TULUM, Mexico – Since the tragic incident in March 2021, where Victoria, a Salvadoran migrant, lost her life at the hands of Tulum Municipal Police, human rights violations by the municipal police force have seen a significant reduction, with only about one complaint per month.
However, in recent months, the aggressiveness of the police force has surged by over 100%, surpassing the total number of cases reported throughout the entire year of 2022 in just seven months.
Between January and July 2023, the Human Rights Commission of the State of Quintana Roo received a total of 26 complaints against municipal police officers who, under the leadership of Ricardo Morales Santo, have been commanded by Diego Castañón Trejo.
According to the state agency’s statistics, these complaints represent a 136% increase compared to the same period last year when only 11 cases were documented.
In the entirety of the previous year, the complaints related to municipal police abuses stood at 21.
In February of this year, 5 cases of police abuse against both nationals and foreigners were reported. In March, the month when Diego Castañón Trejo assumed the municipal presidency and appointed his new Secretary of Citizen Security, another 6 cases were registered.
In April, 3 cases were added, and in May, 4. June saw 3 more, and July recorded 5 such cases, making a total of 26 complaints filed with the Human Rights Commission.
During these months, the complaints mainly revolved around arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force, totaling 157 cases across the state. Notably, 80% of these incidents were concentrated in three municipalities: Solidaridad, Benito Juárez, and Tulum.
The first two mentioned had 54 and 45 complaints, respectively. However, their variations compared to 2022 were minimal, while Tulum experienced a significant 136% increase.
The 2023 Report from the Human Rights Commission highlights that one of the most concerning violations is torture, as it leaves severe repercussions on the victims. This marks the third type of violation committed by the police, with 40 cases opened this year. Notably, the majority of these, 11 in total, occurred in the municipality of Tulum, which has been under the leadership of Diego Castañón Trejo since March of this year.
“Torture was mainly reported in Tulum, with 11 mentions,” the Commission reported to the Quintana Roo Congress. These concerning trends call for heightened attention and action to ensure the protection of human rights in Tulum and throughout Quintana Roo.