AMLO, Bukele Condemn Police Murder of Salvadoran Woman in Tulum

The apparent murder by Mexican police of a female Salvadoran immigrant in the coastal resort city of Tulum drove the presidents of both countries to call for swift legal action against the officers responsible.

Video footage released by news outlets on Sunday shows four police holding down and kneeling on the back of Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza until she died, in a case that recalls the similar death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police last year. The video shows officers carrying her limp body to the back of a police pick-up truck.

Salazar, a mother of two children, had permanent residency after winning her asylum case in March 2018, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said in a statement on Monday.

By Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele had both voiced their condemnation of the incident.

AMLO, Bukele Condemn Police Murder of Salvadoran Woman in Tulum

Lopez Obrador said the woman had been “brutally treated” and the case caused Mexico “shame, pain, and embarrassment,” before vowing that justice would be served. Bukele tweeted that “criminals in the police of Tulum” had committed the murder and that he wanted to see “the full weight of the law” brought against them.

The case offers a rare example of Latin American leaders quickly breaking rank with police forces to condemn their actions before an investigation is completed.

In Mexico especially, it is a rare example of government condemnation of its own human rights violations against an immigrant. The country has been criticized this year for sending the National Guard to halt migrants seeking to reach the U.S. and for receiving thousands of migrants haphazardly expelled by American border officers. And there are more victims of femicide -- aggravated homicides due to gender -- on record in Mexico than in any other country in the region, outside of Brazil.

AMLO, Bukele Condemn Police Murder of Salvadoran Woman in Tulum

The Attorney General’s office of Quintana Roo state said in a statement on Monday that it had brought charges against the police officers involved for their alleged participation in the crime of femicide, and that the woman had died of spinal fractures that seem to have been caused by actions during her arrest.

The state Attorney General’s office said it had not officially confirmed the identity of the woman.

The death of Floyd set off widespread protests against policy brutality, and a national -- and even international -- reckoning on racism. The trial of his alleged killers begins today.

Read more: Minneapolis Police Chief to Testify Against Accused Floyd Killer

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.