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  HOME | Ecuador (Click here for more)

Mexico Massacre Survivor Says Ecuadorian Government Has Not Helped Him

QUITO – Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla, one of the two survivors of a massacre earlier this year in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, and his family have not received the assistance promised by Ecuador’s government, attorney William Murillo said Tuesday.

Lala Pomavilla and 12 relatives are in the witness protection program in Ecuador and have been kept at an undisclosed location since the massacre in August.

The government promised Lala Pomavilla and his relatives that it was going to give them “much assistance,” but that has not happened, Murillo told Ecuavisa.

The family “has great needs” because it lacks food, clothing and medical care, the attorney said.

President Rafael Correa promised that “he and his state were going to provide whatever assistance was needed,” but “he has not even called them,” Murillo said.

“Minister Patiño, Minister Carvajal, they were all on television for the photo op, but not even a call,” the attorney said, referring to Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and Domestic and External Security Minister Miguel Carvajal.

Lala Pomavilla’s “mother is in tears,” Murillo said, adding that the woman told him that “Freddy has fainted three times” but has not been given medical care.

The government “offered them a lot. Assistance so he could have a business, a house, farmland, a car, a stable job, and it has not come through,” Murillo said.

Lala Pomavilla and his family have tried to explain their situation to the government, but “intermediate officials do not allow the message to get through to the (Office of the) President,” the attorney said.

The massacre victim’s father, Alejandro Lala, wrote a letter to Correa that explains the situation and asks for help, Murillo said.

The family, some of whose members were in the United States, did not want to return to Ecuador, but they decided to head home because the government offered assistance and “now they feel deceived,” the attorney said.

Alejandro Lala went to the Ecuadorian Consulate in New Jersey so they would bring his son to the United States, but officials “literally forced him to return to Ecuador,” Murillo said.

The family “had not received any death threats” in the United States, but they had gotten them in Ecuador, where they now live in a house rented by the Attorney General’s Office and have “practically nothing,” the attorney said.

Lala Pomavilla and a Honduran were the only survivors of the Aug. 22 massacre of 72 Latin American migrants at a ranch near San Fernando, a town in northeastern Mexico.

The Ecuadorian teenager survived by pretending he was dead, then he notified Mexican marines, who found the bodies of the 58 men and 14 women after a shootout with gunmen at the ranch that left a marine and three criminals dead.

Lala Pomavilla told investigators that the migrants were kidnapped by armed men before they reached the U.S. border.

The victims were from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Brazil, but the majority were Hondurans.

The evidence gathered so far indicates that the massacre was carried out by Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, Mexican officials said.

Mexican investigators are working on the theory that the kidnapped migrants were killed after they refused to work for the Zetas cartel.

After several years as the armed wing of Mexico’s Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories. EFE

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