were turned away.

    "It was about 5 am, almost getting daylight and the guy at the admittance told us, yawning and stretching, that we they couldn't help us, as they had no qualified personal to deal with sexual assaults.

    "John was throwing up and going into shock. The cab took us to the general hospital. They laid down John to measure his blood pressure, in the same big room where a woman was about to have a baby.

    "I begged them to let me use a phone to call a friend to help us out, as we had no money, no documents, nothing. They wouldn't let me. They told me to use the pay phone out in the hall. I couldn't believe it: I had just been robbed, how was I supposed to pay for the call?"

    Finally a nurse let Sandy use her mobile phone; John was stitched up and diagnosed with broken ribs.

    The next day Sandy went to a special department dealing with sex crimes to report the sexual assault.

    "They wanted to carry out an examination to see if I had really been assaulted. They called a man to do that. I refused but they pressured me to have the exam done and treated me like I was being completely unreasonable. Hours later, they eventually got a woman."

    On the same day, local police came to inspect their house.
    "There were fingerprints and DNA evidence everywhere. The condom the man used to rape me was on the floor, but police came with just a camera; no evidence bags or something. I had to give them a bunch of Ziploc bags I had myself. They were just walking around and gossiping. It was beyond belief."

    Sandy and John never spent another night in the house. They put it up for sale and waited the few weeks necessary to have their passports re-issued at a friend's place before flying out to the US.

    Investigations were eventually speeded up by pressure from the British and US consulates, and led to the arrest of the 18-year-old attacker, who named his two accomplices.
    One had already been killed in a gunfight with police and the other arrested for another crime a few weeks later.

    Fearing for their safety, John and Sandy refused to come back to Mexico and testify against the 18-year-old.

    A year and a half on, the couple still bear the scars of that horrible night.

    "My husband is 60 and I am 56. We had to restart from zero. We both have post-traumatic stress disorder. After it happened I felt just like a wreck, like a walking zombie. It is just terrible how people are just wrecking people's lives and then just drive off into the night laughing about it. Our lives will never be the same."

    "I love Mexico, its people, its culture, its beautiful country. I've been going there for my whole life but now everything is so screwed up there."

    "I'm worried about of my friends still living down there. Some are living in a state of denial even after what happened to us.

    ""You were unlucky," they tell us. Well, yes we were, but the chances of this happening, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are increasing every day."

    Spring Break in Acapulco anyone?

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